In many cases, treatments for mild traumatic brain injuries require nothing more than rest and over-the-counter pain relievers for headaches. Still, these individuals need to be monitored closely in case any new or worsening symptoms appear, and should have follow-up doctor appointments to evaluate their recovery. Moderate or severe head injuries require emergency treatment, where doctors will seek to ensure that the patient has enough oxygen and blood supply, and try to prevent further injuries to the head or neck.
Medications are sometimes used to prevent secondary damage to the brain after injury. These medicines can include:
- Diuretics to reduce the amount of flood in tissues and reduce pressure inside the brain
- Anti-seizure drugs to avoid additional brain damage caused by seizure
- Coma-inducers, as sometimes putting people in a temporary coma helps because comatose brains need less oxygen to function, and injured blood vessels often have difficulty delivery sufficient blood and oxygen to the brain
Surgery may be employed to minimize the damage to brain tissues by removing blood clots, repairing skull fractures and opening a window in the skull to reduce pressure on the brain. Most patients who have had a severe brain injury will need rehabilitation, in some cases to relearn basic skills such as walking and talking.