TBI is a major cause of disability and has become the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It can have different forms, but it always involves a brain insult . The most common form of TBI is mild TBI which results from a blow or a sudden jolt to the head that does not cause any skull fractures or intracranial bleed.

There are new exercises designed to help people recover from trauma-related changes in thinking, memory, attention span, problem-solving skills, or other cognitive abilities.

Cognitive rehabilitation is used to improve mental functions following damage to the brain caused by neurological disease or insults like TBI .

There are three well known types of cognitive rehabilitation:

  1. psychotherapy,
  2. strategy training
  3. compensatory training (for deficits in functioning on tasks involving general intellectual abilities).

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

The symptoms of traumatic brain injury can vary in severity and duration, but they are often long-term. Some common symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • inability to sleep well
  • memory loss
  • inability to concentrate well on tasks at hand, and
  • emotional instability

Traumatic brain injuries can range from mild concussions to severe head injuries that causes significant brain damage. Mild TBIs are more common than severe TBIs and usually have shorter lasting effects that are more easily managed.

Traumatic Brain Injury late Symptoms:

When a person suffers from a Traumatic Brain Injury, they might experience symptoms like trouble processing information, difficulty seeing and hearing, emotional changes, problems with balance and coordination etc.

Proper care, medication and exercising will decrease the severity of most of these symptoms over time, some cases fully recover, but it’s all down to each individual patient and their case.

Check out one such case study in the video below:

What is Traumatic Brain Injury ICD 10?

ICD 10 is a list of 10 codes representing different injuries in Traumatic Brain Injury:

S02.0, S02.1Fracture of skull
S02.8, S02.91Fracture of other specified skull and facial bones; unspecified fracture
S04.02, S04.03, S04.04 Injury of optic chiasm; injury of optic tract and pathways; injuries of visual cortex
S06Intracranial injury
S07.1Crushing injury of skull
T74.4Shaken infant syndrome

As you can see above, these codes indicate different injuries to the brain caused by an external force. Those external forces cause damage to the skull and brain tissue, resulting in one or more of the following:

  • Brain contusion
  • Diffuse axonal injury
  • Subdural hematoma
  • Epidural hematoma
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Cerebral edema (swelling)

Types of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. The severity of TBI is determined by assessing factors such as duration of loss of consciousness, post-traumatic amnesia, neurologic findings, and level of disability. The Glasgow Coma Scale is used to assess severity and types of TBI.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury:

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) is also known as concussion. It is the second most common injury in the US after sprain/strain. A brief disruption of brain function, MTBI can cause anything from temporary confusion to prolonged coma.

Basically, the brain is the control center for all body activities. It controls what we think, how we react, how we feel, how we act and who we are. The brain’s cerebral cortex contains billions of neurons that communicate with one another by sending electrical signals through axons and dendrites to other neurons via chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Axons may be damaged or interrupted during mild TBI; dendrites may also be damaged or interrupted. This disruption will hinder normal communication between axons and dendrites causing an interruption in brain taking charge of the whole body in the most damaging manner.

Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury:

The term “moderate traumatic brain injury” refers to a traumatic brain injury that is usually caused by a fall, collision or other accident, and does not usually result in death or severe long-term disability.

In contrast to mild traumatic brain injury, the person affected by moderate traumatic brain injury may have no outward physical signs, but can still have significant neurological dysfunction. These injuries can range from a temporary loss of consciousness to coma or death. It is important to note that the effects of moderate TBI vary widely depending on the patient’s age and other factors such as how severe the impact was.

Symptoms of moderate TBI may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in behavior

Severe Traumatic Injury:

Its the most dangerous and serious of the three types of TBI. In US severe Tbi is linked to thousands of deaths per year. For those who survive may lead to long term neurological deficits like unability to walk due to severe damage to balance and co-ordination center.

What is the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury? How long it take to Recover?

Every person with TBI has a unique and individual recovery time and experience, and treatment options will depend on the severity of the injury.

Treatment for TBI often begins in the Emergency Department, which is where patients are stabilized. The Emergency Department is also where doctors will perform a CT or MRI scan to determine the severity of the injury.

