Brain injuries are life-changing events, but there’s good news: Researchers now know that the brain is capable of forming new neural connections at any point in your life, and this doesn’t change after you suffer a brain injury.
When damaged, your brain can compensate for the injury and adjust to new situations. However, studies show that this isn’t a passive process. To form new neural connections, your brain needs stimulation.
With physical therapy, you can help your brain build new neural connections and compensate for the damage caused by a brain injury. We asked our expert, Dr. David Sudderth, why physical therapy is so widely used to recover from brain injuries. Read on to learn all about the benefits of physical therapy after a brain injury.
Increases your flexibility and strength
If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury, you’ve probably been immobilized in bed for quite a while. Your muscles atrophy when you don’t use them. So when you have less muscle and a poorer ability to coordinate your movements, it’s harder to perform everyday activities at work or at home.
A physical therapist can help you improve your flexibility and increase your muscle mass via advanced and personalized exercises. They may also suggest hot packs and ice compresses to relieve pain and increase flexibility in your tissues.
Reduces your chances of developing bedsores
Bedsores, or pressure sores, are painful and hard to treat, but they’re often preventable. They appear when there’s too much pressure on certain parts of your body, which can occur if you’re immobilized in a wheelchair or lying in bed for prolonged periods without being able to switch positions.
Patients who go through physical therapy are more likely to prevent these wounds after they get strong enough to switch positions and relieve the pressure on their skin and tissues.
Teaches you how to regain your independence
After a brain injury, one of the hardest aspects to cope with is having to rely on others for simple, everyday tasks. Although physical therapy can’t completely erase the damage done to your brain, a physical therapist can help you maximize your recovery potential.
This may include learning how to walk again, learning how to maintain your balance when switching from one surface to another, and fixing your gait.
It’s never too late to start working on your recovery
Research shows that even decades after an injury you can still benefit from training your brain to form new neural connections. As the Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
Contact our office in Fort Myers, Florida, today to schedule an appointment for expert advice and physical therapy.