What is traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when there is a significant, or violent, blow to the head that damages the brain. It can range from mild to moderate to severe.

TBI is diagnosed by the following criteria:

  • MRI results.
  • Duration of unconsciousness.
  • Amnesia, or altered mental state.
  • Glasgow Coma Scale score (measures a person’s level of consciousness after a traumatic injury).

Depending upon the severity, TBI can take days to recover, may be permanent or can even cause death. Those with mild TBI usually need minimal treatment and rest. But those with moderate or severe TBI may need to be hospitalized.

Causes of TBI can include:

  • Car accidents.
  • Military injuries.
  • Gun shot wounds.
  • Athletic injuries.

The TBI Spectrum

The TBI Spectrum illustrates the way TBI may progress over time.

Categories of TBI


Concussion is the most common and mildest form of TBI — making up about 70%. It typically resolves in seven to 10 days.

An accurate diagnosis, early treatment, and resuming activity at the right time help to keep a mild TBI from progressing to more severe stages of brain injury.

Post-Concussive Syndrome (PCS)

Concussion symptoms that last more than 10 days after the initial injury is called post-concussive syndrome (PCS). Symptoms may include problems with memory and concentration, headaches and dizziness.

PCS can be classified as:

  • Acute: symptoms resolve within a few weeks.
  • Chronic: symptoms last for more than 30 days.

If left untreated, PCS can greatly impact daily functions and quality of life.

Neurodegenerative Disorders (NDD)/Memory Disorders

Over time, a small percentage of TBIs may progress to memory disorders. These disorders damage brain cells, causing difficulties with memory, mood/emotions or movement. Symptoms of memory disorders can be debilitating, and typically worsen over time.

Memory disorders caused by TBI include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson’s-like motor disorders
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

 Early treatment can help slow disease progression or reduce symptoms.

Specialized diagnosis and treatment

The caregivers at Kaizen Brain Center provide expert diagnoses and create individualized treatment plans to care for all disorders associated with TBI and concussion. Whether your brain injury is a result of an isolated incident or is more serious and needs long-term treatment, our caregivers are here for you every step of the way.