Basic information for topics, such as “What is it?” and “How many people are affected?” is available in the About Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) section. Answers to other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) specific to TBI are in this section.
NICHD supports and conducts health research; it does not provide healthcare services or support for services. Instead, the institute’s research helps healthcare providers and rehabilitation professionals know what rehabilitation and therapy treatments are the best to use. Visit the Resources page for more information on TBI.
PCS occurs when a person who experienced a concussion continues to have symptoms in the days, weeks, or even months after the injury. Symptoms vary but may include1:
- Memory problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Sensitivity to noise
- Less tolerance for stress, emotional excitement, and alcohol
Treatment for PCS may include:
- Additional rest for the brain
- Medicines for pain to treat headaches
- Anti-nausea medications
- Psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants
- Occupational therapy
Can complementary or alternative therapies help with TBI recovery?
Some research shows that complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), such as acupuncture, is effective at treating some of the effects of TBI. Research suggests acupuncture and possibly acupressure may improve many TBI symptoms, including memory, attention, and cognition problems, as well as depression. Some research has also found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (which involves breathing pure oxygen) can be helpful when given very soon after severe TBI. Mindfulness-based therapies may help with depression and anxiety following TBI. However, most studies on CAM therapies for TBI are small or limited in other ways, so more research is needed to prove or disprove the usefulness of such treatments for TBI.2
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at NIH offers more information on CAM.
Some causes or types of TBI are preventable. CDC offers these suggestions to help prevent TBI:
- Always wear a seat belt when riding in a motor vehicle.
- Make sure children wear a seat belt or are in a properly selected and installed child safety or booster seat when travelling in a motor vehicle. Learn how to properly choose and install a child safety seat.
- Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Wear a helmet and make sure children wear the appropriate helmets for activities such as riding a bike, skateboarding, and playing certain sports.
- Make living areas safer, especially for older people and their caregivers, by removing rugs and other tripping hazards and improving lighting throughout the home.
- Put guards in windows to keep young children from falling out, and use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.
- Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Institute of Medicine; National Research Council; Graham, R., Rivara, F. P., Ford, M. A., et al., editors. (2014). Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 4, Treatment and Management of Prolonged Symptoms and Post-Concussion Syndrome. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK185342/
- Hernández, T. D., Brenner, L. A., Walter, K. H., Bormann, J. E., & Johansson, B. (2016). Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) following traumatic brain injury (TBI): Opportunities and challenges. Brain Research, 1640(Part A), 139–151. Retrieved March 22, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26806403/