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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
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Causes

Some causes of trauma include:

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:
In addition, the following psychological effects may occur in response to trauma:

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:
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

Treatment

Treatment usually includes the following:

Prevention

To help reduce your chances of trauma, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Safety Council recommend that you take the following steps:

RESOURCES

American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

National Safety Council http://www.nsc.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians http://www.caep.ca

Trauma Association of Canada http://www.traumacanada.org

References

Trauma fact sheet. National Institute of General Medical Sciences website. Available at: http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/pages/Factsheet%5FTrauma.aspx. Updated November 2012. Accessed January 7, 2014.

Majou R, Farmer A. ABC of psychological medicine: trauma. British Medical Journal website. Available at: http://www.bmj.com/content/325/7361/426.full. Accessed January 7, 2014.

Revision Information