Head injuries are extremely common in the United Kingdom. Indeed it is estimated there are 900,000 annual accident and emergency attendances with 160,000 admitted to hospital.
The severity of these injuries can range from low, to moderate, to severe and the lasting impacts of a traumatic brain injury can vary.
But what about the impact of physical activity in aiding brain injury recovery? Here are some things you should know.
What sort of things does the term traumatic brain injury cover?
A traumatic brain injury is typically caused when there is a violent blow or jolt to the head.
It can also be as a result of an object - such as a bullet - going through brain tissue.
A mild brain injury may only result in temporary damage to brain cells, but a more serious injury can lead to bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage, which can have long-lasting ramifications or even, sadly, death.
Headaches, vomiting, fatigue and dizziness are among the physical symptoms of brain trauma, while sensory issues such as blurred vision, ringing in the years, and sensitivity to light or sound can occur. Cognitive issues include loss of consciousness, feeling confused or disorientated, memory problems, feeling depressed or anxious, and difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
Why is exercise used to treat brain injury?
First and foremost, taking part in exercise programs has shown a marked improvement in patient mood, and often a patient will want to continue their new exercise routines if their symptoms subside.
More technically speaking, exercise increases neurotransmitters - the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons - and thus patients are able to process information faster.
This improvement in mood can help lead to exercise habits that last a lifetime. Brain injury patients are advised to start by doing some rehabilitation exercises every day to get into a habit that will just eventually become part of a daily routine.
Is exercise safe for brain injury patients?
Those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury are encouraged to partake in physical activity for 20-40 minutes three times a week to help boost cognitive and cardiovascular health.
However, it is advisable to follow specific programs from doctors or rehabilitation experts. Not only for safety but for efficiency in routines.
Rehab therapists for instance will evaluate health and physical ability before putting forward a fitness plan. Moreover, they have the knowledge of the type of regime required based on age, fitness condition, and limitations - both physically and mentally.
How to measure physical and emotional progress?
Researchers find that patients who suffer a traumatic brain injury show important progress physically during the first six months of recovery and rehabilitation.
However, cognitive and psychological issues can persist for individuals with severe injury, while moderate injury patients experience a similar pattern in recovery.
Experts target multiple areas when assessing recovery, including physical, psychological, social, and daily life recovery.
Those who have suffered injury may also wish to look into the possibility of making brain injury claims using trusted medical injury experts.