The human brain is unique to each person, which also applies to each brain injury, and because of this, the rehabilitation process for each survivor is different. No matter what stage of recovery you’re in, many strategies for TBI recovery can help during the rehabilitation process.
The importance of repairing the mind is equal to healing the body. This article will go over some of the best TBI recovery strategies to improve adults’ physical and mental well-being. Read on if you are interested.
Tips for TBI Recovery to Regain Physical Capability
Many people who survive a brain injury go on to develop physical problems such as increased stiffness of the muscles or even paralysis. And unfortunately, it is possible to go through many physical difficulties associated with TBI recovery.
Below are some tips for TBI recovery that can be useful during rehabilitation:
1. An Unblemished MRI Does Not Equate to Being “OK”
It is important to note that you should continue pressing for testing if you suspect anything is off or ask a loved one to do it for you. You can always get a second opinion if you are not sure of the results you got from your doctor.
Getting a second opinion can be the key to someone who will lead you to the right answers and ensure you are completely sure of your condition.
2. Keep Going Through Plateaus Despite Slow Growth
After a brain injury, the brain goes into what is referred to as a heightened state of plasticity. You might make progress quite quickly at this point. But after about three to six months, this heightened condition subsides, making survivors feel that advancement has also slowed.
These plateaus, which are typical for the rehabilitation process, are what therapists refer to as stalls in recovery. They are normal and shouldn’t deter you from working on your recovery anymore.
Exercises for recovery must be continued at home to keep the brain active and promote recovery after the plateau stage. You will greatly rip the benefits if you keep up and stay consistent.
3. The Symptoms Can Change
Many symptoms may occur during brain injury, so it is important to remember them. Keep a journal to log down your symptoms so you can remember everything. People have scenarios where their aphasia that they initially tested negative for manifested itself a month later.
Since there will be so many changes, you might not even be aware of one symptom or issue until another goes away and your brain has space to recognize it. So always note how you feel even if you think it is irrelevant.
4. Find the Cause of Spasticity
Survivors of TBI may have spasticity, an involuntary stiffening of the affected muscles. This is brought on by the injury’s impact on the communication between the brain and body.
Understanding that spasticity is caused by a brain communication problem rather than a problem with your muscles directly can help. Long-term muscle stiffness can be decreased, and mobility can be regained by participating in activities encouraging neuroplasticity.
5. Encourage Neuroplasticity to Aid with Brain Repair
After a brain injury occurs, the signals the brain transmits to the body may become disrupted, leading to some particular secondary consequences, including loss of movement or feeling.
Fortunately, neuroplasticity allows the brain to change how it is wired. New neural connections are formed during this process, and existing neural pathways are strengthened, enabling the brain to communicate more effectively and regain function after a TBI.
Brain injury survivors should stimulate neuroplasticity as much as possible, making this one of the most crucial TBI recovery tips.
6. Do Not Downplay or Conceal Your Impairments and Symptoms
The only thing more difficult than accepting how much you can no longer do is attempting to articulate what you are going through. However, avoiding attention and playing it down only makes matters worse.
You may overlook something extremely major when you downplay things, leading to more pressing and serious problems that could have been easily avoided. Always be transparent about how you feel, and what symptoms you are experiencing, and never lie to your doctors.
7. Know That You’re Not Alone and You Aren’t Delusional
There are support groups and even therapists available for you to talk to. Most people think it is unnecessary because their speech may not be as good as it used to be because of brain injury, but do not let that stop you.
Concerning speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing difficulties in adults, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can assist. If you can afford it, visit every specialist recommended to you. There are people just waiting to help you get better.
8. Practice Repetition to Speed up the Healing Process
Encouragement of repetition or group practice is one of the finest ways to stimulate neuroplasticity. Your brain will become more aware of the value of a skill or exercise as you practice it, and neural pathways for that skill will be strengthened.