Many patients require specialized rehabilitation treatment after leaving the hospital. The “rehabilitation hospital” can provide care for many months, depending on how severe the injury was and how long it takes to recover from TBI . Re-learning basic skills like walking and talking can be challenging, but it is not impossible.

levels of Cognitive Rehabilitation:

There are four major steps to cognitive rehab program:

  1. education
  2. process training
  3. strategy training
  4. functional training ( includes activities of daily living i.e ADLS)

Cognitive Exercises for Traumatic Brain Injury:

List of Exercises helpful against Traumatic Brain Injury:

  1. Try new things
  2. Pay attention to your food
  3. Seek sensory experiences
  4. Focus on memorization
  5. Switch hands
  6. Draw maps
  7. Read out loud
  8. Challenge your motor skills
  9. practice writing journals
  10. Do simple math in your mind

Trying New Things

Trying new things is an effective way to recover traumatic brain injury. This can be achieved by different ways. Some people try to get new experiences while others try to do new activities.

You can start with simple things and build your way up. There is no need to do complex math or exploring a new city if you just recovered from the brain healing phase.

You can do tasks as simple as getting back to home with a different path, or anything that is not part of your routine. The more your brain indulges in new activities, the better it recovers.

Paying attention to the food

Food can help people recover from a brain insult . You can try eating different foods, and pay attention to the different tastes . It will be even better if you can recognize food from it’s taste and write down the names of ingredients in it.

Seeking Sensory Experiences

It is good for your brain to indulge more than one of your senses in something at a time. For example, if you go to the local farmers market, look, touch, and smell the food available. Pay attention to what everyone is talking about, and feel the environment. This way you can use all your senses at a time, and it’s good for your brain’s cognitive skills recovery.

Focusing on Memorization

As you work your way up, your brain will be ready for much more difficult tasks. Both short-term and long-term memorization at that stage will be good for your brain.

For example, make a list of items before going to a grocery store, but try to memorize some of the list. Don’t worry if you can’t remember right away — practice is good , it makes a man perfect.

Switching Hands

Just like how you would switch hands when throwing a ball, people with traumatic brain injuries are encouraged to switch hands in order to recover from their injury. This is true for both right-handed and left-handed people.

Try accomplishing different tasks with your non-dominant hand.

Drawing Maps

Drawing maps is an intervention to help survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) recover. It is a tool that can be used in post-acute rehabilitation for TBI survivors. The map drawing exercise asks the TBI survivor to draw out their surroundings, including rooms in their house or apartment, and then gradually ask them to identify different features of the map.

Reading out Loud

The use of reading as a therapy has been around since the 1800s. It’s been used to help people with dyslexia (learning disorder ) and those who have experienced traumatic brain injuries.

In your case, using reading skills can be a way to recover from a traumatic brain injury as reading improves the brain’s cognitive skills.

Challenging your Motor Skills

Challenging your motor skills helps brain recover in mysterious ways .

A lot of people who have had a traumatic brain injury will also have some sort of motor skill impairment as well. So, we need to figure out how we can work on those motor skills to help improve them and get back to near normal.


Journaling is a way for individuals who have experienced traumatic brain injuries to express their emotions and challenges. This can be done by remembering the event, thinking about the emotions that were felt, or just writing down random thoughts.

Journaling is an excellent way to express thoughts and feelings that are hard to put into words. It provides a safe space to share feelings without fear of judgement .

Journaling can be any form of self-expression that helps you process difficult thoughts and emotions whether it be through your handwriting, doodles, drawings, painting or collages.

When journaling, keep the most important thing in mind; “Self-discovery” – journaling is a way for us to explore our thoughts and feelings which can lead to new insights about self.

Doing Math in your Mind

When one is diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, they usually find it difficult to do mathematical calculations on the spot. Luckily, there are techniques that help such people in order to remember math problems.

One of these strategies involves doing math in your mind. You can do this by focusing on one or two digits at a time and then reciting the steps you need to take in order to get the answer. The person with TBI will also need to know what comes after each of these steps so they don’t forget where they are in their calculation.

How to motivate people recovering from traumatic brain injury?

The key to motivate someone who has suffered from a traumatic brain injury is to make them feel like they are still in control.

This is done by helping them with their self-esteem and self-efficacy. They need to be given choices in whatever they do; this will help them feel in charge of their life.

After the person recovers, they should be given new tasks that will challenge them and keep them motivated.

Final Word

One of the common problems people recovering from traumatic brain injuries face is motivation. These people can become very apathetic and uninterested in anything happening in their life. They may even experience a lack of emotional response to things that would normally evoke an emotional response in someone without a traumatic brain injury.

This motivational problem is caused by the decreased sensitivity to dopamine, which we know as a neurotransmitter that generates feelings of motivation and pleasure. The decreased sensitivity can be due to injury or illness, but it can also happen after recovering from the brain insult.

Categories: Fitness


Final year Physiotherapy student at Rehman Medical Institute (RMI), Pakistan. And former national athlete (represented kp district).


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