Head injury is common and can occur when a person hits their head during a fall or accident. Head injury can be very serious if it damages the brain or affects brain activity. It includes any injury or trauma caused to the scalp, brain, skull, or spinal cord. This injury can be minor or severe depending on the damage caused to the brain or its tissues. For example; the open injury damages the brain, whereas, in the case of closed head injury, the skull may not be damaged, but the brain and the other tissues within the skull are affected.
What is a traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
The severe blow on the head causing serious damage to the brain leads to traumatic brain injury (TBI). It affects the brain’s normal functioning and can lead to loss of consciousness, loss of memory, reduced cognitive functioning, altered mental state, etc. The severity of TBI depends on the extent of damage caused. It may lead to extended unconsciousness, coma, or death in severe cases.
How does TBI affect the body and brain in the short-term and long-term?
In traumatic brain injury (TBI), different areas of the brain may get affected. Other areas of the brain are responsible for various body functions. The brain is classified into different lobes having distinct functions. The occipital lobe is located at the back of the brain and is responsible for vision and recognition. On the other hand, the temporal lobe plays a vital role in memory, reasoning, language, learning, emotions, etc. The frontal lobe is responsible for planning, reasoning, speech, movement, emotions, etc. Finally, the parietal lobe helps in providing proper senses and nerve impulses. Damage to any of these areas can lead to loss of function. The severity of the damage defines the loss of function as short-term or long-term.
What is “physical activity”?
TBI can affect any of the brain areas that can affect the brain’s functioning, thus affecting the ability of the patient to perform physical activities. TBI affects and restricts normal physical activities like walking, sitting, standing, handling things, eating on your own, etc. Physical activities may help overcome several such challenges. Physical activities include all the activities performed by a person to keep their body active. These activities include walking, wheeling, cycling, sports, playing, recreational activities, etc. All these activities require the coordination of different body functions like vision, hand and leg movements, thinking, perception, etc. The various coordinated movements make these activities easier.
The importance of physical activity for TBI survivors
Patients with TBI can have altered or affected physical activities. These patients need care and guidance for regaining their physical strength to perform their regular activities efficiently. This helps the patients gain their confidence after the TBI and improves their condition faster. Due to TBI, the patient may have to compromise on certain activities due to the damage caused by the injury.
Living with the effects of TBI is challenging, and the patient needs to overcome various barriers. Carrying out physical activities or exercise will help the patients strengthen their muscles and gain back the strength to perform everyday activities. Physical fitness also improves memory, learning, and thinking capabilities.
Reasons you might not be physically active after TBI and ways to overcome them
There might be different reasons that could make the patient physically inactive after the TBI. For example, if the patient has decreased ability to use hands or legs or reduced mobility, this will affect the physical activities. Also, if the brain area responsible for handling the coordination of movements is affected then, the patient will have reduced or affected physical activity. In this case, the patient should undergo therapy for physical training. In such a therapy, the trainer will help the patient perform the physical activities to regain their function and strength. The trainer starts with easier physical activities and then progresses to advanced levels.
Tips for staying physically fit after a TBI
The patients recovering from the TBI should have well-planned physical activities to positively impact their muscular response, endurance, flexibility, etc. Cardio exercises will help TBI patients keep their hearts strong, maintain stable blood glucose levels and blood pressure levels, and reduce the inflammation caused by TBI.
Staying physically fit helps the patient to gain self-confidence and self-assurance. This also makes them self-dependent. Physical fitness allows the TBI patient to fight depression and insomnia and positively approach life.
Traumatic brain injury effects may be severe and can leave the patient with specific disabilities that may last for a lifetime. hysical activities help the patients to reduce their fatigue, improve their cognitive ability, gain muscle strength, and enhance their self-confidence to live life independently by adjusting to the disabilities caused by the TBI.