Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as intracranial injury or head injury, occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain. Brain injury can be classified based on severity, mechanism of injury, and/or other features. The term “head injury” usually refers to TBI but is a broader term because it can encompass damage to structures in addition to the brain, such as the scalp and skull.
TBI is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, especially in children and young adults. Males sustain TBI more frequently than do females. Causes include falls, vehicle accidents,toxic exposure and violence. Brain trauma can occur as a result of a focal impact to the head, by a sudden acceleration/deceleration within the cranium (i.e. whiplash)or by a combination of both movement and sudden impact.
In addition to the damage caused at the moment of impact, brain trauma causes secondary injury – a host of events that take place in the days following the injury. These secondary injuries contribute substantially to the initial damage.
Brain injury can cause a variety of physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral effects. Depending upon the severity of injury, outcomes may range from complete recovery to permanent disability or death. Interventions required to treat brain injury may be minimal or may include medications, various therapies for rehabilitation and possibly surgery.
It is common for patients with diagnosed TBI to be told that after a year-and-a half they have obtained about all of the improvement that they can expect, and that, therefore, they must simply adjust to the current state of affairs. There is, however, another rehabilitation strategy that yields tremendous results in treating brain injury and its associated effects. This therapy is EEG Neurofeedback.
EEG Neurofeedback has been used to treat and proven to improve several problems not uncommonly seen in patients with TBI. These include:
behavioral or mood changes
problems with attention, concentration, or thinking
impulse and emotional control
insomnia and/or changes in sleep patterns
tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
fatigue or lethargy
muscle weakness, tremors
numbness in the limbs
loss of coordination
People with TBI often lead a compromised existence some describe as a “gray room” where all is “cloudy and confused,” or worst of all they are accused of making it up – “It is all in your head.” This is not the outcome of a bad attitude. It is because an extremely delicate, intricate neurological environment has been disturbed and it operates too fast or too slowly, has impaired communication with its other parts, or all of the neuronal signals fire at once, creating a babble of voices in the brain.
Neurofeedback seems tailor-made to deal with these problems. It often produces significant improvements years after the initial injury. In fact, it works like a catalyst, helping all other forms of treatment work better.
Written in Collaboration
Dr. Jason Porter, NMD
M. Nicole Parker, R.N., Neurofeedback Specialist