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Common causes of brain injury and 6 tips to prevent it

A brain injury is any injury to the brain that affects a person physically, emotionally or behaviorally. Brain injuries can happen at birth or may arise later from trauma or an illness. Depending on the cause, a brain injury is called either traumatic or non-traumatic.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries do not always include an open head wound or skull fracture. Loss of consciousness may not occur, either, but the one thing that all traumatic brain injuries have in common is contact. These are the most common causes of a traumatic brain injury (TBI):

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Violence or gunshot wound
  • Military attack or bomb blast

Causes of Non-Traumatic Brain Injury

A non-traumatic brain injury may also be called an acquired brain injury (ABI). This type of brain injury is the result of an illness or condition within the body, not of a blow to the head. These are the most common causes of a non-traumatic brain injury:

  • Stroke (leading cause)
  • Lack of oxygen (hypoxia)
  • Tumors
  • Other illness such as cancer
  • Brain infections or inflammation
  • Other infections

Symptoms of a Brain Injury

According to NeuLife brain injury rehabilitation center, common symptoms of traumatic or non-traumatic brain injury include:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty coordinating balance
  • Blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Other milder vision problems
  • Seizures
  • Changes in sensory perception
  • Trouble speaking and swallowing
  • Personality changes
  • Difficulty forming sentences or choosing vocabulary
  • Confusion
  • Trouble communicating
  • Difficulty with reasoning, focus and logic
  • Memory impairments

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

NeuLife brain injury rehabilitation center advises you to follow these steps to reduce the risk of brain injury

1. Wear your seat belt

NeuLife brain injury rehabilitation center specialists report that most of the clients they treat were injured in motor-vehicle accidents. Seat belts reduce serious injuries and deaths from crashes by about 50%.

  • Always wear a seat belt each time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
  • A child should sit in the back seat of the car and be buckled in with a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt (according to the child’s height, weight and age).

2. Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Alcohol and drugs, including prescription medications, can impair a person’s ability to drive. Alcohol-impaired drivers are involved in about one in three crash deaths, resulting in nearly 11,000 deaths annually.

3. Don’t text or use a cell phone while driving

Cell phones are the No. 1 source of driver distraction. Using a mobile device while driving is similar to having a blood alcohol level at the legal limit of 0.08, according to research from the University of Utah. Statistics show that drivers who talk on cell phones or text while driving are four times as likely to get into a car crash serious enough to injure themselves.

4. Wear a helmet

Adults and children should wear a helmet and protective gear when participating in sports and recreational activities. Always wear a helmet when:

  • Riding a bike, motorcycle or skateboard
  • Skiing, snowboarding or using inline skates
  • Playing a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey or boxing
  • Playing baseball or softball

5. Prevent falls at home

The chances of falling can be reduced in older adults by doing the following:

  • Installing handrails in bathrooms and on both sides of a stairway
  • Removing tripping hazards, such as throw rugs and clutter
  • Improving lighting throughout the house or apartment
  • Maintaining regular activity and mobility in older adults
  • Using non-slip mats in the bathtub or on the shower floor
  • Getting regular eye exams

6. Prevent head injuries in children

Head injuries can be prevented in children by:

  • Installing window guards to prevent falls out of open windows
  • Using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs
  • Keeping stairs clear of clutter
  • Using playgrounds with shock-absorbing materials on the ground

Want to learn more about NeuLife brain injury rehabilitation center?

NeuLife is a Residential Post-Acute Rehab facility specializing in brain injury rehabilitation. Its program includes physical medicine and rehabilitation medical management, psychiatric and neuropsychological services, physical, occupational, speech and cognitive therapies, behavioral, dietary and vocational counseling, and more.  Beautifully situated on 43 acres in Mount Dora, Florida, its inpatient rehab facility comprises over 60,000 square feet and contains 54 private rooms or suites. If you would like more information about NeuLife Rehabilitation Services, please contact us.

Depression after a brain injury: basic information you and your family need to know

Research has found that patients with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are three times more likely to experience depression than those who have not had one. For every 10 people who do not have a brain injury, approximately one person will have depression. For every 10 people who do, approximately three people will. Both the patient and their caregivers must educate themselves to recognize the signs and lower the chance of anxiety. At NeuLife, we help prepare patients and family for a successful return to normal life by guiding them through the whole process of brain injury rehabilitation.  

