Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Concussion Syndrome (TBI/PCS), also known as intracranial injury, are conditions where the skull, scalp and brain tissue suffer damage from a strong external force. It can be caused by skull fracture from an object hitting the head, car accident, fall, blow to the skull, gunshot wound to the head and is a major cause of disability if the patient survives. However, TBI is not the diagnosis for internal brain conditions such as stroke, tumour, or brain damage from insufficient oxygen supply. It is quite possible to suffer from TBI but retain consciousness.
Types of TBI
TBI can range from mild to severe, requiring rehabilitation. Statistics say that 47% of TBI cases occur from falls, 15% from being hit by objects and 14% from vehicular accidents. While many of these injuries turn out to be mild, moderate to severe cases require neurointensive care and rehabilitation for treatment.
The brain is one of the most difficult organs to heal. It is essentially a mass of extremely fragile soft tissues that float in fluid within the skull.
It is easy to manipulate the brain tissue since it is soft and supple. In vehicular accidents, the brain can move around sharply within the skull, and become vulnerable to traumatic injuries that are hard to heal, even if the skull stays undamaged. If the skull does crack, such as from a sharp blow to the head or collision, the brain is exposed and vulnerable to stretching, tears, localized injury or diffused damage.
Local injuries can result in bruising or hemorrhage (bleeding) either on the surface or within the deeper layers. In Diffuse Axonal Injuries (DAI), the extensive damage throughout the brain can lead to loss of consciousness, further affecting neuron communication. This kind of damage is difficult for CT scans to detect.
Sometimes, secondary injuries are caused a few days after the primary injury from lack of oxygen supply to the brain. This can result in low blood pressure, brain tissue swelling from increased pressure inside the skull (called intracranial pressure). This kind of secondary injuries are commonly seen in Combat Veterans and can result in painful headaches, depression, anxiety, ear-ringing, body imbalance, mental or emotional imbalance, sensitivity to light and seizures. This is where Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) helps in recovery by supplying a controlled flow of oxygen into the body of the patient, to help ease the symptoms, supported by prescription drugs, pain-killers or sleeping aids.
How HBOT Treats TBI
HBOT is a simple, non-invasive treatment in which 100% pure oxygen is transported throughout the body of the patient through the red blood cells. The oxygen is dissolved into the body’s fluids such as plasma, central nervous system fluids, the lymph and areas of the bones where blood circulation is restricted or blocked. The oxygen treatment helps the white blood cells destroy bacteria, diminish inflammation and help in healthy cell regeneration as part of an overall medical plan, under the care of certified experts in a comfortable, temperature-controlled oxygen chamber.
In a study on TBI affected combat veterans, researchers found out that a series of low pressure HBOT treatments every month helped them significantly, showing an increase of nearly 15% in short-term memory. This helped in improved cognitive functions, concentration and executional functions.
HBOT helped some of the veterans go back to college or move to higher paying jobs as blood flow to the brain improved. The study showed a decrease in headaches, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Nearly two-thirds of those being treated reported a sharp improvement in the quality of life after several sessions of HBOT treatment in just one month that sustained long-term. What’s best is that the treatment is low-risk and allows a good chance for affected patients to recover.
Interested to learn more about HBOT and how it can help someone with brain trauma? Please call Ontario HBOT Osteomyelitis for consultation.