LCHM Fall 2017 - 7

L C M E D S O C .O R G

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur
when a sudden movement, such as a blow
to the head, shakes the brain. Brain tissue
is composed of billions of neural circuits
that transmit information necessary for
human behavior. When the brain is injured,
there is a disruption of the transmission
of information caused by a stretching and
shearing of these neural circuits. TBIs can
range from mild (concussions) to severe
and can be sustained during automobile
accidents, sporting accidents, falls and
assaults as well as non-traumatic events,
such as lack of blood supply or oxygen
from aneurysms, tumors, etc.
After immediate or acute treatment, the
focus shifts once patients are medically
stable. Patients with brain injuries - and
their loved ones - face the monumental
tasks of accepting loss and then beginning
the often long journey of recovery.
Patients, their family members and
medical providers must work as a team
to address the sometimes overwhelming
symptoms and changes that can occur
following traumatic brain injury. An organization that specializes in rehabilitation
has the needed resources and experience
to assemble the appropriate care team
members to best help each patient's
specific needs.
For patients suffering from TBI, specialized rehabilitation care by physicians
certified by the American Board of Physical
Medicine and Rehabilitation and those
trained in brain injury puts the patients
on track to make the best recovery possible
and improve their quality of life. PM&R
brain injury providers are specially trained
to see the potential for recovery in all stages
of TBI, regardless of whether patients
have suffered a simple concussion or more
traumatic injury. For all degrees of injury,
meaningful gains are possible.
It is important for patients and their
families to understand that brain injury rehabilitation is not just physical
therapy offered in the inpatient or outpatient setting. Facilities that specialize

BRAIN
INJURY
SIGNS AND

SYMPTOMS
Because every brain is slightly
different, the symptoms of a
brain injury depend upon a
person's age, injury severity,
their personality and ability to
adjust. For some, the symptoms
of a TBI are obvious, while others
are subtle. Symptoms may take
several days or weeks to appear
and may include the following:
LASTING HEADACHES OR NECK PAIN
DIFFICULTY REMEMBERING,
CONCENTRATING OR MAKING
DECISIONS
SLOWED THINKING, SPEAKING
OR READING
GETTING LOST OR CONFUSED
FEELING MORE TIRED AND LESS
MOTIVATED THAN NORMAL
DRASTIC MOOD CHANGES
CHANGES IN HOW LONG OR WELL
YOU SLEEP
LIGHT-HEADEDNESS, DIZZINESS OR
LOSS OF BALANCE
NAUSEA AND/OR BLURRED VISION
INCREASED SENSITIVITY TO LIGHTS
AND SOUNDS
LOSS OF SENSE OF SMELL OR TASTE
RINGING IN THE EARS

in rehabilitation are able to develop
a comprehensive plan to address the
patient's specific needs that may consist
of physical, occupational, vision, speech
and recreational therapy.
Vision therapy, for instance, helps to
restore the lost sense of vision caused
by a neurological injury. Through Good
Shepherd's Vision Therapy Program, a
neuro-optometrist evaluates visual deficits
and develops a personalized plan of care
that is updated monthly. Patients then
work with specially trained occupational
and physical therapists using computerized
3-D programs, touch screens, special lenses
and prisms and balance equipment.
Another important consideration in
traumatic brain injury recovery is the
emotional aspect. Neuropsychologists
who have expertise in how behavior
and skills relate to brain structures and
systems can administer specialized testing
procedures to help understand how the
brain is working. Equally important, they
can help patients and their families cope
with the often-tremendous life changes
following a brain injury.
FALL 2017 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 7


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LCHM Fall 2017

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