Unfortunately, researchers have not been able to determine specific factors that cause depression after brain injuries or when it usually starts. Some people experience depression right after their injury, while others develop it a year or more later. Regardless of when your brain injury occurred, it is important to tell your doctor about any depressive symptoms. The doctors and health care professionals at NeuLife brain injury clinic will then ask you a series of questions or have you fill out a questionnaire or form to aid in diagnosing you.

Symptoms of depression

These are some symptoms of early depression:

  • Feeling down, depressed, or sad most of the day or even longer
  • Changes in your sleeping habits, such as sleeping poorly or sleeping more than usual
  • Losing interest in everyday activities like your favorite hobbies, time with family members, or going out with friends
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco
  • Abnormal decrease or increase in appetite
  • Strong feelings of sadness, helplessness and hopelessness
  • Thoughts of suicide

Often, people suffering from depression do not notice their own symptoms, leaving it up to caregivers and close friends or family to be attentive to mood or behavioral changes.

How is depression treated?

Depression is usually treated two ways:

  • Personal counseling with a health care professional, called psychotherapy. You and a trained psychologist or psychiatrist will talk about your symptoms and how to develop ways to deal with them.
  • Antidepressants prescribed by a doctor. It is important that you do not start taking them without a consultation with a specialist.

However, the most important factor in treating depression as part of a brain injury rehabilitation program is the support of family members and friends. A person suffering from depression often feels worthless and loses their sense of belonging. Those close to the patient should make an extra effort to show them how much they matter by keeping lines of communication open and involving them in social activities.

About NeuLife

NeuLife is a Residential Post-Acute Rehab facility specializing in brain injury rehabilitation. Its program includes physical medicine and rehabilitation medical management, psychiatric and neuropsychological services, physical, occupational, speech and cognitive therapies, behavioral, dietary and vocational counseling, and more. Beautifully situated on 43 acres in Mount Dora, Florida, its inpatient rehab facility comprises over 60,000 square feet and contains 54 private rooms or suites. If you would like more information about NeuLife Rehabilitation Services, please contact us.

Most common neurological disorders that require lifelong care: Part 1

Many neurological disorders cannot be cured, but rehabilitation plays a key role in the treatment of symptoms and the restoration of daily functioning. NeuLife provides individualized therapy to help patients experiencing neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) achieve the highest quality of life.

What is the nervous system?

The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates the body’s activities. The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord while the peripheral nervous system includes all other neural elements, including the peripheral and autonomic nerves.

In addition to the brain and spinal cord, the principal organs of the nervous system include the eyes, ears, sensory organs of taste, sensory organs of smell, sensory receptors located in the skin, joints, muscles, and other parts of the body.

Neurological disorders and neurological rehabilitation at a residential rehabilitation NeuLife, Mount Dora, Florida

Disorders of the nervous system may involve the following:

  •       Vascular disorders, such as stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), subarachnoid hemorrhage, subdural hemorrhage and hematoma, and extradural hemorrhage
  •       Infections, such as meningitis, encephalitis, polio, and epidural abscess
  •       Structural disorders, such as a brain or spinal cord injury, Bell’s palsy, cervical spondylosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, brain or spinal cord tumors, peripheral neuropathy
  •       Functional disorders, such as headache, epilepsy, dizziness, and neuralgia
  •       Degenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s chorea, and Alzheimer’s disease

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Cerebral means connection to the brain and Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. CP is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain that affects a person’s ability to control their muscles. It is considered the most common motor disability in childhood.

The symptoms of CP vary. A person with severe CP might not be able to walk at all or may need to use special equipment to walk; either way, lifelong care is needed. A person with mild CP, on the other hand, might walk a little awkwardly, but might not need any special help. CP does not get worse over time, though the exact symptoms can change. Many people suffering from CP also have related conditions such as intellectual disabilities, seizures, and problems with speech.

Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but constant care often improves a person’s condition. What we offer at residential rehabilitation at NeuLife is early intervention, supportive treatments, medications, and surgery, which can help many individuals improve their muscle control. Treatment may include physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy, as well as medicines to control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and relieve the pain. Surgery can correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles. Braces and other orthotic devices, wheelchairs and rolling walkers, and communication aids can all be supportive equipment in the fight with CP.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, refers to a group of progressive, neurological diseases that cause dysfunction in the nerves that control muscle movement. Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist, received his diagnosis of ALS at the age of 21. It attacks the nerve cells known as motor neurons that are used in voluntary muscle actions. In ALS, the motor neurons degenerate or die and stop sending messages to the muscles. Unable to function, the muscles gradually weaken, start to twitch (called fasciculations), and waste away (atrophy). Eventually, the brain loses its ability to initiate and control voluntary movements.

Early symptoms of ALS usually include muscle weakness or stiffness. Gradually all muscles under voluntary control are affected, and individuals lose strength along with the ability to speak, eat, move, and even breathe. External support becomes inevitable.

ALS is one of the conditions we treat using neurological rehabilitation at our residential rehabilitation NeuLife, Mount Dora. There is currently no cure, so the treatment aims to relieve symptoms, provide social and emotional support, and possibly slow disease progression. Our approach includes: physical therapy, occupational therapy, breathing therapy, speech therapy and nutrition support.

Parkinson’s disease (PD)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. It happens when nerve cells in the brain don’t produce enough of a brain chemical called dopamine. Sometimes it is genetic, but most cases do not seem to run in families. Exposure to chemicals in the environment might play a role. Symptoms begin gradually, often on one side of the body; later, they affect both sides. Symptoms include:

  •       Trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  •       Stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk
  •       Slowness of movement
  •       Poor balance and coordination

As symptoms get worse, people with the disease may have trouble walking, talking, or doing simple tasks. They may also have depression and trouble sleeping, chewing, swallowing, or speaking.

There is no lab test for PD, so it can be difficult to diagnose. Doctors use a patient’s medical history and a neurological examination to diagnose it.

PD usually begins around age 60, but it can start earlier. It is more common in men than in women. Unfortunately, there is no cure for PD. Surgery and deep brain stimulation (DBS) can help in severe cases, but they are considered extreme treatments. Therefore, it is important to accept the gradual loss of independence and seek support from family or support groups. Being well informed about the disease can reduce anxiety about what lies ahead.

About NeuLife

NeuLife is a Residential Post-Acute Rehab facility specializing in neurological disorder rehabilitation. Its program includes physical medicine and rehabilitation medical management, psychiatric and neuropsychological services, physical, occupational, speech and cognitive therapies, behavioral, dietary and vocational counseling, and more.  Beautifully situated on 43 acres in Mount Dora, Florida, its inpatient rehab facility comprises over 60,000 square feet and contains 54 private rooms or suites. If you would like more information about NeuLife Rehabilitation Services, please contact us.

Amputee rehabilitation at NeuLife Rehab

If you had a chance to read our last article on Post Acute Rehabilitation Programs at NeuLife Rehab (Part 1), you know that amputee rehabilitation is one of the post acute rehabilitation programs we offer in our facility. Similar to our brain injury rehabilitation program, amputee rehab is dedicated to patients who have suffered a traumatic injury, e.g., as the result of an accident. It’s not an uncommon occurrence – according to a recent study, approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States each year. Thanks to our program, people who have lost a limb don’t need to worry about not being able to work or do other things they did before the accident. Our Community Integrated Rehabilitation allows patients to practice real-world skills in a safe and supportive environment to facilitate a successful return to home and work and/or school. Our professional team works relentlessly to make sure patients regain their strength and adjust to their new reality in a safe and comfortable environment. If you’re looking for a facility with great rehab programs focused on helping patients after amputation, NeuLife Rehab is a great choice.

NeuLife Rehabilitation – the best choice for a brain injury rehabilitation program

When you or your loved one suffers a catastrophic injury, it is a physically and emotionally challenging experience. During this difficult time, you need the best possible quality of care as well as the highest-standard professional assistance. NeuLife Rehabilitation is a large residential brain injury rehab in Florida, one of the largest centers in the region, specializing in rehabilitation for a wide range of catastrophic injuries. We are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in Brain Injury Specialty Programs and Residential Rehabilitation. Our professional staff make sure that you and your family are being taken care of by the best specialists in the area. We encourage you to find out more about our facility and our programs. If you have any questions at all, we are here for you – call us or make a referral using our easy to navigate and convenient online form. We are looking forward to helping you achieve your goals.

