How Physical Therapy Can Impact A Total Brain Injury

brain image

What is a TBI
A traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is usually a result from a violent blow or jolt to the head/body. A TBI can be classified as mild/mod/severe. No two brains are alike leading to varying degrees of symptoms and recovery. Symptoms may be present immediately or begin to show weeks later. A TBI can affect all aspects of life.


  • Mild
    < 30 min loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation
    MRI/CT scan may be normal
    Physical Symptoms – nausea/vomiting, fatigue, difficulty sleeping,
    increased sleep, dizziness/loss of balance
    Sensory Problems – blurred vision, ringing in ears (tinnitus), bad
    taste in mouth, decreased smell, light sensitivity
    Cognitive problems – HA, difficulty thinking, memory problems,
    attention deficits, mood swings, frustration
  • Moderate/Severe
    30 min loss of consciousness
    Memory loss
    Higher level cognitive function deficits  comatose states
    Physical Symptoms – decreased use of arms/legs
    Convulsion/seizures, clear fluid draining
    from nose/ears, weakness
    Cognitive Symptoms – confusion, agitation/combativeness, slurred
    speech, coma, abnormal language, loss of thinking ability, emotional problems

The top 3 causes for a TBI are car accidents, firearms, and falls. Young adults and the elderly are more susceptible. There are multiple mechanisms of injury
Open/closed head injury Deceleration injury
Chemical/toxic Hypoxia Tumor
Infections Stroke

Rehabilitation consist of a team approach
MD, nurse, neuropsychologist, PT, OT, Speech, family

Physical Therapy may consist of:
-Quality of movement
-Coordination of movement
-Pain management
-Need for assistive devices
-Increased sensation of sensory motor activities

Contact Aquacare Physical Therapy for more information if you or a loved one has suffered a TBI

Nicki Evans, DPT
Millville, DE

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