What Are the Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injuries?

how neurologists diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries

Facing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is no small matter. Whether you’ve been personally affected or are supporting a loved one through this ordeal, you might find yourself with more questions than answers. Finz & Finz, P.C. is here to help. Here’s what you need to know about how neurologists diagnose and treat TBIs and how to seek rightful compensation for your losses if someone else caused your injury.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A TBI is a serious condition that usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object penetrating the skull, such as a shattered piece of bone or a bullet, can also lead to a TBI. These types of injuries can cause bruising, tears, bleeding, and other physical damage to the brain, which can result in long-term complications or even death.

Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Possible symptoms can vary considerably depending on the severity of the TBI. However, even if these symptoms don’t appear severe, it’s essential to seek medical attention if you suspect a TBI, as the condition could worsen with time. Common TBI symptoms include the following:

  • Agitation, combativeness, or other unusual behavior
  • Being dazed, confused, or disoriented
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
  • Coma or other consciousness disorders
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
  • Dilation of one or both pupils
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Inability to wake up from sleep
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Persistent or worsening headaches
  • Profound confusion
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Speech problems
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes

Remember, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention if you or someone close to you experiences any of these symptoms after a blow or jolt to the head. Timely diagnosis and treatment can significantly affect the prognosis and management of a TBI.

How Neurologists Diagnose Traumatic Brain Injuries

Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is a critical step when it comes to managing and treating a traumatic brain injury. Neurologists, medical professionals who specialize in the nervous system and brain, are often the ones who will diagnose a TBI. Here’s a look at some of the diagnostic methods they might use:

Physical Examination and Patient History Review

The first step in diagnosing a TBI typically involves a physical examination and a detailed patient history review. Neurologists usually ask about the circumstances of the injury, the subsequent symptoms, the duration of unconsciousness or altered consciousness, and any memory loss. They will also assess motor functions and check for any issues related to balance, coordination, or reflexes.

Glasgow Coma Scale

The Glasgow Coma Scale is often used in the initial assessment of a TBI. This scale helps assess the severity of the brain injury by testing the patient’s ability to open their eyes, respond verbally, and move. The combined score for each category helps neurologists classify the TBI as mild, moderate, or severe.

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests can provide a visual representation of the brain, allowing neurologists to identify injuries like bleeding or swelling. Common imaging tests used to diagnose TBIs include the following:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scans – Scans that provide cross-sectional images of the brain to detect fractures, bleeding, blood clots, bruised tissue, and brain swelling.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – An MRI generates detailed images of the brain. It’s particularly useful in identifying smaller injuries or those that occur in the brain’s deeper regions.
  • Diffuse tensor imaging (DTI) – This advanced form of MRI can detect damage to the brain’s white matter, which is often associated with TBIs.

Neuropsychological Tests

After neurologists address the immediate injury, they might perform additional neuropsychological tests to assess the patient’s cognitive status. These tests can identify issues related to memory, concentration, problem-solving abilities, and other cognitive functions that are commonly affected by TBIs.

How Neurologists Treat Traumatic Brain Injuries

After a neurologist diagnoses a TBI, the next step is to explore treatment options. The ideal treatment for TBIs varies based on the severity of the injury and the specific symptoms it displays. Below are some common methods neurologists use to treat TBIs:

Immediate Emergency Care

For moderate to severe TBIs, immediate medical attention is critical. The primary objectives in emergency TBI care include ensuring adequate oxygen supply, maintaining blood flow to the brain, controlling blood pressure, and preventing further injury to the neck or spine.


Neurologists might prescribe medications like:

  • Anti-seizure drugs – To avoid seizures, which can cause further brain damage
  • Coma-inducing drugs – To limit oxygen consumption in the brain for severe TBIs
  • Diuretics – To reduce fluid retention and swelling in the brain


In some cases, surgery might be necessary to prevent further damage by:

  • Opening a window in the skull to relieve pressure on the brain
  • Removing clotted blood that places dangerous pressure on the brain
  • Repairing skull fractures to ensure no fragments are pressing on the brain


Rehabilitation is a critical component of recovery for many patients with TBIs. Common types of rehabilitation for TBI patients include the following:

  • Neuropsychological therapy – To address cognitive and emotional issues
  • Occupational therapy – To redevelop skills necessary for day-to-day activities
  • Physical therapy – To improve physical strength and coordination
  • Speech and language therapy – To improve communication skills
  • Vocational counseling – To assist with the return to work or school

How a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help

From emergency medical care and ongoing treatments to rehabilitation costs and potential loss of income, a TBI can significantly impact your financial well-being. If your TBI was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, you deserve fair compensation to help cover these costs.

This is where a TBI lawyer can make a real difference in your case. Experienced TBI lawyers, like those at Finz & Finz, P.C. are equipped to help you through the legal system and demand the compensation you deserve for your losses.

Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today to discuss your case during a free consultation.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.