A brain injury occurs when the brain is damaged directly such as by injury or accident, or when the supply of essential blood and oxygen to part of the brain is cut off. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death.
Brain injury can affect anyone, at any time of their life. As with all neurological conditions, the symptoms and treatment are unique to each individual.
There are two types of brain injury:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – when an external force traumatically damages the brain, often caused by road traffic accidents, assaults or falls.
- Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) – this doesn’t involve a traumatic blow and can include Stroke, brain tumours, hypoxia, and infection.
What are the symptoms of a brain injury?
A brain injury can lead to a wide range of symptoms, often in combination depending on the type of injury and the location in the brain. Every person’s injury is different, and the symptoms can range from mild to more severe.
These symptoms include:
- Difficulties with understanding, memory, thinking, judgement, planning and foresight
- Impaired mental abilities, such as speed of thought and concentration
- Emotional and behavioural changes and difficulties
- Physical changes to movement and coordination
- Reduced balance
- Altered walking patterns
- Altered sensation
- Hormonal imbalance
- Difficulty with eyesight and breathing
- Speech or language problems, including slurred speech
- Changes in personality and mood
- Visual problems
How can neurological physiotherapy help with brain injury?
Having a brain injury is a life-changing event and many survivors are left with disabilities. However, the brain is very adaptable.
A neurological physiotherapist can help you retrain your brain after the brain injury. We can help you regain as much movement and function as possible, focusing on walking, balance, using your affected limbs, and managing any changes in muscle pain or stiffness.
Ideally, physiotherapy should start immediately following an injury, and continue once you leave hospital. Some people need it for months afterwards, and even years to help maintain their rehabilitation. However, we can help even if you have not had treatment for some time.
Specifically, neurological physiotherapy can help you to:
- Improve balance and walking
- Increase ability to move in bed
- Increase ability to sit and stand
- Reduce muscle spasms, pain and stiffness
- Increase general strength
- Retrain normal patterns of movement
- Increase arm and leg function
- Increase energy levels
- Increase independence and quality of life
- Reduce the risk of falls
Your rehabilitation will take time and patience to achieve, but neurological physiotherapy will help you make significant improvements on the road to recovery.
Following your Initial Assessment, your physio will agree your rehabilitation treatment plan, identify what aspects of your daily life you want to improve, and how best to achieve your goals.
Making life easier
We will guide you through a programme of targeted exercises to increase your mobility and muscle control, and teach you exercises to do in between sessions, with the help of your family members and carers too if appropriate. We will look at how to involve you in a wide range of stimulating and beneficial Physio Active activities, which can help improve strength, balance, confidence and social interaction. And if you need them, we will help you with walking aids, splints, supports and home equipment to make your life easier, and the lives of those around you.
Support for you, your family and carers
We understand that brain injury can lead to changes in your personality. If you have a brain injury, you might find it difficult to do everyday activities that used to be easy. This can be very frustrating and reduce your confidence. It can make life a struggle for you and those close to you.
We know how important it is to help the brain injury survivor, and their family or carers cope successfully with the long-term impact of the condition. We can support you and those around you by:
- working closely with other professionals you may need for your rehabilitation, such as Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Orthotists, and Dietitians
- carrying out postural bed, seating and wheelchair assessments
- training your family and carers in manual handling – this involves safe therapeutic handling and positioning techniques to help with your movement and postural alignment
- teaching your family and carers how to use hoists, slings and other equipment to support your recovery