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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Other FAQs

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Basic information for topics, such as “What is it?” and “How many people are affected?” is available in the Condition Information section. In addition, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that are specific to a certain topic are answered in this section.

Can the NICHD provide TBI rehabilitation services for me or my family?

The NICHD supports and conducts health research; it does not provide services or support for services. Instead, the Institute’s research informs the practices that health care providers and rehabilitation professionals use in rehab and therapy settings. The NICHD has compiled a list of Resources on TBI (PDF - 48 KB) that may be of assistance in finding TBI rehabilitation services and support.

What is post-concussive syndrome and how is it treated?

A person who has a TBI may develop a number of symptoms in the days or weeks after the head injury. Symptoms vary and may include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sleep problems
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxietyl
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea2

Many patients with mild TBI suffer from post-concussive syndrome (PCS), and approximately 40% of all TBI patients develop it. PCS is more common among people who had a psychiatric problem, such as depression or anxiety, before suffering a TBIl

Treatment for PCS may include:

  • Medicines for pain
  • Psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants
  • Psychotherapyl

What other conditions are associated with TBI?

People who have suffered a TBI may have a greater risk for developing several health problems. These include cognitive disabilities and mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.3 Read more about NICHD research on depression and TBI.

Research also suggests that TBI is associated with conditions that cause the breakdown of brain cells, such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (pronounced en-sef-uh-LOP-uh-thee)4

If a person’s mobility is affected by TBI, he or she may develop obesity, high blood pressure, pressure sores, and other secondary problems.5

Secondary conditions can impair a person's recovery from TBI, and should be treated to promote the person's overall health and quality of life.

Can complementary or alternative therapies help with TBI?

Some research has been done on the effectiveness of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), such as acupuncture, for treating some of the effects of TBI. The Brain Injury Association of America reports that some research indicated benefits from acupuncture and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (which involves breathing pure oxygen), especially when given very soon after severe TBI. However, many studies on CAM therapies for TBI are small or otherwise limited, so more research is necessary to prove or disprove the usefulness of such treatments for TBI.6


  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2012). Traumatic brain injury: Hope through research. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tbi/detail_tbi.htm [top]
  2. King, N.S., (2012). Post-concussion syndrome: Clarity amid the controversy? British Journal of Psychiatry, 200, 276–278. [top]
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2010). Treating clients with traumatic brain injury. Retrieved June 14, 2012, from
    http://kap.samhsa.gov/products/manuals/advisory/pdfs/Advisory_TBI.pdf (PDF - 504KB) [top]
  4. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2012). Traumatic brain injury: Hope through research. Retrieved June 14, 2012, from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tbi/detail_tbi.htm [top]
  5. National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research. (2006). Report to the NACHHD Council. Retrieved June 14, 2012, from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/Documents/ncmrr_report_online_2006.pdf (PDF - 1.9MB) [top]
  6. Cantor, J. B. (2010). Complementary and alternative medicine and the management of brain injury. The Challenge, 3, 4–5. Retrieved May 24, 2012, from http://www.biausa.org/brain-injury-publications.htm External Web Site Policy [top]

Last Updated Date: 07/19/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 05/21/2013
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