If you have had a traumatic brain injury, you naturally will want to have the best doctor possible for your healing as well as for the lasting good health of your brain. What exactly is a traumatic brain injury, though? What does it entail? Is it different from a concussion and if so, how? Let’s look a bit closer at their definitions.

All concussions can be called traumatic brain injuries, though most are technically called mild traumatic brain injuries, or MTBIs. They usually only last a short while and do not have long lasting or permanent side effects

Traumatic brain injuries are more serious, and they last longer, and can have permanent effects on the person. Furthermore, not all traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are concussions. A TBI is damage to the brain caused by an outside force. That force can be something such as a punch in the nose for a boxer who is sparring with his partner, and they receive a MTBI or a concussion from the force of the punch.

For those people who experience TBIs, it can happen in situations such as military combat like an explosion or being shot in battle. The explosion or the bullet can be the outside force which damages the brain. TBIs can be open or closed. Open ones are where the brain is damaged, and the skull is broken open and the brain is exposed. Gunshot wounds are an example of an open TBI. Open TBIs can sound very scary because you don’t like to think about the skull being broken or the brain being exposed and vulnerable.

Closed TBIs occur when the surface of the skull remains intact and the brain is not exposed. This might sound like the better sort of TBI, but they can be problematic if pressure builds up inside the skull. When this happens, the doctors may decide to open the skull just a little to relieve the pressure inside.

You can see there is a wide variety of ways to injure the brain. You can fall and hit your head and injure it mildly. Or you can get into a very bad car accident and hurt your brain much more severely. In both instances, your recovery needs to be overseen by a doctor. They will tell you which steps to take in the early days after your injury. They will also share your care plan with your family who will be helping you to recover.

More serious TBIs may include loss of consciousness, amnesia and loss of motor skills which you will have to relearn once the doctor clears you for activity. In order to heal as fast as possible, with as few setbacks as possible, it is imperative that you follow all your doctor’s guidelines. Do not try to resume your day to day activities before you are allowed, even if your TBI is “just” a concussion. And if you require physical therapy to strengthen your body and regain lost skills, you must try your best and not use your TBI as an excuse to skimp on therapy. Your doctor will not suggest more therapy than your brain and body can handle.