They say it takes a village to raise a child. In a way, it takes a village to recover from a brain injury too! Recovery is truly a team effort. Input from your loved ones, open interaction, and communication with other members of your treatment team and your own commitment to get better are key to rehabilitation. We also understand that, just as every brain is different, so is every patient.
We really do get to know you, what motivates you, how you learn best and what skills you most need and want to regain to feel like yourself again. At a time in life when it might feel like you have little control, we want you to be able to begin to take the wheel on your recovery journey.
There are many causes of brain injury, each impacting our lives and overall health in different ways. An acquired brain injury is an umbrella term for an injury that occurs to a healthy, normally developing brain. An acquired brain injury consists of two different subcategories, traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by an external force and alters how the brain functions. A TBI can be caused by impact (car accidents, falls, physical abuse, sports injuries, etc.), or by inertial forces (for instance, whiplash so severe that the brain moves within the skull).
A non-traumatic brain injury means the damage can’t be linked to any external physical force to the head. A non-traumatic brain injury is a bit of an oxymoron. It is technically classified as such when the damage to the brain is caused by an illness or condition within the body, as opposed to a blow or injury to the head. But even if “non-traumatic” is part of its title, the suffering caused by loss of our "normal" functions, communication problems, physical after-effects and other losses often cause a very real trauma. Strokes, brain tumors, and encephalitis are all examples of a non-traumatic brain injury. More specifically, other possible causes include:
Anoxic Brain Injury: Blood flow is blocked or slowed to the brain due to stroke, shock, or heart attack. An anoxic brain injury can also occur if blood flow is normal, but the blood doesn’t have enough oxygen, which can happen with lung disease, carbon-monoxide poisoning or events which prevent you from breathing properly.
Encephalitis: Basically encephalitis is a swelling of the brain, often due to infection. As the tissue swells, nerve cells may be destroyed, resulting in brain injury. Many different factors can cause this swelling, ranging from viruses (West Nile virus, measles), bacteria, fungi or pathogens, to the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacking brain tissue. Encephalitis may result in complications with memory, speech, processing speed, hearing, muscle coordination and personality changes.
Ischemic Stroke: A clotting stroke, occurs when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is blocked. This most commonly occurring stroke just means blood can't get to areas of the brain that it needs to and starves an area of the brain. Remember your stroke warning signs and get help immediately, every second saves brain cells and lives.
Hemorrhagic Stroke: A brain bleed is just as it sounds – the result of a weakened vessel that ruptures or bleeds. During a hemorrhagic stroke, as the blood pools in a specific spot, it places pressure on the brain. Depending on where the damage occurs, a person’s speech, language and comprehension centers can be impaired, although speech therapy can go a long way toward restoring some of those skills.