Affective Neurosciences PLLC

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TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) - Stroke



TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) - Stroke

Currently, there is not much formal rehabilitation for someone who has suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI) more than two years in the past. Sometimes, additional physical, speech, or occupational therapy is offered, but usually no major progress is expected at that point.

However, neurofeedback therapy can bring about dramatic improvements significantly beyond the two-year mark.

For example, at a conference, a therapist shared a case in which a patient showed signficant improvement three years after suffering a stroke. Since the stroke, the patient’s left hand had been constantly and completely clenched. After her tenth neurofeedback training session, the patient began to open and use her hand. How did neurofeedback help bring about that change? The therapist targeted the neurofeedback training near the brain’s motor strip – an area involved in controlling muscles and muscle tone. Through neurofeedback training, it is possible to reorganize the motor circuits. In this instance, it was successful and enabled the patient to regain motor function in her hand.

Why is neurofeedback so effective in rehabilitation for stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

Stroke and TBI involve injuries to the brain. Therefore, to treat those injuries, the brain itself needs to be targeted. With neurofeedback, the brain is exercised. Brain training is completely individualized, and the specific areas of the brain affected by the stroke or TBI are targeted during neurofeedback therapy.

A variety of symptoms can be improved through neurofeedback training, such as speech, movement, regulating moods, controlling behavior, and reducing headaches. Neurofeedback works because the brain regulates each of those issues.

For people recovering from stroke and TBI, neurofeedback training can be particularly helpful in improving speech. During neurofeedback training, the specific areas of the brain related to speech can be targeted. In this way, the areas associated with speech can be strengthened and improved. In fact, some neuropsychologists believe that neurofeedback is actually rehabilitating the damaged speech areas of the brain rather than just dealing with compensation.

A speech therapist specializing in stroke and TBI began using neurofeedback training with her patients in the first hospital-based program to employ neurofeedback training. When interviewed, the speech therapist reported more instances of progress in speech improvement for stroke and TBI patients in the one year since implementing neurofeedback training than in the whole previous ten years. She feels that training the brain directly greatly increases success. The amount of recovery possible after stroke or TBI is dependent on numerous factors. However, the experience of therapists and their patients has shown that many people can increase their recovery, even well after the incident, through neurofeedback training.


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