What is a traumatic brain injury/head injury?
A traumatic head or brain injury (TBI) in children occurs when the head is hit by something or shaken violently. A traumatic brain injury is caused by various mechanisms, such as falls or motor vehicle collisions. A TBI affects how a child acts, moves, thinks and develops. The signs and symptoms of a TBI can be very different depending on which part of the brain has been injured and how severely. Children who suffer severe brain injuries can experience lasting problems with everyday function.
Physiotherapy from a neurological physiotherapist is very important following a head injury. Physiotherapists will help your child with their physical abilities and development.
Symptoms of a TBI
Symptoms of a TBI will depend on what area of the brain that has been affected and the extent of the damage. Symptoms will vary from child to child but may include:
- Muscle weakness of one or both sides of the body
- Tonal changes - increased muscle tone (Hypertonia) and or decreased muscle tone (Hypotonia)
- Reduced sensation
- Slowing or loss of developmental milestone (i.e. crawling, sitting, walking at the right time)
- Difficulty with balance and coordination in sitting and standing
- Difficulty speaking
Physiotherapy following TBI
At Physio.co.uk, our neurological paediatric physiotherapists will maximise your childs physical ability and help your child learn new skills or relearn old ones, so that they reach their maximum physical potential. Children with severe head injuries may require assistance to move and follow instructions. Physiotherapy will therefore be centred on facilitating movement, improving positioning and increasing muscle activity to help them reach their developmental milestones and improve their quality of life.
At Physio.co.uk your physiotherapist will work with you and your child in order to help them achieve as full a recovery as possible. It is important to start physiotherapy soon after leaving hospital for the best possible recovery as the brain as adaptable and significant improvement can be made. Our paediatric physiotherapists at Physio.co.uk commonly see individuals that have been discharged from the NHS and have gone on to make significant improvements. Physiotherapy treatment will be centred on:
- Relieving muscle stiffness
- Increasing head and trunk control
- Enhancing awareness of body position
- Improving ability to roll, sit and stand
- Increasing muscle strength
- Promoting normal movement in the arms, trunk and legs
- Improving balance
- Improving posture
- Relieving pain
- Promoting independence with functional tasks
- Enhancing quality of life
An initial assessment with one of our paediatric physiotherapists will look at any restrictions in your child’s movement, tone and balance in order to develop a structured rehabilitation programme tailored to their needs which may involve:
- Activities using familiar toys and pictures to encourage your child to move in a normal pattern.
- Stretching and strengthening program to relieve stiffness, increase muscle strength and help your child move more easily.
- Advice about posturein lying, sitting and standing
- Balance training focusing on sitting and standing balance to help maximise mobility
- Breathing exercises and coughing if they have a bad chest.
- Advice about walking aids and specialist seating if necessary.
- Manual handling training sessions for carers and families which will include therapeutic handling and positioning techniques to help maintain a clear chest, increase comfort and promote postural alignment. The therapeutic use of hoist and slings can also be taught.
If you would like more information on how physiotherapy can help your child, or to book an appointment please call 0330 088 7800, or book online today!