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What is brain injury rehabilitation?

A brain injury is one of the most traumatic things that a person can suffer because the brain controls all aspects of the body. For this reason, if the brain is injured, a person will suffer many physical effects across the body. Although people often talk about emergency treatment for brain injuries and the immediate medical treatment that follows a brain injury, it is brain injury rehabilitation that can help a person regain the abilities and skills that were initially lost due to the injury. Without effective rehabilitation-and sometimes even with rehabilitation-a serious head injury can result in permanent disability and the need for long-term care.

In general, brain injury rehabilitation refers to a range of treatments, not just one single treatment. The goal of rehabilitative treatment is to restore the parts of the brain that have been damaged to their original state. The particular type of rehabilitation needed in each case will depend on what functions have been affected by the brain injury, which can include walking, talking, thinking, etc. In order to determine what kind of rehabilitation treatment is needed, a medical professional will conduct several tests to accurately identify exactly what parts of the brain have been affected.

Because each brain injury is specific and unique, rehabilitation can take many different forms. For some people, rehabilitation occurs in a hospital or clinic, while others receive rehabilitation as an outpatient. There are both traditional and alternative forms of brain injury rehabilitation. Traditional rehabilitation includes services like occupational therapy, cognitive therapy, vocational rehabilitation, speech/language therapy, neuropsychological testing, neurobehavioral therapy and physical therapy.

In addition to traditional forms of rehabilitation, many brain injury patients benefit from alternative rehabilitation treatment. A few examples of alternative treatments are meditation and mindfulness training, craniosacral therapy, hyperbaric oxygen treatment and biofield therapies. The range of medical professionals that could be involved in brain injury rehabilitation is quite diverse. Different types of therapists, behavioral analysts, neurologists and neuropsychologists and speech/language pathologists all have unique skills and expertise to contribute to brain injury rehabilitation.

Source: Brainline.org, "Brain Injury Rehabilitation," accessed April 11, 2015

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