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Complications From Brain Injuries

Complications from brain injuries

Brain injury can happen for a variety of reasons. You might be out riding your bike and have an accident. A fall down the stairs or an accident can cause brain injury too. Children playing sports often receive mild or moderate concussions. Those are brain injuries. From mild to severe injuries there can be long-term complications and consequences.

Mood Changes and Sensory Problems

You might be surprised to learn that one of the most common complications from a brain injury is a change in mood and behavior. You might feel angry and irritable or suffer from depression and anxiety. Mood swings are common and can last for several months after a brain injury. Insomnia is also a common problem which can make a person feel even more emotionally unbalanced and exhausted. More severe complications include an increase in risk taking and an inability to control oneself. 

Someone who experiences a brain injury may also deal with sensory issues. They may feel dizzy and struggle with balance and hand-eye coordination. Blurry vision is a common complication. Head injuries can also cause a ringing in the ears and a change in how things taste and smell.

Communication and Cognitive Complications

Brain injury can cause swelling, bruising, and bleeding in all areas of the brain. The cognitive and communication areas are often affected. This can leave a person with traumatic brain damage dealing with complications expressing themselves, understanding simple problems, and functioning.

A person with a traumatic brain injury often finds that they have difficulty understanding and speaking. They may also be unable to organize their thoughts or find the right words. It’s not uncommon for a person to use the wrong word for an object. They can also struggle to form words.

You’ll find that people with brain injury, even mild forms, may have problems with their reasoning and judgment. They may be unable to focus and struggle with thought processing. Problem solving, organization, and multitasking are often difficult, and you may find that a person with a brain injury struggles or is unable to make decisions. 

Physical Complications from Brain Injury

Physical complications range from paralysis to seizures. A person can lose vision, hearing, and even their sense of smell. Partial paralysis can occur when the brain stem is injured, and blood clots and strokes are also a complication to prepare for. Depending on the amount of damage to the brain, nerve impulses can be affected as can hormones and other regulating mechanisms of the brain.

While many brain injuries do resolve over time and most people don’t deal with severe and life-long complications, it’s important to make sure any concussion or brain injury is looked at by a doctor. The sooner a brain injury is diagnosed and treated, the better the long-term outlook.

Cynthia Stein, PT, MEd.
Cynthia Stein, PT, MEd.

A physical therapist and educator, Cynthia graduated with a BS in physical therapy from the University of Pittsburgh and a masters in exercise physiology from Temple University. She served as a staff physical therapist at the Annapolis Naval Hospital and chief physical therapist at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital.

She owned and operated Squirrel Hill Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh PA for 30 years. She is extensively trained in osteopathic techniques, Myofascial Release, Lymphatic Drainage, Nasal Release Technique, and PEMF. She sees patients privately and teaches continuing education for health care practitioners around the world. Visit for more information.

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