For instance, it’s vital to conduct leg exercises with plenty of repetitions to enhance leg movement after TBI. This improves brain function and fortifies the leg’s functional abilities. Massed practice, like repetition, can assist you in regaining function and getting back to your regular activities.
9. Keep up a Healthy Brain-enhancing Diet
Following a TBI, the brain often needs more energy to recover and support itself, so it’s crucial to maintain a balanced diet. Brain injury-friendly meals facilitate refueling, which may lead to quick TBI recovery.
Additionally, a healthy diet can enhance cognitive function and lower stress and anxiety, which are side effects that some survivors may encounter. Walnuts, fish, vitamin B12, eggs, and dark leafy greens are all great post-TBI diets. Some vitamins might also be helpful, but before introducing anything new to your diet, be sure to speak with your doctor.
10. Keep Improving by Continuing Your Home Therapy
It is essential to go to physical and/or occupational therapy. It can, however, become unaffordable once insurance stops paying for sessions, which could affect your rehabilitation. For this reason, it’s crucial to carry out therapy at home.
Neurorehabilitation tools with gamification have been clinically shown to help survivors improve whole-body function. These tools offer routines you can practice at home as much as you’d like and adapt to your skill level.
11. Take up Meditation
Finding relaxation strategies is crucial since survivors of traumatic brain injury may experience worry and anxiety. Memory and concentration problems, which are two of the most prevalent cognitive symptoms of TBI, can be exacerbated by stress.
Many people find it difficult to follow this advice because their brains aren’t ready for yoga or exercise yet, but meditation is essential for healing. You can try a tutorial on YouTube. There are guided meditations to help with focus and aid in falling asleep, as well as guided meditations to ease stress.
Fortunately, research has shown that meditation can lower stress levels and expand brain regions involved in memory and attention. Because of this, meditation is an even more appealing practice to help with TBI recovery.
12. Ask Your Neurologist About the Parts of the Brain Affected by the Damage
Various brain regions carry out different brain functions. Therefore, knowing which parts of the brain were affected by TBI is important since it can assist in revealing any potential side effects.
You can get this information by asking your neurologist. Also, you can inquire about the severity of the injury and the affected hemisphere so you know if it is the right or left side of your brain. All of these inquiries offer more guidance on the path to recovery.
13. Hold Yourself Accountable to Inspire Yourself
Finding external inspiration can be helpful if you ever feel like your motivation is flagging. Ask someone close to you to drive you, for instance, if you have trouble getting to your therapy appointments on time. You will have external accountability in this manner. This is especially crucial if you experience adynamia, or decreased motivation, following brain damage.
14. Sleep Well to Help Your Brain Work Better
Having a good night’s rest is among the best TBI recovery advice. According to studies, sleep is crucial for restoring physical and mental skills after brain injury. Sleep aids in enhancing memory, learning, and other cognitive processes that victims of brain damage may find difficult to do.
After a TBI, it can be challenging for survivors to fall asleep, but there are strategies to reduce anxiety and encourage restful sleep. For instance, changing your lifestyle and developing healthy behaviors can greatly enhance your sleep. Healthy habits include getting up and going to bed simultaneously every day, avoiding taking too many naps, and limiting screen usage.
Additionally, there are natural sleep aids like tea, yoga, and acupuncture. You can also discuss medication with your doctor if other natural remedies fail to work for you.
15. Find Information About Foot Drop And its Causes
Survivors of a TBI may develop foot drop, which causes dorsiflexion issues, which is the inability to lift the foot back towards the shin. Usually, this is brought on by injury to the brain regions in charge of dorsiflexion.
Foot drops can be treated in various ways, such as through passive exercise, functional electrical stimulation, or medicine. To determine the best course of treatment, talk to your therapist.
Remember to be Kind to Yourself
The TBI recovery journey can be long and difficult, but you must remember to take it easy on yourself. Be kind to yourself because you’re doing the best you can, follow the tips provided above, show up every day, and leave the rest for time to do its job.
Special Strong is available to help assist you with your TBI recovery journey and more, so find a location near you and claim your free 7 day pass.