Traumatic Brain Injury, Anoxic Brain Injury, Head Injury
A brain injury or head injury can be sustained in various ways e.g. car accident, fall, blow to the head, gun-shot wound. It can also be as a result of lack of oxygen to the brain when one stops breathing for a period of time such as in a near-drowning or following cardiac arrest. The impairments following a brain injury depends on the area of the brain which was affected.
The brain is a dynamic structure and has the ability to adapt, relearn and recover following injury. This property of the brain is called plasticity. The brain is at its most plastic straight after the injury and that is why it is so important to commence neurological physiotherapy as soon as possible.
Because each brain is wired differently, no brain injured person is the same, and the impairments can vary significantly. Other than the obvious physical changes, impairments can include sight and hearing loss, change in personality and cognitive difficulties e.g. planning problems, speech difficulties and memory problems. This is why the neuro physio’s treatments will be suited to the clients’ particular needs and goals
General treatment goals are as follows:
- Promote normal movement patterns in the arms, legs and trunk
- Increase muscle strength and endurance
- Increase muscle length and relieve muscle and joint stiffness or spasticity
- Improve mobility, balance and posture
- Promote independence with functional activities
- Promote positioning and comfort in lying and sitting
- Advice on the use and purchase of wheelchairs, walking aids, splints and home equipment/aids
- Training and supporting family and care givers
- Refer for Botox and combine with serial casting if required
At Rehabilita in Roodepoort, Johannesburg, we have some specialised equipment that could benefit you and assist the neuro physio in her treatment with you:
Therapeutic electrical stimulation (Reduce pain and build muscle strength)
Functional Electrical Stimulation (help you walk if you have muscle weakness in the lower legs)
Theratrainer Active passive exercise bike (assist you to turn the pedals if you would otherwise not be able to cycle, you can either try and build up muscle strength or just let the bike do the work and get the benefits of your legs being moved and stretched). You can also use it for arm strengthening as it has upper limb attachments.
Tilt Table (if you are wheelchair bound and would like to stand up, this piece of equipment will stand you up safely to get some weight through your legs with no effort required by the patient)
Parallel bars (practice walking and balancing in a safe environment)
A neurological physiotherapist will often work as part of a multidisciplinary team to identify and treat all the problems and help the client achieve his/her highest level of functional independence. We work closely with a speech therapist and occupational therapist.