MEER | Head injury
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Head injury


Introduction to Traumatic Brain Injuries

At Meer PT we understand about the potential devastating effects a head injury / traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have on an individual and their family. Our specialized team can help you get back as much independence as possible. The rehabilitation process will be specific to you, depending on your future goals and the symptoms you are experiencing.

Common effects of traumatic brain injuries are arm and leg weakness, facial weakness and speech problems. These lead to decreased mobility, balance problems and difficulty performing everyday tasks.

Physiotherapy treatment is very important following a traumatic brain injury. It should commence as soon as possible and continue until an individual has reached their maximum potential. Physiotherapy can improve an individual’s quality of life by increasing their independence, mobility and ability to perform everyday tasks.

Meer PT understand that a traumatic brain injury can cause a huge change in lifestyle for an individual and their family. We also understand that everyone wants the maximum recovery for their loved ones.

Meer PT realize that traumatic brain injuries affect people in a variety of ways and that everyone is different. As a result, we offer both home and clinic appointments. This allows us to provide neurological physiotherapy to patients with a huge variety of physical abilities and future goals.

Meer PT are experienced at working alongside solicitors, case managers and insurers to provide a hassle free service to our clients.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury? A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused initially by a blow to the head. TBI also includes potential complications seen after the initial injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain tissues or increased pressure within the skull.

A TBI can, therefore, be analysed as three ‘injuries’: 

First injury:

This is the initial injury occurring in the seconds after the accident. Damage is described as closed, open or crush injuries.

Second Injury:

This occurs when the oxygen supply to the brain is reduced in the minutes and hours after the accident, worsening the damage already caused by the first injury.

This can be caused by an obstruction to an airway or serious blood loss. Third Injury:

This occurs as a result of blood leaking from damaged blood vessels, over a period of days or weeks, into the area causing the brain to swell. The skull is a fixed space and the brain can suffer damage if it squeezes against it.

If the brain swells it can squeeze the blood vessels, limiting the brain’s blood circulation.

Young man with trauma of the head
A young athlete grabs his forehead in anger or pain.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

Meer PT treat all types of traumatic brain injury. These include:

  • Subdural hematoma
  • Epidural hematoma
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Intraparenchymal hemorrhage
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

Individuals can present with a huge variety of symptoms following a traumatic brain injury (TBI). These symptoms depend on the type of TBI suffered, its severity, the area of the brain affected and the extent of damage to the brain tissue. Common effects seen are:

  • Physical Changes
  • Reduced mobility
  • Altered muscle tone – high /low
  • Altered movement patterns
  • Altered co-ordination
  • Altered balance
  • Chronic pain
  • Changes to normal body functions
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Speech and language problems
  • Changes in sensation
  • Perceptual difficulties
  • Visual disturbances
  • Increased or reduced hearing
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of taste
  • Seizures
  • Social / emotional changes

Traumatic Brain Injury Physiotherapy Treatment:

Many traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors are left with significant disability. The brain is, however, very adaptable and, with the correct physiotherapy input, recovery can take place over a period of years. People often witness a rapid period of recovery in the first few weeks following a TBI, followed by a slower recovery over the following years. To gain the maximum recovery, physiotherapy treatment should be continued  immediately once you leave hospital until your full potential has been reached.

You will be discharged from hospital when you are medically stable. Being discharged from hospital does not mean that you will not improve further. Your rehabilitation should continue as soon as you leave hospital. With the correct physiotherapy input and advice you still have lots of potential to improve over the coming years.

With the correct level of physiotherapy input long term improvements can be made. Meer PT commonly see individuals make significant improvements.

During your initial assessment you will discuss your short and long term rehabilitation goals. These goals will then be at the center of your rehabilitation.

Physiotherapy will assist you in regaining as much movement and function as possible. Treatment often focuses on sitting balance, standing balance, walking, using your affected arm / hand and managing any changes in muscle tone, pain or stiffness.

Neurological TBI physiotherapy can help:

  • Improve balance and walking increase ability to roll / move in bed / sit / stand
  • Reduce muscle spasms, pain and stiffness
  • Increase strength
  • Retrain normal patterns of movement
  • Increase affected arm and leg function
  • Increase energy levels
  • Increase independence and quality of life
  • Decrease risk of falls

After a TBI many people experience difficulties performing tasks that were previously simple. This can make everyday life a struggle for both you and those close to you. Meer PT will advise you on the use of walking aids, splints, supports and home equipment to make your life easier.

During treatment sessions our neurological physiotherapists will lead you through a progressive programmer of functional exercises to increase your mobility and muscle control.

The physiotherapists at Meer PT will usually teach you (and if appropriate your family members / cares) exercises to be continued between treatment sessions.

Meer PT is able to provide manual handling training sessions for cares and families. This training involves teaching safe therapeutic handling and positioning techniques that will promote normal movement and postural alignment to those caring for you. The therapeutic use of specific hoists and slings can also be taught. Where required postural, bed, seating and wheelchair assessments can be carried out by our specialist physiotherapists.

Having a TBI is a life changing event. TBIs can lead to changes in personality, feelings of frustration and reduced confidence. At Meer PT we aim to make our treatment sessions effective and enjoyable. Many patients develop close relationships with our physiotherapists. This, combined with increased function and independence, allows our patients to lead as fulfilling lives as their potential allows.