Having a loved one suffer a traumatic brain injury (TMI) is painful and tragic to deal with. Perhaps you are weighed down with uncertainty as to how they will recover and how life will be altered moving forward. It is completely understandable to have many questions and emotions that arise out of the unknown. One thing that is known is scientific research on the brain and its ability to heal itself.
Recovering from a serious brain injury will typically involve physical and cognitive rehabilitation. The good news is that the brain has a remarkable ability to form new connections to old behavior that was previously learned. For example, injury victims who are learning how to walk again have the advantage of muscle memory and former connections that help expedite the process.
What is neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to regenerate itself through developing new pathways and connections. Cognitive rehabilitation involves the brain recognizing patterns and behavior and re-building those broken connections after experiencing trauma. Does the brain grow? Yes. This is true for both learning and healing brain damage. Neuroplasticity research continues to find new ways of helping the recovery process anytime a brain injury is experienced.
Recovery after a TBI
Once the brain is injured, the cells in the damaged area die and the brain connections break apart. However, the body begins to build a secondary bridge network to replace the broken one. This network is comprised of other cells along with new brain cells. The recovery process may take weeks and months before noticeable changes appear. Although an injury victim may be in a coma or unable to process information, the brain continues to work hard to heal in those damaged parts.