Traumatic Brain Injury

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What to expect

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury occurs after injury to the head and affects normal brain function. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and each case differs in complexity.

Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial during recovery from a brain injury and can help the recovery process.

What is traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury is a result of injury to the head and the complications that follow this injury. For example, a swelling causing pressure to the brain as well as damage through lack of oxygen. Traumatic brain injury can be categorised into closed, open and crushing injuries.

Closed injury

Closed injury is the most common. No break in the skin is visible and occurs when the head is rocked back and forth or rotated rapidly. When this happens there is a delay in the movement of the brain compared to the skull and so nerves and fibres can tear and twist easily in the brain case and lead to extensive damage.

Open injury

An open injury occurs when the brain is exposed and subsequently damaged. An example of this would be a gunshot wound or collision with a sharp object. This injury is often combined with a closed injury, for example during a car accident.

Crushing Injuries

Crushing injuries are the least common and can occur when the head is trapped between two hard surfaces. This can lead to nerve damage and damage to the brain stem rather than the brain in isolation.

How is traumatic brain injury diagnosed?

Diagnosis of a brain injury will be done on arrival at the hospital and will involve a multidisciplinary team input. As part of this team, a patient may be seen for an initial assessment of their speech and language. This will depend upon the severity of the injury and may happen after a stay in hospital and revisited on several occasions.

What are the effects of traumatic brain injury?

The effects of a traumatic brain injury can differ from each person depending upon the area of the brain affected and the individual concerned. These effects will range from mild to severe. Below is a list of possible effects:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger, violence and loss of motivation
  • Cognitive problems including memory loss and attention and listening problems
  • Physical loss of co ordination, muscle rigidity and paralysis
  • Relationships with both family and friends can become strained
  • Communication problems
  • Eating, drinking and swallowing problems
  • Voice problems
  • Social communication problems

How does speech and language therapy help traumatic brain injury?

Speech and language therapy can help with the effects of a traumatic brain injury. Speech and language therapy input helps individuals to deal with the difficulties he / she is experiencing and highlights any areas which need further treatment. Below is a list of benefits speech and language therapy can have on a person following traumatic brain injury:

Treatment will vary depending on the individual. After an initial assessment an individualised treatment plan will be made which will be tailored to the individual's specific needs and abilities. Specific treatment may include:

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