Can TBI patients fully recover from their injury?
What if it’s been years since the injury, is there still a chance for recovery?
These are great questions, and we want to try and answer them with a healthy balance of hope and realism.
While it is not possible for us to predict any particular outcome, we can say that the chances of making a full recovery after TBI are actually much higher than you might think!
There are a lot of misconceptions about TBI recovery that can make people believe they are stuck living with the effects of traumatic brain injury forever.
But the reality is, many TBI patients continue to make great strides in their recovery, even years after their injury.
That’s why in this article we want to set the record straight and show you what you can do to boost your chances of making a full recovery after a TBI.
Is There a Time Limit for Making a Full TBI Recovery?
Before we look at what you can do to help yourself fully recover from TBI, we need to address one of the more harmful myths about brain injury recovery out there: “the two-year myth.”
In the past, the common thought was that TBI recovery peaked around six months to two years post-injury.
Meaning after two years, whatever abilities you had recovered up to that point were all you were told you should expect to gain back.
But today, research shows that this is just not true, and many patients regain their abilities long after the two-year mark. Here is one TBI patient’s testimony:
“At 24 months after recovery, I was not yet reading or writing as I am today. I also still needed attendant care around the clock. Because of long-term follow up, I can now drive and live on my own…I would never have been able to make progress if my rehabilitation had stopped at 24 months.”
So even if it’s been several years after your accident, you should never give up hope of making a full recovery!
But how do you make a full recovery from TBI? We’ll tackle that next.
How to Fully Recover from TBI
While a lot of it depends on the severity of your injury, there are ways boost your chances of making a full recovery.
Here are some tips to help you achieve your fullest recovery possible from a TBI.
Take a Holistic Approach
Taking a holistic approach to brain injury rehab is one of the best ways to maximize recovery.
This just means making sure you treat every aspect of your brain injury.
So in addition to physical, occupational and speech therapy, you should include psychological care and cognitive training exercises which can help you improve your memory, problem solving and visual spatial skills.
You also need to continually stimulate your brain, so consider giving music and art therapy a try.
Music therapy in particular can lead to improvements in cognition, speech, and even muscle control.
Finally, following a healthy brain injury diet can also improve brain function and promote recovery, so don’t forget to give your brain the fuel it needs.
By far the best way to increase your chance of making a full recovery is to focus on activating neuroplasticity, the mechanism your brain uses to rewire nerve cells and form new neural pathways.
Neuroplasticity is the reason many TBI patients are able to improve and regain their abilities even years after a severe injury.
Neuroplasticity is triggered by repetition, which means if you want to regain an ability, you’re going to have to do lots of exercises.
Push Through “Plateaus”
Unfortunately, brain injury recovery is not always a straightforward journey.
It’s normal for recovery to progress quickly in the first few months after initial injury, and then to slow down.
There are even going to be setbacks and long stretches of time where you may not see any progress.
It can be very discouraging to experience these “plateaus” during recovery. You might think this means your recovery has peaked and you will not make any more improvements.
Do not give up! Plateaus are frustrating, but they are also temporary.
Eventually, with continued therapy, you will begin to see improvements again.
If the plateau is really discouraging you, one helpful technique to help you push through is to focus on a new area or activity.
For example, if you’ve been focusing on trying to improve your arm strength and you haven’t noticed any gains in a while, switch to your legs.
This can give you just the boost of motivation you need to keep up with your therapy.
Can You Fully Recover From TBI?
So can a TBI patient fully recover?
The short answer is yes. With enough exercise and determination, it is possible to make a full recovery from TBI.
But, as with everything in life, there is no guarantee.
What we can guarantee though is if you do nothing, you will not make any progress.
In the end, our best advice for anyone wanting to make a full recovery is this: keep trying, and never lose hope!
By sticking to your therapy program, and following the advice in this article, you will vastly improve your chances of recovering.
Brain injury recovery is a tough process, and can often feel like an uphill battle.
But hopefully this article has shown you the battle is worth it, and that recovery is always possible, even in severe cases.