When a relative is lying in a hospital bed, you don’t really care about how the accident happened. You only want to know what to expect during recovery, how you can help him get well as soon as possible, and what you need to know to prepare for when he wakes up.
Location of the TBI Can Tell You Which Symptoms to Expect
The brain is a delicate and complex organ, and any trauma can cause potential functional difficulty. The first step in determining what to expect is to examine the location of the injury. This can help victims and family predict common traumatic brain injury symptoms. Here are some of the common locations for a traumatic brain injury:
- Cerebrum – The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain, and is comprised of four separate lobes—the frontal (front), parietal (middle), temporal (sides), and occipital (rear). The majority of brain injuries involve some portion of the cerebrum. Depending upon which lobes have been injured, the injuries can affect movement, sensory processing, memory, alertness, eye function, and language.
- Corpus Callosum – This is the line that separates the two halves of the cerebrum. An injury can interrupt messages between the two hemispheres, causing disconnections between a person’s perception and actions.
- Cerebellum – This part of the brain is at the extreme back of the head, and controls coordination, balance, motor control, and helps regulate fear and pleasure responses.
- Brain stem – The brain stem runs through the back of the neck and is the beginning of the spinal cord. These injuries are more likely to be serious, as the brain stem controls consciousness. Trauma that extends to the spinal cord can mean permanent paralysis.
- Hypothalamus – The hypothalamus is located just above the brain stem. It links the nervous system to the endocrine system, and controls hunger, thirst, body temperatures, emotional responses, and sexual responses.
- Limbic System – The limbic system is deep under the cerebrum and surrounds the brain stem. Emotion, behavior, stress, and panic reflexes are stored here, as well as long-term memory.
- Medulla Oblongata – Just under the limbic system, the medulla oblongata controls involuntary functions like breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and vomiting.
The important thing to remember about brain injuries is that no two are exactly alike. Whether your relative was born with brain damage, slipped in the shower, or was involved in a serious accident on I-435, trauma to the brain can cause a wide range of symptoms and limitations. Only time will tell how much lost function may be recovered. To get more instant information on what to expect during your loved one’s recovery, click the link on this page to read through our FREE e-book, Brain Injury Survivor's Guide.