– JANUARY 2021 –
TALKING ABOUT TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an often unexpected, yet devastating event for a person and their family. Known as an injury to the brain by an external force, common causes include motor accidents, falls, being struck by an object or assault. Alongside being a major cause of lifelong disability, TBI’s are a complex injury with a huge spectrum of symptoms and outcomes – physically, mentally, socially and cognitively.
They can quite literally turn your life upside down in a matter of minutes.
Your brain consists of a mass of delicate soft tissue floating in fluid within your skull. Protected by three layers of membrane, your brain tissue can be pulled, squeezed or moved around by external forces. During a TBI, your brain’s function is altered and its very delicate chemistry is upset, resulting in sometimes catastrophic injuries. Your TBI can be measured as mild, moderate or severe depending on your symptoms and the cause of the injury to start with. Of course, the most severe cases are hospitalised to a neurointensive care unit and the violent, jarring motion of force can result in long term complications or challenges requiring surgery, intensive medical intervention and months of physiotherapy. Such an incident can cause pressure build up in your brain, chemical imbalances and challenges in stimulating plasticity of the brain when it’s not active enough after trauma to adapt and connect, resulting in drastic changes in a person’s ability to function as before.
People with a moderate to severe TBI frequently experience a litany of frightening symptoms –
- a change in executive function
- changes in their ability to speak
- to regulate emotions, to remember the past or even connect to the present
- and sometimes need to relearn how to walk or to sit
Every journey is different and requires a unique assessment and treatment plan to help nurse them back to health, or as close to previous functioning as before the incident. At Active Edge Physiotherapy, we know how challenging a TBI diagnosis can be for the family and how frustrating and traumatic it can be for the person. Activities and movements which previously came naturally, must now be relearned and the brain must be re-taught how to do those activities once more.
As neurological physiotherapists, we work to re-establish or help you formulate new neural pathways to effectively carry messages from your brain to your muscles.
We establish which part of your brain has been impacted and work to use this information to alleviate your symptoms and bring back your motor and cognitive functions. Science tells us that these changes don’t always happen as quickly as we’d like, but we work to both restore movement and to prevent further impairment with facilitation techniques, exercises to consistently train your brain and support you on your sometimes long journey of recovery. The brain is an incredible organ which can create new connections and pathways – to effectively ‘reorganise’ itself after a traumatic event. It can even grow new neurons (the cells in your brain) by a process called neurogenesis, a frontier of medicine which is still being explored to this day. There are many pharmacological treatments in development to help encourage this neuroplasticity, and to help the brain to reorganise and recover after major trauma but physiotherapy remains a key treatment to better outcomes for people with TBI.
As mobile neurological physiotherapists, our role is to improve your cognitive, physical and social outcomes following on from your TBI. Coming home from hospital after a major brain injury can be daunting, with the future uncertain and path to recovery unsure.
We’re here to help assess your individual injury, create a tailored treatment plan and provide you with a better understanding of your progress journey, build realistic goals and work with you on a range of therapy techniques to build up your brain’s neuroplasticity and reduce your symptoms. We’re here to support you in winning as much of your previous life back, living in the comfort of your own home.