At the bottom of your brain sits a star-shaped stem. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this brainstem connects your brain to your spinal cord, making it invaluable for sending vital signals that control virtually everything your body does to survive. This includes breathing, regulating your heart rate and facilitating movement and balance.
While brainstem injuries are rarer than other traumatic brain injuries, they tend to be both catastrophic and life-altering. Sadly, you may suffer a brainstem injury in a motor vehicle crash, a slip-and-fall accident or any other incident where you sustain a blow to the head.
Common symptoms of a brainstem injury
Even though your injury may not be noticeable for hours or even days after an accident, brainstem injuries tend to make themselves known quickly. If you have one or more of the following symptoms after suffering a blow to the head, you may have a brainstem injury:
- Dizziness, confusion or disorientation
- Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
- Changes to your regular sleep patterns, including insomnia or difficulty waking
- Slurred speech or other stroke-like symptoms
If you suffer a brainstem injury, your prognosis is likely to depend on the extent of your brain damage and your access to emergency treatment. Your age and overall health also may play a role in your ability to recover fully. Regrettably, many individuals who have serious brainstem injuries never make a complete recovery.
Because a brainstem injury is likely to be extremely expensive to treat, it is important to explore all available options for financing your recovery. Ultimately, pursuing financial compensation from the individual or individuals who caused your injury can help you obtain the top-level medical care and rehabilitation you deserve.