Physical therapy can be a life-changing treatment for people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI is diagnosed when an injury to the brain damages or changes the way it functions. Blows to the head, car crashes and falls are the most common causes of TBI and many of those injuries are initially diagnosed as a concussion.
It’s typically only when changes in behavior or physical function appear that a traumatic brain injury is recognized. It’s not just football players and military personnel that can sustain a TBI. Children under age four are prone to falls and head injuries during play or as the result of some type of abuse. Even a “mild” concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury.
Vehicle accidents and sports injuries are the primary cause of TBI in 15-19 year olds, while falls are the most common cause of TBIs in older people. Symptoms vary widely depending upon the location of the injury and the part of the brain that’s affected. Patients may need to relearn how to perform tasks others take for granted.
Mental, physical, emotional and behavioral changes occur, but there’s no way to predict what those alterations will be or the severity. People may have problems with memory, vision, hearing and balance. Problem solving abilities may be impaired, along with the ability to pay attention. The person with the TBI often doesn’t know the changes have taken place or that they’re acting any different than usual.