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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



Brain training you can do at home after a brain injury

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When you have a brain injury it is very difficult to know if and when you will improve, or how much. With other injuries you can do physical training exercises to support your recovery. But that about a brain injury?

So many times I panicked  about “what if this is it? What if I stay like this?”

There are no easy answers to those questions, but you have to be patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor was your brain. What can help is finding a way to measure your progress. In the same way we are shocked when we look at an old photo of ourselves at how much we have changed, it can be hard to recognise the small improvements.

Whilst your loved ones will be better at judging your progress and be reassuring you of it, it helps to feel you have tangible evidence.

That’s where brain training games can really help. Personally I’m a fan of Peak which I play daily on my iPhone. All smartphones or tablets will have available apps, many of which are free. I love Peak because it gives me a graph showing how I’ve improved (or not as the case maybe if I’m having one of those days) in each different area. I find it reassuring and actually I’ve found I’m better at some things than I thought.

Ideas on things you can do at home to help retrain your brain after a brain injury

But what if you don’t want to keep staring at screens?

Buying an inexpensive puzzle book is a great investment. You can have a go at different puzzles at your own pace. Again it’s something that you can revisit to see which ones you can give yourselves a pat on the back. Because you’ve completed quite a lot or finished. And you can keep pushing to do those pesky ones which you find yourself wondering if the reason you can’t get it is because there’s a print error and it’s impossible. Actually it’s these ones that give me the most satisfaction when the penny finally drops.

puzzle books help brain training

Remember you’re not any less intelligent, your brain just has to work harder to get there. It’s like the tunnel in the Alps being closed and you have to climb all over the mountains to get there. It takes a lot longer and it’s a lot more tiring. But be patient and keep trying. The brain behaves like a muscle and by practising and training you can give it the chance to relearn how to do it.

Try doing something you have never done before, and start training your brain in something new.

I don’t mean you have to go learn to play the violin. But try simple things like brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. It will feel really awkward at first and you’ll be tempted to switch back, but try to persevere. In time the brain will start to learn that this is something it needs to work on, and that hand will get better at it. So it’s something that you can see for yourself how you’re doing.

If you are also interested in what virtual training you can do to support your recovery, go to Game training that helped me.

Have a go and let me know how you get on. I'd love to hear of other examples people can think of.


10 replies on “Brain training you can do at home after a brain injury”

I think I missed this blog Michelle, it wasn’t long after my surgery. I wonder what you have discovered since you wrote this, that you’ve improved on or found a new talent?
I have just joined a small creative writing group, I was very anxious before I went, I don’t do busy places and I feel my speech is slow and word finding can be hard. Once I got over thinking what I can’t do well, I just went with each task, I swear I could feel my brain, reshaping it’s self, slowly ideas came and I even was able to contribute to the group. I only managed an hour, I was beginning to get wobbly and tired. I told them about my brain injury and excused myself, their reaction was that they had no idea I had struggles, which of course most people do say, but my point is, your perspective is different than others, so don’t let it put you off trying something new. Our brains are amazing, I am surprised how tired I was after, but how much confidence in myself I gained. It’s these little steps that grow us not only in brain function but in our self esteem.

Well my hand coordination has got much better. Even my neighbour said that she could see how I “am back” from seeing my handwriting in the Christmas card I wrote.
I think I can hold my own now, but fatigue still comes to bite me and remind me to take a step back.

I have a five year old boy with a traumatic brain injury to the left side from a gun can I I courage and work with him to use his right arm and hand to strengthen it.he doesn’t want to.

I’m so sorry to hear about your little boy. Firstly I would suggest you check with your medical rehab team to make sure he doesn’t over do it but is engaging in exercises which will help him in the long term. But if he’s being hesitant in doing exercises he might find it more fun if it’s a game. Such as playing some softball with him at home but where you all have to use your on dominate hand. Then it will be less about him feeling awkward because of how difficult he is finding it because he can see you being disadvantaged too.

Keep up the good work. Consistency is your friend….I’m 21 years into my recovery & most days I feel fine, but once in awhile I’m reminded & it stirs up emotions/memories.

Yes I know what you mean Sandra. There’s still the odd day where I know I’ve been over ambitious and I’m going to need several days to recover. But I’m getting better at noticing it earlier and therefore lessening the effects.

I have struggled with my handwriting as well. I’m doing much better now. I think one thing to remember is that our brains are making new connections just like the first time we learned a skill. And also just like then, it takes practice. Xi practiced by carefully handwriting lists, like for groceries in my best writing. It has worked. Its becoming more automatic. I’ve done the same with walking. Instead of relying on a cane or walker, I started by moving around the house slowly and deliberately,reminding myself I am relearning as well as regaining strength. Its slow, but I can see progress. My surgery was a little over a year ago and improvements are still coming. I think it takes longer than we are told.

Good to hear that you are seeing progress Trish. I agree, a cane is useful to help you when you are losing balance but you need to train your nervous system and muscles to walk as “normally” as possible so that’s what they learn to do.

I so appreciated your advice. My worst problem is the tinnitus I get. Does anyone else suffer from that – it’s so bad some nights it wakes me up. Nothing seems to alleviate the ringing in my ears. Lavender essential oil calms me but not the ringing – can you share any insights into helping this symptom of tbi ?? Thanks I’d appreciate it

Yes, I too have Tinnitus, and I wrote about it in “Tinnitus, the loathsome bells of brain injury“. It’s not a well understood problem but it’s most often where you have some hearing loss and the brain is filling in the sound gap with the bells and whistles. I wrote about how I finally when to seek help for it with an Audiologist in “How ego makes accepting support after a brain injury challenging” and got a proper diagnosis and hearing aids for it.

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