Getting your life back after an mTBI, and why it’s so important
After an individual experiences a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or specifically a mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury, they are often not aware of the challenges in store for them. The recovery process varies based on the severity of the injury and the individual themselves, but one thing is certain – it is important they make returning to a normal routine a priority.
Dr. Ryan Scott, Clinic Director at Authorized PoNS Treatment™ Clinic Advantage 4 Athletes, sheds light on life after a mmTBI. He highlights the challenges patients could face post-TBI, physically, mentally and emotionally, the impact it could have on their relationships and how they can get their lives back.
Why do clients struggle returning to a normal routine after a mmTBI?
Every mmTBI is different. While many clients bounce back within days or weeks, others find their progress halts. I listen to a lot of patients with TBI and many of their struggles are similar. They cannot concentrate, they have challenges walking and balancing, they don’t feel like themselves. Many of the stories are heartbreaking as people tell me how they can’t be around loved ones due to the struggles they face. Concussions (a type of mmTBI) also behave like a silent/invisible ailment.
I hear many stories from patients who feel like no one understands what they are going through. Spouses and family members expect them to just push through it, employers question the integrity of the person… All of these things combine to have a dramatic impact on daily life, leading to a potential for social isolation and depression as the symptoms persist.
Who else is impacted by a client’s mmTBI? How can they support the impacted individual’s return to life as usual?
As I discuss the issues around mmTBI with my patients, many of them fail to see the far-reaching impact of their condition. I like to ask what path they were on prior to their injury. They may have been studying in University with a career in mind, or be a new parent, or have a great career. All of these things can be derailed. Sadly, I have heard many say that they can no longer be the parent they thought they would be; they cannot participate in activities with their children.
Spouses of injured people are left feeling caught in the pull of these injuries. They become full time caregivers overnight, and while most of us would do anything for our spouse, they are also now existing in a life where their own needs are no longer being attended to. It can definitely put a strain on a relationship.
I have also seen many young people fall into a downward spiral at work. After their injury they end up taking time off, and then request multiple accommodations at work. Most employers are willing to tolerate this for a brief period, but as the weeks turn into months into years, patience wears thin. The patient’s confidence drops and more often than not they have difficulty keeping jobs and progressing in a career. Unfortunately, I could go on and on regarding the impact of mmTBI on the lives of those that suffer from them.
What resources can the client access to help them with this transition?
There are many great places that support those impacted by a mmTBI, including the many trauma centres in most regions in Canada. I have the good fortune to work with many great practitioners, including MDs, chiropractors, physiotherapists, athletic therapists, RMTs and many more great people dedicated to helping people get back to pre-injury health. Social media, like Facebook, has great groups to let patients know they are not alone. For those that have tried these resources and yet still struggle, I am happy to say that there is still hope.
What are some ways clients can get their lives back?
After a mmTBI, practitioners and patients work together using “return to play” or “return to work” protocols. These can involve a combination of rest, light exercise and specific therapy to address the individual’s particular issues (i.e, vision therapy, vestibular therapy, etc). Some patients remain stuck in their progress. These people cannot ever seem to find their way back to how they lived and felt before the accident. Many are told that they will have to live this way as a “new normal” and that they have reached “maximum therapeutic benefit.” These are the people that we try to help.
The PoNS Treatment™ offered by A4A and other Authorized PoNS Treatment Clinics, provide an innovative and effective treatment program to help restore balance and gait, and therefore the quality of life for those who have experienced an mmTBI. We may be able to improve the functional outcomes for these patients as it relates to their balance and gait by tapping into the brain’s innate power to change through neuroplasticity.
How does A4A encourage the client to get back to a normal routine, and what support does it offer?
As an authorized clinic, A4A is able to provide PoNS Treatment. The PoNS device, combined with physical therapy, has demonstrated through research that approximately 70% of patients impacted by a mmTBI experienced a clinically meaningful change in their balance. In fact, 50% of patients were in the normal range of balance at the end of the study. I recommend contacting an Authorized PoNS Treatment Clinic to learn how PoNS Treatment works and how it can benefit you.
What are the benefits of returning to a regular routine?
We are all human, we have goals, we have dreams, we love and we are loved. A mmTBI can change all of that in an instant. Whether through sport, a car accident, a fall, through violence, or in the workplace, a mmTBI is a tragic outcome. It’s not so much the return to the regular routine that is important, although routines are a part of everyone’s life. More importantly it’s the opportunity to dream again, to love to the fullest, to participate in the life we imagined for ourselves.
PoNS Treatment Clinic healthcare professionals, like Dr. Scott, work hard to provide holistic care to their clients. Dr. Scott and his team look forward to positively impacting the lives of those with a TBI and helping them maintain positive relationships, confidence and perseverance as they recover.
Curious about PoNS Treatment and how it may be able to help someone experiencing balance and gait problems resulting from a mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury (mmTBI)? Visit our What is PoNS page for answers to some common questions or speak to a healthcare professional like Dr. Scott by booking a free 15-minute consultation with Advantage 4 Athletes.
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