Of all the injuries that a person can sustain during an accident, brain injuries are some of the most severe. The brain has such important functions to our health and well-being that damage to any part, including the brain stem, can be life-altering. Read on to make yourself aware of the causes and treatment options of brain stem injuries and speak with a Geneva, Illinois personal injury lawyer to discuss your options to pursue compensation after your accident.

What Does the Brain Stem Do?

The brain stem is one of the most important parts of the human body with many responsibilities to keep us alive and alert. It has three regions, called the midbrain, the pons, and the medulla. They have cranial nerves that control subconscious functions and send signals from the brain to the rest of the body. Some functions of the brain stem that are vital to daily life include:

  • Breathing
  • Sleep
  • Consciousness
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Balance
  • Motor commands
  • Reflexes
  • Tear production

Without our body regulating the above functions, we would not be able to survive. The brain stem is a crucial regulatory feature of the human brain. Any damage sustained to it can be serious and life-threatening.

How Are Brain Stem Injuries Caused?

Brain stem injuries can be caused by a plethora of different things. Generally, any violent blow or puncture to the head has the potential to result in a brain stem injury. The following and more can result in a TBI (traumatic brain injury) such as a brain stem injury.

  • Car accident
  • Truck accident
  • Motorcycle accident
  • Bicycle accident
  • Pedestrian accident
  • Slip and fall accident
  • Assault
  • Sports accident
  • Construction or employment accident

If you are involved in any of the above and sustained a serious hit to the head there is potential that you have a brain stem injury. But what signs should you look out for?

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

You may know right away that you have a TBI or it might not make itself apparent just yet. Every situation and injury is unique, but below are some general symptoms that can occur from a brain stem injury. If you notice any of these signs you should seek medical attention.

  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Sensory issues such as blurred vision, inability to smell or taste, ringing in the ears, etc.
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Going in and out of consciousness
  • Abnormal sleep patterns
  • Paralysis
  • Inability to control motor skills or reflexes

What Do Treatment and Recovery Look Like?

Treatment and recovery after sustaining a brain stem injury will look different for each patient. Every accident and injury is unique. If you were involved in an accident where you suffered a blow to the head you should always get medical treatment as soon as possible. As stated above, symptoms do not always reveal themselves right away. Time is of the essence so see a doctor as soon as possible.

If you do have a brain stem injury there are treatment options that have been proven to help many patients. Surgery is likely required to repair the damage. After surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy can help you regain control over your motor functions and speech abilities.