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  • Dallas Shepard

What is a Brain Injury


At the Harmonized Brain Centers we have a passion to those that have suffered a brain injury in the past or the present. We help our clients no matter when or how many times a client has had a brain injury. The term “brain injury” can refer to many types of injuries relating to the brain, skull, and scalp. Possible complications and required treatments will greatly depend on how the injury is acquired, the location of the injury, and the severity of the brain damage. We know that a brain injury can affect us physically, emotionally, spiritually, behaviorally and intellectually. The following information covers the different types of brain injuries, as well as the different levels of severity of brain injuries. These terms will be used extensively by doctors, insurance adjusters, therapist practitioners and others when helping you recover.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults in the United States. Each year an estimated 1.5 million Americans sustain a TBI. As a consequence of these injuries:

  • 230,000 people are hospitalized and survive.

  • 50,000 people die.

  • 80,000 to 90,000 people experience the onset of long-term disability.

As the cumulative result of past traumatic brain injuries, an estimated 5.3 million men, women, and children are living with a permanent TBI-related disability in the United States today. At the Harmonized Brain Centers we have a passion to help clients overcome the difficulties in recovering from a TBI.

Types of TBIs

There are four main types of TBIs. They are:

  • Concussions

  • Contusions

  • Penetrating injuries

  • Anoxic brain injuries

1. Concussions

A concussion is a minor brain injury that is caused by shaking, an impact to the head, or a sudden change in movement, like whiplash. Oftentimes, concussions cannot be seen through an imaging test, but they should still be considered serious and should be treated as so.

Concussions can cause headaches, problems with concentration, memory loss, and disorientation. Concussions are especially dangerous if more than one is sustained over time, or if a second one occurs before the first one heals (“second impact syndrome”).

2. Brain Contusions


A brain contusion is a bruise of the brain tissue, just like one might have a bruise on their skin. And like any other bruise, they are caused by the breaking and leaking of small blood vessels. On the skin level, this leaking blood under the skin is what causes the blue coloring; on the brain, the leaking causes a plethora of issues that mostly relate to a building of pressure.

Brain contusions can be caused by any impact to the head. For example, a contusion may occur in a car accident when the head hits the steering wheel, a slip, and fall when the head hits the ground, or in a sports-related accident in which the brain takes a significant impact.

During the impact that causes a brain contusion, it’s possible for the brain to be damaged directly under the site of impact and on the opposite side from the point of impact as the brain is slammed into the opposing side of the skull or both. This is known as the coup and contrecoup.

Contusions, like concussions, can range dramatically from minor to extremely severe. Severe contusions may cause a loss of consciousness, confusion, tiredness, emotional distress, or agitation. More severe contusions may cause the brain to swell, could prevent proper oxygenation, and other serious consequences.

3. Penetrating Brain Injuries

Penetrating brain injuries occur when some type of object pierces through the skull. This may cause the object, or hair, skin, or fragments of the skull, to make contact with the brain. This contact with and force on the brain can cause serious injury to a concentrated, or large, part of the brain.

Penetrating brain injuries may be caused by any external force or object that is strong enough to break through the skull, such as:

  • A slip-and-fall that causes the skull to crack

  • A motor vehicle accident in which something penetrates or breaks the skull

  • A gunshot wound to the head, which is the leading cause of death by TBI

  • A sports-related injury due to excessive force

4. Anoxic Brain Injuries

An anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen to operate properly. After just four to five minutes without a proper amount of oxygen, brain cells will begin to die and brain injury will occur. Since oxygen is carried to the brain by blood, anoxic brain damage most often occurs because of a blockage of this blood flow.

Blockage can occur as a result of a blood clot, stroke, heart attack, or serious trauma, among others. It may also be possible the blood flow to the brain, in quantity, is normal, but that the blood itself is not carrying enough oxygen. This can occur as a result of poisoning, drowning, carbon monoxide poisoning, choking, suffocation, or anything that prevents the lungs from taking in a normal amount of oxygen molecules.

