Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Brain & Nervous System Health Center

Font Size

Traumatic Brain Injury - Topic Overview

What is a traumatic brain injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can range from a mild concussion to a severe head injury. It is caused by a blow to the head or body, a wound that breaks through the skull (such as from a gunshot), a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain. This can cause bruising, swelling, or tearing of brain tissue.

With rest, most people fully recover from a mild brain injury. But some people who have had a severe or repeated brain injury may have long-lasting problems with movement, learning, or speaking.

Recommended Related to Brain & Nervous System

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome article > >

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury range from mild to severe and can last for hours, days, weeks, or even months. These symptoms may include:

  • Not thinking clearly, or having trouble remembering new information.
  • Having headaches, vision problems, or dizziness.
  • Feeling sad, nervous, or easily angered.
  • Sleeping more or less than usual.

If you develop these kinds of symptoms at any time after a head injury-even much later-call your doctor.

You may need another person to watch you closely to make sure that your symptoms aren't getting worse. Follow your doctor's instructions about how long you need someone to stay with you.

How is a traumatic brain injury diagnosed?

The doctor will ask you questions about the injury. He or she may ask questions that test your ability to pay attention, learn, remember, and solve problems. The doctor will check for physical signs of a brain injury by checking your reflexes, strength, balance, coordination, and sensation. The doctor may order imaging tests such as a CT scan or an MRI to make sure that your brain isn't bruised or bleeding. You may need tests to see if your brain is working as it should.

How is it treated?

If your brain has been damaged, you may need treatment and rehabilitation, perhaps on a long-term basis. This might include:

  • Physical and occupational therapy to help you regain the ability to do daily activities and to live as independently as possible.
  • Speech and language therapy to help you with understanding and producing language, as well as organizing daily tasks and developing problem-solving methods.
  • Counseling to help you understand your thoughts and learn ways to cope with your feelings. This can help you feel more in control and help get you back to your life's activities.
  • Social support and support groups so that you get the chance to talk with people who are going through the same things you are. Your family or friends may be able to help you get treatment and deal with your symptoms.
  • Medicines to help relieve symptoms like sleep problems, chronic pain, and headaches. Medicine can also help if you have anxiety, depression, or memory problems. Talk with your doctor about what medicines might be best for you.

You may need to try different types of treatment before finding the one that helps you. Your doctor can help you with this. Treatment can help you feel more in control of your emotions, have fewer symptoms, and enjoy life again.

    Next Article:

    Traumatic Brain Injury Topics

    Today on WebMD

    nerve damage
    Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
    senior woman with lost expression
    Know the early warning signs.
    woman in art gallery
    Tips to stay smart, sharp, and focused.
    medical marijuana plant
    What is it used for?
    senior man
    boy hits soccer ball with head
    red and white swirl
    marijuana plant
    brain illustration stroke
    nerve damage
    Alzheimers Overview
    Graphic of number filled head and dna double helix