A traumatic brain injury is a serious condition that can negatively impact both your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Whether it be a simple task such as walking, or a more complex one such as solving a puzzle, your brain plays an important role in virtually everything you do.
When something happens that disrupts your brain’s functions, it can lead to significant impairments that considerably impact your quality of life.
If you or a loved one is suffering with traumatic brain injury, we can help.
Keep reading to learn more about traumatic brain injuries and how brain injury rehabilitation in DC can help in your path to recovery.
While an estimated 1.5 million Americans suffers a traumatic brain injury annually, Capitol Physical Therapy can help.
Keep reading to find out more.
What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries are the result of head trauma.
When your brain suffers an injury, force gets applied to your brain tissue and can disrupt your brain’s functions.
Traumatic brain injury most often occurs after falls, car crashes, and blows to the head.
Traumatic brain injury can happen to anyone, however, certain groups have a higher risk, such as:
- Children under the age of 4, usually due to injury from falls or child abuse
- Adolescence aged 15 to 19, usually due to sports injuries or car crashes
- Seniors aged 75 and up, usually due to injury from falls
The most common type of traumatic brain injury is a concussion, and as a result physical therapy for concussions is a common treatment.
Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries usually require special hospital rehabilitative care to help with the serious physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms that follow.
Almost half of traumatic brain injury cases that require hospitalization result in significant disability.
Seniors often deal with slips and falls as a result of:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- A previous head injury
- A stroke
- Osteoporosis, which can cause kyphosis
Because of this, physical therapy for balance is especially important for seniors as it helps prevent such injuries in the first place.
Otherwise, physical therapy for seniors may involve treatment for traumatic brain injury.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Traumatic Brain Injury?
Since our brains are responsible for controlling the way we move, think, sense, and socialize, the symptoms of traumatic brain injury can vary widely.
Physical symptoms of traumatic brain injury may include:
- Weakness/difficulty moving limbs, body, and head
- Difficulty sitting
- Difficulty standing
- Difficulty balancing
- Difficulty walking (physical therapy gait training can help)
- Difficulty laying down or changing positions in bed
- Chronic pain (chronic pain physical therapy can help)
Cognitive symptoms of traumatic brain injury may include:
- Difficulty remembering
- Difficulty paying attention
- Difficulty problem solving
- Reduced awareness of these difficulties, resulting in safety concerns
Sensory symptoms of traumatic brain injury may include:
- Changes in vision, such as double vision
- Changes in hearing
- Changes in sense of touch
- Changes in balance
Emotional and behavioral symptoms of traumatic brain injury may include:
- Difficulty controlling emotions
- Changes in personality
- Inability to understand what is happening, resulting in emotional distress
How To Diagnose Traumatic brain Injury
If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from traumatic brain injury, it is important to seek immediate emergency care.
Once you arrive at the hospital, a doctor will diagnose the level of traumatic brain injury by assessing your ability to do things such as open your eyes, speak, and move in response to commands.
Equipment, such as an MRI or CT scan, may be used to determine which part of your brain is injured, and whether there is bleeding or fluid present.
A physical therapist will often work with your medical team to understand what parts of your brain are injured, and to focus therapy on those areas.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Traumatic Brain Injury
Your physical therapist will work with you, as well as your family and other health care providers, to develop a treatment plan that is unique to your needs and limitations.
The type of treatment plan depends on a variety of factors, such as your level of consciousness and the severity of your injury.
1. Physical Therapy For TBI In A Vegetative State
Severe cases of traumatic brain injury can cause a vegetative state.
In these cases, you may be able to perform some basic brain functions, such as opening your eyes on a regular sleep and wake schedule and breathing, but you are unaware of all surrounding activity.
Your physical therapist will help you with equipment use and proper posture and flexibility to make sure you don’t develop bed sores and encourage you to respond to your environment.
2. Physical Therapy For TBI In A Minimally Conscious State
If you are in a minimally conscious state, you are beginning to show signs of awareness, though your responses may not be consistent.
In this case, your physical therapist will help with stretching, positioning, and equipment use while also working with you to increase consistent responses to commands and communication.
3. Physical Therapy For TBI In A Fully Conscious State
If you are in a fully conscious state, your physical therapist will help you with exercise, task specific training, and patient and family education.
Some of the things that your physical therapist will help you improve include:
- Alertness and responsiveness
- Muscle and joint flexibility
- Movement in bed, sitting without support, and standing up
- Balancing while sitting, standing, walking, and coordination
- Strength and energy, reducing feelings of fatigue caused by inactivity or the brain injury itself
- Return to sports and exercise
If needed, your physical therapist can also help you learn how to use equipment, such as an ankle brace, walker, or wheelchair.
Preventing Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries are often preventable.
It is important that you take steps to protect your head when taking part in a risky activity.
It is also important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury so you can seek immediate medical attention should they occur.
Some additional steps you can take to prevent traumatic brain injury include:
- Wear a helmet when taking part in activities that have a risk of falling
- Always use seatbelt when driving, and secure infants in an appropriate car seat
- Supervise children playing in fall prone areas like playgrounds
- Put up child proof barriers in your home
- Educate adolescents about the factors associated with brain injury in car crashes, such as alcohol, speeding, and texting while driving
- Educate adolescence about concussions or severe sport injuries
- Educate seniors about the risks of falls in home due to activities such as ladder climbing, vacuuming stairs, and walking on wet floors
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
Living with a traumatic brain injury is a challenge, but you don’t have to go through it alone.
At Capitol Physical Therapy, our qualified physical therapists can help you manage your symptoms and recover from traumatic brain injury.
Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005
9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC