Acquired Brain injury (ABI) is the term that describes any damage to the brain that has occurred since birth, and is not progressive. Acquired Brain Injuries can be classified as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or non-traumatic brain injuries.
Acquired Brain injury
I was in a car accident in 2009 and suffered a brain injury and multiple broken bones in my body. I needed a hip replacement, but it didn’t work and subsequently I couldn’t put weight on my right leg. I had seen various health professionals over the years, but I still couldn’t stand properly. I started working with the physiotherapists at The Rehab Physio in 2016. I now practice walking with the help of a walking frame and a physio. I am now hopeful that I can start stepping at home, whereas previously I had been told I would never stand and step again.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are those caused by a serious head impact, such as in a road crash, a fall, an accident or as a result of an assault.
Non Traumatic brain injuries are caused by a disease or some form of damage to the brain tissue. This can be a gradual condition such as a tumour, or a sudden event – for instance a disruption to the blood supply caused by tumour, encephalitis, brain haemorrhage or stroke.
ABIs can cause either localised damage or more widespread issues.
What are the effects?
The effects can be very varied depending on the type and severity of the injury, and which part of the brain has been injured, but may include some or all of the following:
- Loss of or impaired movement in arms and/or legs
- Reduced ability to do everyday things
- Changes to brain function, memory and personality
- Problems with balance
- Altered muscular tone and spasticity
- Headaches and dizziness
In severe cases, the effects can be long-term, and sufferers can have problems which impact their personality as well as their physical state. It can put pressure on their personal relationships, and limit their ability to live independently.
What can be done in recovery?
Everyone who has suffered a head injury will face different, unique challenges, and these can go beyond purely physical issues. At The Rehab Physio we have extensive experience and understanding of not only brain injury, but how it can affect a person and those close to them. We’ll help improve their physical symptoms, and also work closely with members of the family, carers and other health care professionals to co-ordinate the person’s overall treatment.
Our specialist team has access to the latest technologies and techniques from around the world, and a great deal of professional experience. We can improve such crucial things as balance, muscle strength and joint mobility, and help people to reach their full potential.
Physiotherapy for Brain injury
As with most neurological conditions, the extent of the recovery and rehabilitation possible from brain injury is different in every individual case. The brain often has a surprising ability to adapt; the only way to access this ability is to put the right demand upon it, using advanced neurological physiotherapy techniques. Some typical treatments are:
- Strengthening and mobilisation exercises
- Improving balance and mobility through use of mobility aids and postural re-education
- Reducing muscle stiffness, spasms and pain through stretching programmes
- Improve walking quality and reduce the risk of falls through balance work, gait re-education and training
- Increasing sensation through sensory stimulation
- Helping reduce foot drop through functional electrical stimulation (FES) and various orthotics
People who also have non-physical symptoms – for example loss of memory, cognition and anxiety - can be significantly helped through the structure and routine of a physiotherapy programme.
We work closely with neuropsychologists and occupational therapists to assess non-physical issues following brain injury, which helps us to make the best decisions about a person’s rehabilitation programme. Often people are helped to reach their goals through physical exercise, because they’re guided by experts in both physical health and complex neurological conditions.
Crucially, our advanced computer technology helps measure progress and feeds back the information to the patient. We can highlight real progress that the individual might not be aware of in themselves – and that can really help keep the person feeling positive and focused as treatment moves forward.