Additional Types of TBIs

Diffuse Axonal Injury

A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is similar to a concussion in that it results from the brain moving, but it is often much more serious. With a DAI, the head so violently moves that the brain stem cannot keep up with the rate of movement, causing tears in the connections of the brain to the spinal cord. These tears can be microscopic, producing varying degrees of brain damage, or they can be quite large.

Tears that are sufficient may cause extremely serious, life-long effects or they can even be fatal. The severity of symptoms with this type of injury is largely dependent on the brain areas affected, the severity of the tears, and whether any other injuries—such as a contusion or concussion—were also sustained.

Hypoxic Brain Injuries

One type of traumatic brain injury is a hypoxic brain injury, which occurs when the brain receives some but not enough oxygen and suffers damage as a result. This is usually achieved by incomplete reduction of oxygen to the lungs or blood to the brain via some form of inefficient suffocation like:

  • Near-drowning

  • Near-hanging

  • Cardiac arrest

  • Carbon monoxide

  • Exposure to poisonous gasses

One version of hypoxic brain injury is a hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, also called stagnant hypoxia or ischemic insult.

Second Impact Syndrome

Just as a scab that is reopened takes longer to heal, a second brain injury when you’ve already sustained a first can cause even more catastrophic damage. Sometimes called a recurrent traumatic brain injury, the effect of second impact syndrome depends on the location of the injury, the severity of the first injury, and the degree of trauma sustained.

A second impact is more likely to cause severe brain damage than a first, even if the victim does not lose consciousness. If you suffer a blow to the head in the months following a brain injury, seek prompt medical care, even if you feel fine. Oftentimes, second concussions are a silent killer, since both impacts can appear to be minor at the time.

Levels of Severity in Various Types of TBIs

There are three basic levels of TBI injury: mild, moderate, and severe.

Mild Injury


A mild TBI is characterized by loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes, if at all. Loss of consciousness doesn’t need to occur and a victim may only appear to be confused or disoriented.

With mild TBIs, medical tests may show that the brain was not injured, although this can be untrue. This is why doctors look closely at the victim’s mental functioning in diagnosing mild TBIs and concussions.

Moderate Injury


A moderate TBI is characterized by loss of consciousness that may last up to a few hours and confusion that can last up to weeks. With a moderate TBI, complications can last for months and could be permanent. These complications can be physical, cognitive, emotional, intellectual, spiritual or behavioral.

Many treatment programs will be needed to address these complications.

Severe Brain Injury

The most severe TBIs come from crushing blows or penetration to the skull and brain. This level of injury is life-threatening and the victim is not likely to return to the life that they once had. While closed head injuries can result in severe brain injury, typically severe head trauma is from an open head injury where the skull has been seriously damaged.


Even if you believe your brain injury is mild, you may still suffer serious and long-lasting effects. At the Harmonized Brain Centers we can help by creating the best environment for the brain to heal and recover. All our methods are drug free, noninvasive, safe, effective and affordable. Our methods use LENS Neurofeedback, Nutrigenomics, Physical Vascular Therapy, Low Light Laser Therapy and Psychotherapy Education to help our clients achieve their BEST BRAIN EVER!

The Consequences of a Traumatic Brain Injury

After suffering a traumatic brain injury a person can suffer from a number of debilitating symptoms or even be at risk of losing their life in more severe cases. These injuries are to be taken seriously as sometimes the recovery period turns from months to years.

In addition to the serious physical health risk a severe brain injury can affects a person in all aspects of their lives. Personality changes, irritability, sensitivity issues with sight, sound, light, speech problems, mild to chronic fatigue and much more are all common symptoms with brain injury.


At the Harmonized Brain Centers we understand the consequences of a brain injury from mild to severe and have a passion to help our clients on their healing journey so they can achieve their BEST BRAIN EVER!




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