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How does someone recover from a traumatic brain injury?

Some traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have lasting effects on accident victims. Along with physical issues that result from brain trauma, a person may also experience emotional and cognitive impairments. This makes for a difficult recovery, especially when injuries are severe. The Mayo Clinic explains the effects of TBI and the different treatment options that are currently available.

While monitoring is recommended for mild injuries, most people don't require extensive medical care. However, emergency medical care is required for moderate to severe injuries. Along with treating the primary brain injury, medical care will also be needed to address secondary effects. This can include problems getting oxygen to the brain, bleeding, and swelling within the skull. Cranial swelling puts pressure on the brain, which can result in lasting effects.

Once a patient has been treated for urgent medical matters, he or she also must undergo rehabilitation to restore function. In some cases, damage to the brain can be so severe that function will never be fully recovered. Therapy is still helpful in this case, as it can provide partial recovery or teach new methods of performing common tasks.

The type of therapy prescribed often depends on the area of the brain that was injured. Physical therapy is focused on restoring movement, which helps a patient walk and improves balance. Occupational therapy helps a person relearn everyday skills and abilities. If language is impacted, a speech therapist is necessary. A person may also be taught to use assistive devices during therapy, such as canes or wheelchairs. Emotional issues are often addressed by a psychiatrist or counselor.

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