Posts Tagged ‘cutting edge’

Brain Injury Recovery Stages?

It came to light on the support group I moderate that “organic healing” is what happens until 1-2 years post brain trauma. What is “organic healing?” It’s the healing of the damaged pathways, or the organic damage.

Combine this with what we know about the brain’s elasticity, that it is very capable of developing new pathways, even around damaged areas, and you have two (at least) stages of brain injury recovery.

This understanding explains a lot of the things that have puzzled both doctors and folks with brain injury, who say things that make no sense to the other. Lets explore some of those puzzles.

Improve, Then Stop
Some brain bludgeoned folks improve for 12-24 months, then stop. For whatever reason their brains do not switch into the new recovery mode of creating new pathways.

Are there ways to help the brain make this switch? No idea. I do know that those who improve significantly over time are those who enter life as fully as possible, seeking ways to do things despite the challenges.

Perhaps one reason for the stall in recovery is a form of depression, either directly or indirectly from the TBI. Depending on the person, organic damage may be involved. Help the person through the depression and once again have motivation to enter life, perhaps the brain can make the switch?

Late Bloomers
Some brain injured people do not appear to recover much until the 1-2 year mark. Then, suddenly, they begin experiencing improvements. Why?

Their brains try, for the first 12-24 months, to heal the existing pathways. BUt the damage is too extensive, so no real improvements happen. But, when the body naturally switches strategies, and focuses on developing new pathways, BOOM. Sudden improvements.

Doctor’s Magic Window of Recovery Explained
I, along with many other brain bludgeoned folk, have been very puzzled by doctors who say the brain stops healing after 12-24 months (pick your timeline).

Clearly that is not true. I’m nearly 8 years post last concussion and I continue to experience baby steps of recovery.

But it actually may be true. The healing stops, but the recovery continues in a new way.

Need to Study What Causes the Switch
If it has not been done already, there seems a great need to scientifically study the switch from healing old pathways to creating new ones. What triggers the switch? Is there a reason it happens sooner or later in different people? When it does not happen, how can we trigger it? Are there different nutritional needs the brain has in each stage?

I’ve said before that brain injury recovery science would improve dramatically if scientists dialogued with us brain bludgeoned folks. Perhaps this can be a strong example of how we can help direct future developments?

What is your or your loved one’s experience? Does this theory of multiple stages of brain recovery help make sense of what you’ve experienced? Use the comment section to share your story…

Deacon Patrick’s Round the World Progress

Deacon Patrick's Round the World Progress