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Traumatic Brain Injury - How Physiotherapy Can Help In Recovery?

Written and reviewed by
Master of Physiotherapy (MPT-Neuro), Bachelor of physiotherapy(BPT)
Physiotherapist, Ahmedabad  •  8 years experience
Traumatic Brain Injury - How Physiotherapy Can Help In Recovery?

When a sudden bump, blow, or jolt occurs to the brain, it results in a traumatic brain injury. According to the area involved in the traumatic brain injury, the patient may lose his consciousness, or he may lose the function of any part of the body. In the first few weeks following a traumatic brain injury, rapid recovery occurs but slows down over the following years. Hence, in order to gain rapid recovery, physiotherapy treatment should be started immediately.

Why physiotherapy is helpful in traumatic brain injury?

Along with the proper medication, physiotherapy assists in rapid recovery of the patient in the following ways:

  • It improves balance and co-ordination, thereby, decreasing the risk of fall.

  • It increases the ability to move in the bed, sit, stand, or to do activities for daily living.

  • It reduces muscle spasms, pain, and stiffness in cases of muscle involvement with traumatic brain injury.

  • It increases strength of the paralyzed (non-functioning, weakened muscles) limbs in cases of paralysis which occur after traumatic brain injury.

Continuous and persistent practice of physiotherapy ultimately results in independence and increased quality of life.

What therapies are included in physiotherapy for patients with traumatic brain injury?

The therapy needs to be followed on a daily basis under a proper guidance of a physiotherapist. It includes following methods:

  • Sensory stimulation: It includes application of specific stimuli, such as tactile (touch), proprioceptive, vestibular, auditory, visual, or olfactory stimuli. It is given in comatose patients. It acts by stimulating the brain and improving stimulus transmission, and it results in overall a rapid and better recovery.

  • Respiratory therapy: It is given to ICU patients. The main aim of this therapy is to promote ventilation, to improve oxygen saturation, and to improve thoracic mobility.

  • Therapies for prevention of contracture: Contractures mean that there is a loss of joint mobility. Hence, for the prevention of the contracture, active or passive movement of the joint or stretching exercises is generally advised.

  • Use of a serial cast: Serial casting is widely used to reduce stiff muscles and to improve the range of motion. They are changed in an interval of 4 to 7 days.

  • Mobilization: Mobilization therapies, such as bringing the patient into an upright seated position at the edge of the bed, outside the bed, or to a standing position are advised to improve the mobility of the patient.

  • Training for self-care: Training for improving the activities of self-care and the activities of daily living (ADL) is generally taught to the patients with sensory, motor, or cognitive dysfunction. 

  • Use of tools: Various tools, such as walking aids and supports are generally advised to improve and maintain the balance of the patient.

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