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Targeted Rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury

In 2010, over 280,000 hospitalizations resulted with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health care professionals from every sector continue to study TBI to determine the most effective ways of preventing and treating these injuries. South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT) is committed to offering cutting-edge treatment plans for its patients suffering from TBI and is often contacted to provide education and new findings on concussion incidence reduction to sports teams.

As defined by the CDC, TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. New research suggests that by understanding the three distinct symptom clusters and functional disturbances below, physical therapists can tailor their treatment plans more precisely and receive the most favorable outcome for each patient.

  1. Physical Symptoms: These symptoms involve the brain’s ability to control coordination and balance. Individuals with these concussion and TBI symptoms might experience dizziness, headaches, and neck pain.
  1. Cognitive Symptoms: Delayed reaction times, decreased attention span, memory loss, amnesia, or “foggy” brain after head trauma may indicate cognitive effects.
  1. Emotional Symptoms: Someone who has received an injury to the frontal lobe of the brain might exhibit a change in mood or personality, irritability, poor judgment, and impulsive behavior.

By defining TBI symptom clusters, SCPT therapists can determine where the greatest impact of an injury has occurred and treat it specifically for a better recovery. Some rehabilitation methods used are vision rehabilitation, musculoskeletal treatment, therapy to regain balance, and gait analysis. Customizing a physical therapy plan to treat TBI requires a unique understanding of how the body’s functioning systems are affected by and react to this injury.

In addition, SCPT cautions that 92% of repeat in-season concussions occur within ten days of the first injury and appear with worse symptoms. New research has indicated that patients should rest 24-48 hours post-injury, then engage in controlled active rest and cognitive rest according to their specific treatment plan. No two concussions are the same.

Several risk factors that contribute to concussions and TBI include an individual’s neck strength, sports position, genetics, athletic playing style, decreased reaction times, and poor posture. Strengthening specific muscle groups might reduce the chance of a concussion or TBI.

Both SCPT and the CDC are committed to providing concussion resources to parents and schools. If you think you or someone you know has experienced a traumatic brain injury or concussion, it’s important to be familiar with the warning signs and seek medical assistance. For more information on TBI, read “The Lasting Impact: A Closer Look at Traumatic Brain Injury,” and contact SCPT to explore treatment options.

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