Trauma

Definition

Trauma is a serious injury or shock to the body. It is caused by a physical force, such as violence or an accident. The injury may be complicated by psychiatric, behavioral, and social factors. This can cause the disability to be greater than just physical injuries.
Brain Trauma from Whiplash
Whiplash brain
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Some causes of trauma include:
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Near-drowning
  • Gunshots
  • Fires and burns
  • Stabbing
  • Other physical assault
  • Fire, flood, earthquake, lightening, or other natural disaster
  • Contact sports
  • Electrical shock
  • Animal attacks
  • Explosions
  • Plane crashes

Risk Factors

Some factors increase your chances of developing trauma. You are at increased risk if you are aged 1-44 years.

Symptoms

The symptoms associated with trauma vary and depend on the type of injuries you have suffered. Some symptoms may include:
  • Breathing problems
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of feeling and/or muscle strength
In addition, the following psychological effects may occur in response to trauma:
  • Anxiety, numbness, dissociation and/or inappropriate calmness
  • Anger and frustration
  • Acute stress disorder such as distress, memories, avoidance, and numbing in the months after trauma
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic symptoms and/or disorder
  • Avoidance and public anxiety

Diagnosis

A medical team will assess your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It may include a chest exam, abdomen and pelvis exam, exam of extremities, and a neurologic exam. A psychological exam and/or suicide assessment may also be done.Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with blood tests.Your vital signs may be tested. This can be done with:Imaging tests can be used to evaluate the injured area. These may include:

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