Experiencing a mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury (mmTBI) can have long-lasting physical and psychological effects long after the originating event. Many of these symptoms related to your balance and ability to move about your life. In Canada, 30 to 60 percent of Canadians living with chronic balance deficit after mmTBI will experience dizziness and disequilibrium.
There are many ways an mmTBI may be affecting your ability to perform work duties and overall quality of life, today we will focus on four of these areas. No matter whether you’ve noticed one or all of the following, these symptoms should be further investigated if they persist.
Often present as a spinning sensation or feeling unsteady, these symptoms are common post-injury. These may go away with time as you move through the recovery process, but you may need to deal with lingering feelings of unsteadiness. If you are experiencing dizziness or a loss of coordination that feels unusual and persistent, you should check with your primary healthcare provider to look into how you’re feeling.
Dizziness can be caused by inner ear issues or visual problems. Sometimes these might present themselves when you are trying to wash your hair in the shower or in a busy environment where multiple things are moving. There are also a few medications that are known to potentially cause dizziness and lightheadedness, leading to a feeling of imbalance. Other causes for dizziness include postural control, blood pressure issues, anxiety and or depression that may stem from the initial injury, this is known as psychogenic dizziness.
- Difficulty walking and climbing stairs
If you are already feeling unsteady, then simply walking and moving around can feel strenuous. In some cases of TBIs, some patients may need to completely re-learn how to walk. Stairs can prove even more challenging — you may feel the need to grab the handrail for support, while taking your time to ensure your feet are making it up to the next step. This is a common symptom resulting from mmTBI and can be exacerbated by other symptoms.
- Higher risk of falling
Symptoms related to your balance, particularly feeling unsteady or dizzy, can increase the number of falls you experience. Following a mmTBI, it is common to experience a decrease in perception of body movements and positioning which can lead to imbalance. For patients over the age of 65, falls are the leading cause of injury.
At any age it is important to make an appointment to discuss the factors at play in your life to reduce your risk of injuries resulting from falls. Not sure if what you’re feeling is related to your balance? Read about it here and find out if your balance might be off.
- Trouble completing everyday tasks
As the brain is the control centre for your entire body, any damage to it will make regular processes that typically come naturally more difficult. In some cases, experiencing a mmTBI can make it harder for people to focus for long periods of time.
If you feel like it’s harder to concentrate during activities you normally enjoy or pay attention to conversations in busy environments, it’s a good idea to discuss with your doctor or healthcare provider. They can shed some light on what might be causing this feeling and other ways a past mmTBI could be impacting you.
If any of the following sound like they may pertain to you, it would be worth sitting down with your doctor to understand the full picture of what may be causing any difficulties. Your doctor, occupational or physical therapist, or another health care specialist will work with you on a treatment plan regardless of the cause of your symptoms.
Learn more about the treatment used in the Heuro™ Program here, and talk to your doctor to see if Heuro™ Programs are right for you. Download the physician’s referral form or find a clinic near you to set up a free 15-minute consultation.
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