Last Updated on January 2, 2024 by Beth Skwarecki
Brain injuries can be horrific and life-altering events, even if seemingly mild from the outset. According to the UK Medical Research Council, there are around 900,000 accident and emergency admissions relating to head injuries each year – and, overall, around 1.3 million suffering long-term disabilities as a result of head injury.
These statistics illustrate not only the danger of head injury, but also its prevalence. A life-changing medical event is truly one slip or fall away for many of us, and many of us are ill-equipped for such an eventuality. In the event of suffering a brain injury, what do you need to know? What support might you need after discharge from medical care? And how might you go about receiving it?
Life Impacts of Brain Injury
First, it is important to understand the many different ways in which a brain injury can affect you, both in the short and long term. It is already common knowledge that relatively light head injuries (i.e.: concussions) can cause a short period of dizziness, brain-fog, and even memory issues. More serious brain injuries can invite a much wider range of symptoms, some of which can be permanent or otherwise life-altering.
Physical trauma to the brain can cause nerves to shear, or their protective sheathes to swell. These injuries can lead to long-lasting issues with nerve pain, mobility, and basic motor functions; the worst-case scenario might be paralysis, with fewer cases involving patients having to re-learn how to use their bodies. There are non-physical impacts, too, where cognitive and even emotional changes can result.
Forms of Support
Since there are many ways in which a brain injury can impact your life, there are also many ways in which a brain injury victim can receive support. There are obvious forms of support in the form of physiological and psychological care, both of which are essential for regaining independence after injury.
Physiological care would naturally include physiotherapy, to re-teach fundamental movements and re-make those nerve connections. Psychological care might simply be to address any mental health issues arising from adjustment to newly-disabled life, but could also be key to addressing cognitive changes positively.
Legal support is another key consideration, particularly where the brain injury may not have been your fault. Consulting with brain injury solicitors can give you options for civil recourse, and potentially open the door to compensation for damages or your new accessibility and care costs.
Speaking of which, financial support can be found through certain charities and organisations, such as Headway, should you be in a position where your condition has caused significant hardship. Finally, we come to pastoral support – which comes from friends and family. Being able to rely on loved ones is a crucial thing for improving long-term prospects, and any help should be welcomed.
The Non-Linear Journey
The journey to recovery from brain injury is non-linear, and for some, never-ending. There is no real ‘finish line’, particularly where the impacts of injury are profoundly life-altering. A major part of recovery is making peace with your pace, ensuring you are receiving all the support you can, and relaxing into your new journey.
Beth is Cloudmineinc’s senior health editor and a certified personal trainer. She has over 10 years experience as a science journalist and is the author of two books. She deadlifts over 315 lbs.