Brain Injury

Without question, a brain injury can change your life instantly. It may affect how you think, how you feel, how you behave, how you move, and what you remember. But in some cases, our therapies can help manage the tight, stiff muscles or severe spasticity that may result from brain injury.

Definition of Acquired Brain Injury

An acquired brain injury is an injury caused to the brain since birth.1

One example of acquired brain injury is traumatic brain injury.

Definition of Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury is defined as a blow to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain.2

Traumatic brain injury can range from levels that are mild (a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to severe (an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury).2

Causes of Acquired Brain Injury

Causes of acquired brain injury can include, but are not limited to:1

  • Stroke
  • Brain tumor
  • Encephalitis
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Traumatic brain injury

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

The leading causes of brain injury are:3

  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Being struck or striking a hard object
  • Assaults
  • Blasts (a leading cause of traumatic brain injury for active duty military personnel in war zones)

About Spasticity due to Brain Injury

Spasticity is caused by damage or injury to the part of the central nervous system (the brain or spinal cord) that controls voluntary movement. This damage disrupts important signals between the nervous system and muscles, creating an imbalance that increases muscle activity or spasms.

Spasticity can make one’s movement, posture, and balance difficult. It may affect your ability to move one or more of your limbs, or to move one side of your body. Sometimes spasticity is so severe that it gets in the way of daily activities, sleep patterns, and caregiving. In certain situations, this loss of control can be dangerous for the individual.

References

  1. Other Forms of Acquired Brain Injury. Headway. https://www.headway.org.uk/Other-forms-of-acquired-brain-injury.aspx.
  2. Traumatic Brain Injury. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury.
  3. What Are the Leading Causes of TBI? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury/causes.html.

Treatment Options for Severe Spasticity

People with spasticity can treat their condition in many ways: rehabilitation, medication, injection therapy, even surgery. There is also Medtronic ITB TherapySM (Intrathecal Baclofen Therapy), also called the baclofen pump, which may be helpful for reducing your severe spasticity.

There is currently no cure for severe spasticity. However, there are a number of treatment options available for managing your symptoms. They include:

Rehabilitation Therapy

Rehabilitation therapy usually takes place in a clinic, a hospital, or at home. It can include any combination of physical, occupational, or speech therapy.

Oral Medication

Oral medications may help some people treat the symptoms of spasticity.

Neurosurgeries

Neurodestructive surgical procedures include selective dorsal rhizotomy, in which the dorsal (sensory) nerve roots are severed.

Injection Therapy

Injection therapy is usually intended for specific muscle groups (for example, one hand, one foot, one shoulder).

Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic surgeries include soft tissue procedures like tendon transfers and osteotomies (cutting a bone to change its alignment).

ITB Therapy (Baclofen Pump)

ITB Therapy, also called the baclofen pump, is an adjustable, reversible treatment for severe spasticity. A surgically placed pump and catheter deliver liquid baclofen (Lioresal® Intrathecal) directly to the fluid around the spinal cord, where it’s needed most.

PBNeuroRehab’s Spasticity Clinic offers the above treatments for severe spasticity.