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.
Some causes of trauma include:
Some factors increase your chances of developing trauma. You are at increased risk if you are aged 1-44 years.
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:
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:
Treatment usually includes the following:
To help reduce your chance of trauma:
American Academy of Family Physicians
National Safety Council
Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians
Trauma Association of Canada
Majou R, Farmer A. ABC of psychological medicine: trauma. BMJ. 2002;325:426.
Trauma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Accessed September 15, 2014. Accessed November 4, 2014.
Trauma fact sheet. National Institute of General Medical Sciences website. Available at: http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/pages/Factsheet_Trauma.aspx. Updated November 2012. Accessed November 4, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.