Although January is nearly behind us, we wanted to call attention to this month’s National Sports TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) recognition, especially with the Winter Olympics coming up soon. Traumatic brain injury occurs when a trauma, such as a fall, head injury or car crash, causes damage to the way the brain functions. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), approximately 1.7 million TBIs occur each year in the US, resulting in 52,000 deaths and 275,000 hospitalizations. Approximately 80% of individuals with TBI are treated and released from the emergency department because their injury is classified as a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury.
The Core Wellness staff wants to ensure that all of our patients are aware of TBI, its prevalence, what causes it, the signs and what to do if you suspect TBI. According to APTA, symptoms include:
- Physical: weakness or difficulty moving the arms, legs, body, and head. The affected person may have difficulty sitting, standing, balancing, walking, or lying down and changing in bed.
- Cognitive: difficulty remembering, paying attention, or solving problems. The affected person may have a reduced awareness of these difficulties, which can cause safety concerns.
- Sensory: changes in vision, hearing, or the sense of touch. Balance senses that are aided by the inner ear may also be impaired.
- Emotional and behavioral: difficulty in controlling emotions, or a change in personality. If cognitive deficits are significant, the affected person’s inability to understand what has happened may result in significant emotional agitation.
Physical therapy can help patients with TBI regain functions such as getting in and out of bed, sitting down, rising to stand, walking, and using a wheelchair by utilizing exercise and task-specific training to help the patient improve:
- The ability to maintain alertness and follow commands
- Muscle and joint flexibility that may be reduced after inactivity
- The ability to move around in bed, to sit without support, and to stand up
- The ability to balance safely when sitting, standing, or walking
- The ability to move by strengthening and the practicing of functional activities
- Balance and coordination
- Strength and energy, reducing any feelings of fatigue that occur from inactivity or the injury to the brain itself
- A return to sports and fitness activities
For more information on managing and treating TBI, visit APTA’s website or contact any of your Core Wellness staff members so we can help get you on the path to healing.