Most often, brain trauma is the outcome of a powerful blow to the head, and rehabilitation for brain trauma patients might be utilized depending on the severity of the injury. The trauma can sometimes cause bruising of the brain and impairment to the blood vessels and internal tissues. The degrees of brain injuries can range from mild concussions to more severe injuries that may induce a coma or even death. There is no obvious break in the skull with a closed brain injury. Also, the brain is usually bashed alongside the skull while tearing the internal lining and causing bleeding and swelling.
Mild Brain Trauma
Management of brain trauma is modified based on the nature of the injury. Individuals with mild brain injuries experience temporary loss of consciousness and memory of the happenings right before the accident. These individuals might feel dazed and disoriented. They also have brief neurological deficits such as impairment of their vision, hearing, and sense of smell and taste. In order to rule out possible swelling or bleeding of the brain or inside the skull, individuals that experience these warning signs should be assessed with a CT scan. Generally within a few weeks, patients tend to recover entirely from a mild brain trauma and do not require additional treatment. However, if the patient has symptoms that last longer than 30 to 60 days, evaluation of a neurologist and neuropsychologist should be administered.
Severe Brain Trauma
Individuals that have had severe head trauma must be monitored in order to access if the brain has swollen or increased pressure inside the skull that could develop into brain damage. Neurologists commonly use a procedure referred to as intracranial pressure monitoring to measure the level of pressure within a patient's skull. Removing a small portion of the skull to relieve pressure on the brain and avoid additional swelling might also be required. Continuing care for brain trauma patients often comprise of rehabilitation in addition to medications that target the neurological and physical alterations that are caused from the injury.
Rehabilitation for Brain Trauma
The rehabilitation of a brain trauma involves two important processes– restoring the functions or abilities that might be restored and how to learn to do certain things in a different manner if functions are not restorable at the re-injury stage.
Occupational, physical and speech therapy are significant measures of a recovery progression for individuals that have suffered from a brain trauma. Rehabilitation emphases on averting muscle deterioration and contractures, facilitating individuals to retrain particular muscles to make up for the damage or deterioration of others, and offering assistance to individuals who no longer have the skills to communicate vocally or through gesticulation.
Rehabilitation for a brain trauma patient originates through the severe treatment stage and becomes more complete as the patient's circumstances improve. Rehabilitation experts help patients to recuperate from or compensate for these losses, and help them make the most of their proficiencies in their home environment. New York Presbyterian Hospital's Rehabilitation Program has been noted as one of the best in the United States. Its rehabilitation team consists of physical and occupational therapists, and doctors that have specialized in neurological rehabilitation.
New York Presbyterian: Neurology and Neuroscience–Brain and Spine Trauma
Brain Injury Resource Center: Cognitive Rehabilitation