Post Acute Rehabilitation Programs at NeuLife Rehab (Part 1)

Post-acute rehabilitation is the time during which the patient who suffered a traumatic injury is participating in various kinds of rehab programs that aim at bringing him or her as close to their pre-injury state as possible. ‘Post Acute’ indicates that the patient was previously at an acute care facility, such as a hospital or ambulatory care facility. Why is post acute rehab so important? It is an essential part of the healing process, a crucial component that enables the patients to get back to their life before the injury. At NeuLife, we provide a wide range of residential rehab programs, depending on the patient’s needs. Our goal is to restore the patient’s mobility and independence the greatest deal possible. Our facility is equipped to help patients with various types of injuries, whether they are brain and spine injuries, strokes and other neurological disorders. In this article, we will describe 3 of the many rehabilitation programs available at our Florida rehabilitation facility.

1. Brain Injury Rehabilitation

Over 2.4 million people, both children and adults, sustain a traumatic brain injury every year, according to the Brain Injury Association of America. Moreover, the repercussions of a brain injury vary depending on the case, but they typically include difficulty with memory, language, thinking and judgment (cognitive impairment). That’s why post acute rehab is so important. Our brain injury rehab programs help patients regain their basic abilities, and they can significantly improve the patient’s state. We strongly believe in an individualized approach to care because we know each patient is unique. Our care plans are customized to fit the patient’s specific needs. The brain injury rehabilitation program at NeuLife offers a full continuum of services for patients who have experienced an Acquired brain injury (ABI) – traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by blows, jolts or injuries to the head (concussion) and Non-traumatic caused by hypoxia, illness, infection, stroke. The comprehensive program at our brain injury clinic encompasses the unique needs of each patient and family. The team focuses on maximizing abilities, providing education, increasing mobility and preventing complications.

2. Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

Facing the consequences of a spinal cord injury is very challenging. Depending on its severity, it can significantly change the patient’s life. Limited mobility and ability are just some of the things the patient has to face. At our Florida rehabilitation facility, we understand how difficult it can be to deal, both physically and psychologically, with the repercussions of a spinal cord injury; that’s why we focus all of our efforts on addressing all the needs of every patient and family and maximizing the patient’s abilities, preventing complications, providing education, and increasing mobility in all environments. Our clinical residential rehabilitation team has over 200 years of combined experience! Our goal is to prepare patients for a successful transition home, focusing on enabling them to be able to take care of themselves as much as they can. Maximizing independence by improving strength, functioning, and mobility is our number one priority. This multi-faceted approach maximizes recovery and improves the overall quality of life.

3. Amputee rehabilitation

Losing a limb as a result of an accident/trauma is not a rare occurrence in the United States. According to recent study, approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States each year. Again, facing a new reality is this case a big challenge, both physically and psychologically. To make the transition easier, we provide comprehensive amputee rehabilitation services to help patients achieve optimal independence and quality of life. Depending on the case and the patient’s specific needs, our amputee rehab programs may include strength building skills, therapies for flexibility, mobility & endurance, proper wound care & limb management, pain management, ongoing support, education & training, and counseling services. Data indicates that all amputee patients at NeuLife have been discharged home and achieved an average of 83% functional improvement from admission to discharge. We work with patients from different backgrounds, including many veterans who lost a limb due to combat injuries. We proudly accept referrals from the Veterans Administration (VA). In addition to VA Choice, we also accept TRICARE.

Residential Rehab in Florida – About NeuLife Rehab

After catastrophic injuries, patients have to face the physical and emotional impact on their lives. We strive to make the transition as painless and as comfortable as possible, for both the patients and their families. We understand the importance of privacy and support in this challenging time, and we make it our number one priority to respect our patients’ needs. Our customized programs are highly effective and have helped hundreds of patients get back to their normal life with newly re-gained independence. Our residential rehab programs include clinical evaluations, medical care and therapeutic activities that are customized to meet the goals, needs and abilities of each patient. By leveraging a variety of rehabilitation services, we are able to create an integrated approach focused on helping each patient recover skills associated with activities of daily living (ADLs) using compensatory strategies and mobility aids to achieve a seamless transition into the community. Every component of the treatment plan is customized to the individual patient for guaranteed results.

If you have any questions at all, or would like to schedule a tour around our modern, patient-friendly facility, please do contact us – we are looking forward to seeing you!