Practical advice for everyday living and working

Brain Health after a Traumatic Injury

Modified and used with permission Dr Paul Looney.

If you want to optimise your mental health following a traumatic injury, the following recommendations may assist you. Be patient with yourself. Over time, small changes can produce big results.

Aerobic Exercise

  • Research shows aerobic exercise to be effective in preventing & treating depression and anxiety disorders.
  • Exercise helps to reduce anger & irritability
  • You need at least 20 mins of cardiovascular exercise, three times per week
  • Exercise helps with maintaining your healthy weight, sleep, alertness & energy

Nutrition

  • Eating a well-balanced diet has a great benefit to mental health, as the body is designed to function best when its needs are met
  • It is important to feed your body regularly and maintain a healthy variety and balance to your diet
  • Research shows breakfast to be a critical meal
  • Avoid ‘empty calories’ or ‘junk food’ – highly processed foods high in sugar, white flour, fats, & excessive caffeine
  • Drink plenty of water

Supplements

  • Multi-vitamin – improves your overall health
  • B-complex – helps with energy, anxiety, depression
  • Fish oil / Omega 3 fatty acids - is good for brain & heart health
  • Melatonin - natural sleep hormone

Keeping a Journal

Write down your thoughts, feelings, and patterns of behaviour.  Has been shown to boost your mental health. A person who journals has increased self-awareness & may be able to better release regret, frustrations & worries. Keeping a journal can positively integrate your negative experiences. Regularly making a gratitude list will improve your mood.

Faith

Individuals with strong faith and spiritual discipline can enjoy more contentment and joy. Faith and peace can grow through participation in a spiritual community, by prayer, meditation, reading inspiration or religious texts and by being in nature.

Creative Expression

Discovering what you really enjoy and incorporating it into your daily routine is of great benefit. Finding a way to express one’s self through a creative outlet has been found to enhance life satisfaction and helps to minimise symptoms & episodes of mood disorders. Drawing, painting, gardening, writing poetry or prose, playing a musical instrument, cooking and interior design are a few examples of creative endeavours. Utilising your gift will give you a sense of self-worth and satisfaction as you express yourself creatively. Appreciating beauty is important.

Helping Others

Stress and burnout will paralyse and rob us of our self-worth. By helping others you will feel more valuable. We may be tempted to withdraw from relationships just when we need to press in and build friendships. Send a card to someone, pick a flower, make a meal for another. Focusing on another takes the pressure off yourself. Have a mentor, be a mentor.

Purpose

Having a sense of direction and purpose in life is very important in maintaining a healthy attitude, especially in times of adversity. Writing your goals will help you overcome huge obstacles and achieve them. We tend to set short term goals too high and long-term goals too low.

Rest & Retreat

A day of rest each week is vital to avoid burnout, & twice a week can be hugely restorative. Try and get away for a personal retreat twice a year for several days to renew and reconnect with your soul.

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Pain Management

Acute pain is when the body is working to heal structural tissue damage. Everything is done to ensure structural and mechanical integrity if maximised of the injured tissues.

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Wound Management

Most wounds recover in the repair phase of healing, which is approximately three weeks. Our therapists (physiotherapists) look after your wounds by providing dressings that are applied with a sterile technique to avoid infection.

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Mobilisation of Joints

Joint mobilisation involves moving the joint back and forth in small oscillating movements further and further into range to restore the joints normal movement.

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Customisation of Splints/Orthosis

The body naturally goes through a process to heal injuries, however if not supported to enable rest the injury can continue to happening and it takes a much longer time to heal.

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Exercise Prescription

Exercise is the body’s natural way of restoration to improve stability, mechanics, strength and movement to an injury. Whether the injury is from overuse, trauma, disease or surgery exercises are necessary to restore function.

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Stretches

Stretching is extremely beneficial for our joints, muscles and tendons. Not only do they help prepare your body work/exercises they ensure you are working at your optimum energy efficiency.

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Therapeutic Massage

Massage helps to remove these chemicals by improving the blood supply to the injured area so healthy nutrients are supplied to the area so healing is faster. 

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