Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury refers to a closed or open head injury following trauma, resulting in significant neurological symptoms that may include loss of memory and cognitive function, behavioural changes and physical immobility.

Traumatic brain injury can range from being towards the milder spectrum, such as a concussion, to more severe forms where the person can end up in a coma and minimally responsive.

The impact of traumatic brain injury can result in life long physical changes, such as a reduction in independence and mobility, but people can significantly improve their abilities through intensive therapy and the right structure and environment.

Common challenges:

  • Difficulty with concentration and memory

  • Difficulty with sitting or standing balance

  • Paralysis and weakness of muscles

  • Inability to use the arm functionally

  • Loss of the ability to stand or walk

  • Spasticity and disorders in muscle tone

  • Pain

  • Sensory disturbances

  • Postural deformities

  • Altered midline perception

  • Behavioural and personality changes

  • Loss of speech and comprehension

The role of a neurological physiotherapist in traumatic brain injury:

Neurological physiotherapists are physiotherapists with additional training and expertise in treating problems related to the brain, spinal cord, inner ear and nerves. Neurological physiotherapists apply their neuroscience knowledge to predict the likelihood of recovery given the type of brain injury and the distribution of symptoms. We understand how muscle tone and the different neurological systems interact to maximise recovery.

Traumatic brain injury is likely to produce disorders of muscle tone and control of movement, where there may be increased resistance to stretch (spasticity) or a heightened reflex response (hyperrflexia) that can make walking and running more difficult. This can be treated with neurological physiotherapy, by strengthening the right muscle groups and restoring normal balance reactions when the person is upright against gravity. Furthermore, our neurological physiotherapists apply the principles of sensory feedback and postural adjustments to help individuals with traumatic brain injury control their tone and regain as much motor control as possible. This may be in the form of intensive therapy.

What our skilled therapists can offer:

  • Thoroughly assess your neurological systems to determine potential for recovery

  • Review and prescribe wheelchairs, seating and any other equipment you may need

  • Design a personalised neurological rehabilitation program that is holistic and considers the 24-hour routine

  • Provide hands-on treatment to teach the individual how to move better or more efficiently

  • Provide advice on facilitating skill development and transfer into the individual’s daily life and education to caregivers

  • Liaise with the other health professionals or funding bodies as required to assist in your rehabilitation or health and well-being

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