A victim of a traumatic brain injury must undergo full neurorehabilitation in order to appreciate the best recovery.
The victim of the traumatic brain injury may be experiencing deficits in any or all of the following:
- Cognitive Function - Attention or memory.
- Motor Function - Extremity weakness, poor coordination and dizziness.
- Sensation - Vision, hearing, perception, differences in the feeling of touch, taste and smell and fatigue.
- Behavior or Emotion - Depression, anxiety, aggression, loss of impulse control, personality changes.
Neurorehabilitation following traumatic brain injury must deal with the following:
- Restoration of functions that can be restored.
- Learning how to compensate when the pre-injury level cannot be restored.
In order to appreciate the best result from neurorehabilitation the traumatic brain injury victim must be fully diagnosed. After the initial diagnosis of a traumatic brain injury at a hospital or primary care physician office it is important that a neurologist be seen, that neuropsychological testing be done in order that the deficits may be measured. Neurorehabilitation such as a referral to cognitive or speech therapy, although part of the rehabilitation, this process can also be part of the diagnosis as the therapist can give input to the neuropsychologist and neurologist on what the deficits are and whether or not they are improving.
It is important that the neurorehabilitation be holistic meaning encompassing all of the problems being experienced including cognitive problems, physical problems, depression and anxiety issues.
The following areas of neurorehabilitation should be considered:
- Neurology and Neuropsychology - To assess the deficits and recommend medication.
- Cognitive and speech therapy to improve memory and attention deficits.
- Physical Therapy - To treat pain, weakness and related problems.
- Occupational Therapy and Vocational Assessment - To the ability to return to the work place and at what level.
In addition there are new approaches being undertaken in the field of neurorehabilitation including:
- Computer based training - The use of the internet for treatment delivery allows people that have disability related limitations and geographical barriers to undergo treatment on a computer.
- Photomodulation - Light emitting diodes (LED) is a tool for neurorehabilitation that can improve compromised cellular activity of the brain tissue.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment - This is based on the theory that enhancement of blood and tissue oxygenation will stimulate cellular repair and growth. This is done by pressure chambers that compress oxygen molecules that is not possible under normal atmospheric conditions.
- Neuromodulation - Neurostimulation is being used to induce transient improvement and executive function. This is done by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) which is a non-invasive portable and relatively inexpensive procedure utilizing magnetic fields.