A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is the result of a force exerted on brain tissue when a person suffers from a jolt or blow to the head. Falls are the most common cause of TBIs, accounting for almost half (48%) of all TBI-related emergency department visits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While military personnel, contact sport players, and children have a higher risk of suffering from a TBI than the general population, a brain injury could happen to anyone. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a TBI, the recommended treatment plan may include physical therapy. You may be wondering how physical therapy could help with an injury to the brain, but the importance of physical therapy for TBIs cannot be overstated.
Physical Therapy Treatments for Traumatic Brain Injuries
Since each person’s injury, lifestyle, and environment is unique, cookie-cutter approaches to physical therapy don’t work for a TBI. In order to see the best recovery results possible for their situation, each patient will have an individualized physical therapy treatment plan that could include:
- Strength training
- Postural alignment
- Sit-to-stand sequence practice
- Standing balance training
- Gait training
- Range of movement exercises
- Passive stretching
- Sensory stimulation
- Joint mobilization
- Aerobic training
These days, some physical therapists are even dabbling with the use of virtual reality and robotics to aid in neurological rehabilitation. Recent studies have shown that these new technological advances in physical therapy have the potential to improve the treatment and assessment of TBI, even in cases where the chances of recovery appear to be poor.
Benefits of Physical Therapy for Brain Injury Treatment
A physical therapist’s primary goal is to help TBI patients regain their ability to perform daily tasks, restore physical function, and rebuild their fitness and wellness. This process will vary depending on the recovery stage the victim is currently experiencing.
During a vegetative state, the patient has some brain function. Eye-opening, breathing, and digestion may resume but the patient continues to lack awareness of surrounding activity. During this phase, the physical therapist will help maintain posture and flexibility to reduce the threat of bedsores and other issues.
Minimally Conscious State
When a patient is considered to be minimally conscious, they show beginning—but inconsistent—signs of awareness and ability to do purposeful tasks. During this stage, physical therapists will help with positioning and stretching and work to increase movement and response.
Increased Conscious State
Once a patient reaches the increased conscious stage, they become more attentive and active in physical therapy participation. Task-specific training begins in this phase, as well as working to improve mobility and build back any loss of muscle from inactivity.
When limitations prevent patients from being able to return to their preinjury lifestyle and activities, physical therapy can help to improve mobility and the mastering of equipment like walkers or wheelchairs. After physical therapy, many TBI patients are able to benefit from:
- Increased alertness
- Stronger muscles
- Reduced fatigue
- Improved flexibility
- Better movement patterns
- Enhanced mobility
A physical therapist will also work with a TBI patient’s family and loved ones to help them better understand what the patient is experiencing and how they can better provide support for them at every stage of treatment.
Seek Accredited Legal Counsel in California for a Brain Injury
With years of proven experience in brain injury cases, you can count on the Law Offices of JG Winter to fight on your behalf. Our skilled attorneys are committed to navigating clients through the legal process so they can keep their attention on what is most important: their recovery.
We believe all negligent parties should be responsible for any losses they have caused. Call 844-734-2626 or complete an online contact form today to schedule a free consultation so we can start building your case as soon as possible.