Nabo News - Health Knowledge: Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Naturheilzentrum blog: topic focus - TBI in naturopathy
A traumatic brain injury (or “TBI” for short) is a serious injury to the skull and brain. For People of a younger age, it is usually the result of a traffic accident. For People from older age groups, falls can also be the trigger. Approximately 280,000 patients with traumatic brain injuries are treated each year in Germany. "The majority, i.e. about 80 percent of those hospitalized, suffer from a minor TBI," explains Farid Zitoun from Naturheilzentrum Bottrop. The remaining 20 percent are patients diagnosed with a moderate or severe TBI.
The leading cause of death in People under the age of 40 in Germany isn’t cancer or a disease of the cardiovascular system; it’s a traumatic brain injury. The clinical picture, the treatment, and the various therapeutic options constitute the focus of the current Naturheilzentrum Bottrop blog. How the diagnosis changes the lives of relatives, friends, and those affected, and why it is so important not to leave them alone even after rehabilitation for the so-called concussion has concluded. For the naturopaths and caregivers at Naturheilzentrum Bottrop, this is part of the accompanying therapy involving the whole family, with a focus on targeted stimuli, achieved through small pinpricks with acupuncture.
Experts have distinguished three degrees of severity
The degree of severity depends, among other things, on how long the patient has been unconscious and when the symptoms begin to recede. Another criterion is the long-term consequences. Doctors classify the severity of the suffered trauma in accordance with the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS): https://www.glasgowcomascale.org/. It assesses three functions of consciousness; opening the eyes, responsiveness, and reaction to painful stimuli. The higher the value on a scale, the more minor the traumatic brain injury will be. The values can range between three and 15 here.
However, not all patients receive the diagnosis of a minor traumatic brain injury and can therefore be discharged just a few days after being successfully treated for concussion (Latin: commotion cerebri). About 10,000 People die each year as a result of their injuries. "From direct or even indirect consequences", as is known at the Bottrop Facility for Prevention and Rehabilitation. Almost 5,000 patients remain dependent on lifelong care despite intensive treatment and rehabilitation.
"The so-called Barthel Index (https://www.pschyrembel.de/Barthel-Index/K00TK) determines the degree to which care is required with the help of a points system," explains the naturopath, Christian Rüger. "It is not uncommon for those affected to be regarded as beyond treatment and to be put into the care of relatives at home or an inpatient facility." In most cases, the Bottrop-based complementary-medicine practitioners, Zitoun and Rüger start their work as an accompaniment to rehabilitation measures or after these measures have concluded.
The earlier the rehab begins, the more successful it can be!
There are often several months between the accident and the end of rehab. Doctors and experts in the field of TBI therapy and rehabilitation are in agreement on one point here: the earlier the rehabilitation begins, the more successful it usually is. But first of all, there is an intensive phase after the accident - to safeguard the breathing and circulatory system. The patients, as a rule, are in an unconscious state and completely dependent on care. If the vital signs are stable, early rehabilitation can begin. This is predominantly about the restoration of lost brain functions.
Patients are also often unconscious or even in a vegetative state. The medical professionals and therapists concern themselves with trying to limit the extent of the brain damage and to give the functionally damaged, but not destroyed, brain cells the optimal conditions for functional regeneration. One approach followed by the German PVS (persistent vegetative state) Association is that: "All therapeutic and rehabilitative efforts must have the goal of promoting and initiating procedures that lead to the restoration of the damaged functions." The involvement of relatives is also an important point here.
Continuous rehabilitation often opens up new perspectives
"Patients in a vegetative state need the full help and support of those around them. They feel emotions, show their feelings and have sleeping and waking periods." With appropriate rehabilitation at the individual stages of the illness (so-called persistent apallic syndrome), it is the opinion of the German PVS Association that there is legitimate hope for improvement. But critics will also say out loud that it makes no sense to expand emergency medical systems and save more and more People from death – via resuscitation, intensive care and neurosurgical methods, without then continuing to rehabilitate them. Even if patients like those with apallic syndrome are still in a "medical gray area".
The possibilities and approaches to treatment at Bottrop's Facility for Integrative Medicine build upon continuous rehabilitation and the associated opportunities it brings (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbZ_jJiucgg). The team around the naturopaths, Farid Zitoun and Christian Rüger draws on almost 25 years’ experience in the accompaniment of those affected and their relatives - back on the road to life.
TBI in children: activation by applying stimuli to the body
Children with traumatic brain injuries need special support (https://naturheilzentrum-bottrop.tumblr.com/post/159458265459/schaedel-hirn-trauma-naturheilkunde-eine-alternative) Through intensive rehabilitation, many severely injured patients manage to do everyday things independently again. "This includes, for example, getting food," says Christian Rüger. Some mobility can also be regained through use of a wheelchair. In Bottrop, the focus is on a specially developed acupuncture technique. The intention is to animate and activate the body’s self-healing powers through targeted stimuli.
More about this can be read in the Naturheilzentrum Bottrop blog topic: Traumatic Brain Injury - Brigitte Köpge reports on life after her son's accident (https://naturheilzentrum.com/en/blog/naturheilzentrum-bottrop-blog-topic-traumatic-brain-injury-brigitte-koepge-reports-on-life-after-her-sons-accident/).