Alex Behar, MD, is board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, and sports medicine. Dr. Behar discusses how concussions are a complex injury and some tools that are used to understand the impact that a concussion has had on a patients brain function.
Concussions are a complex injury, and the reason for that is because the brain is made up of so many different aspects and has so many different functions and really, all of these functions within the brain are connected with the neurons. With a concussion, there is a traumatic event that ends up sometimes causing a little bit of disruption of those neurons, and the connection between two aspects of the brain that end up being affected. Now if one part of the brain is not working. Possibly another part of the brain is not working. So, for example, if somebody is having difficulty with their speech, they might also have difficulty with a smell, or they might have difficulty with vision or their cognition. As a physiatrist, we are able to tease out what these different components are and what we need to do to improve their function.
Concussions are a complex injury. Learn to determine the brain deficits.
Because concussions are a complex injury, there are some of the things we’ll do to tease out what specific functional deficits the patient will have, include neurocognitive testing, vestibular testing, balance, and gait. We also look to see if, things do not progress as we expect to will further investigate any brain injury with imaging. We also rely on our therapy colleagues, as you know, there are eyes and ears. We are able to really get feedback from them on what the patients are able to do in therapy, whether it be balance issues, coordination issues, cognition, and carryover from different sessions. Those are all things that we can treat with either medication, or we can treat with different types of therapies, or if we need to evaluate more, we can even do cognitive testing.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been called “the most complicated disease of the most complex organ of the body” and is an increasingly high-profile public health issue.NIH article
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