Brain Savvy After A Mild Brain Injury

Brain injury OT Services Brisbane

Here’s How Occupational Therapy Can Help You Live Better After A Brain Injury.

Does Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms Disrupt Your Daily Life?

An occupational therapist can help you address those daily life challenges which prevent you living the life you want to live. 

In this article we share with you:

  • What are common causes of brain injury, not just traumatic brain injury,
  • We explain the difference between TBI and ABI
  • The persistent symptoms mild traumatic brain injury symptoms that get in the way of work, community and home life
  • How an Occupational Therapist can help you live better after a mild traumatic brain injury

What Are The Common Causes of Mild Brain Injury:

  1. Accidents/ Trauma
  2. Stroke
  3. Tumour
  4. Infection
  5. Poisoning/ Toxins
  6. Hypoxia/ Anoxia ( reduced or complete stopping of the flow of oxygen to the brain)
  7. Degenerative Neurological Conditions


Acquired brain injury (ABI) refers to any damage to the brain that occurs after birth. Common causes of ABI include accidents, stroke, infection, alcohol and other drug abuse and degenerative neurological disease.

Over 700,000 Australians have a brain injury, with daily “activity limitations”

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an ABI caused by a traumatic event, from an external force applied to the head from an assault, a fall a motor vehicle accident.ABI is common in Australia. In 2003, 432,700 people (2.2% of the population) had an ABI.

Mild TBI and Persistent Symptoms

Whilst a full recovery is expected within 3 months (King, 1997, Van der Naalt, 2001) after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or concussion), not all patients experience such rapid recovery (ONF). There are a number of factors which may impact on recovery such as

  • Mechanism of injury (how it was sustained)
  • Experience of post traumatic amnesia
  • History of previous brain trauma
  • Reduce physical performance prior to the injury
  • History of psychiatric or neurological symptoms
  • Skull fracture
  • Reduced balance or dizziness in the acute stage
  • Social supports
  • Life stage
  • Life stressors
  • Education status
  • Drug and alcohol use

Persistent symptoms will be varied and individualized given the above mentioned factors. This may be symptoms which may continue to persist and impact a persons life may include

  • Cognitive Changes: ability to plan, recall, problem solve for example
  • Emotional and Behavioural: loss of equanimity and more volatility perhaps an experience of anxiety or depression or strong intrusive thoughts.
  • Endurance and Energy as described as fatigued and foggy brain
  • Movement and Balance
  • Sensation and Perception Changes
  • Pain such as headaches

If these symptoms are persistent, you may benefit from following up with your GP. A person with mTBI and pre-injury mental health conditions, or any other health or contextual risk factors, should be considered for early referral to a multidisciplinary treatment clinic capable of managing post concussive symptoms because these factors have been associated with poorer outcomes.

How Brain Injury OT Programs Can Help You Live Better

The largest professional group of OTs in the world, the American Occupational Therapy Association highlight how an OT can help you in your Brain Injury recovery process;

  • “Occupational therapy practitioners are key rehabilitation professionals in assisting individuals with brain injury to reintegrate back into the community……..

Occupational therapy practitioners are experts in assessing functional activity demands against the performance abilities of clients and identifying and addressing deficits; therefore, they are key members of the community reintegration team. Through their expertise in task analysis, environmental modifications, and functional activities, they can help individuals with brain injuries re-learn skills or compensate for impairments. Community-based occupational therapy can help individuals with brain injury improve the quality of their lives and regain their maximal level of independence.

Common Brain Injury OT Services in Brisbane

Because each person’s brain injury is different, an brain injury rehabilitation program will be personalised to your situation. Common brain injury OT services include; 

  • Teach the use of memory strategies such as daily planners, technological devices, checklists, and cueing systems
  • Design effective schedules and routines
  • Support, teach and coach individuals and family members in techniques to cope with changes in behavior and low frustration tolerance
  • Design and implement environmental adaptations to assist with physical, perceptual, and cognitive functioning, such as labeling cupboards and drawers, or using lighting to improve vision and/or attention to task
  • Assist in re-learning social skills through techniques such as pre-processing and rehearsal, where the individual and therapist anticipate challenging social situations and practice appropriate responses
  • Provide cognitive retraining exercises to address specific cognitive skills, such as attention, memory, and executive functioning (e.g., using computer-based programs)
  • Provide training and adaptation (if needed) for activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and grooming
  • Provide training and assist in the development of compensatory techniques for instrumental activities of daily living, such as preparing meals, shopping, managing routine financial tasks, and caring for children
  • Facilitate the identification and development of healthy, fulfilling hobbies or other leisure activities
  • Consult with employers and/or educational systems to adapt the work or school environment to facilitate the individual’s performance abilities

Source: AAOT

Why Occupational Therapy Brisbane

The occupational therapy practice was formed to work with the body, encourage the spirit, and respect the person. With a unique and specialised focus on adults with neurological and complex therapy needs.

We can see you either in your home or at work, in the clinic or online.

Our approach is different. We form a bond with you which respects your medical, personal, social, cultural, physical, and functional experiences and histories.

We help people, maybe like you, find their strength and hope in order to achieve your goals. You can read more about our practice and it’s founder, David Norris, here. 

Brain Injury OT Program Support

At OT Brisbane we offer programs to people living with brain injury under various funding schemes.  From Self Funded or Private Insurance to Aged Care and the NDIS OT services are available.

Memory Health Clinic For People Living With Persistent Brain Injury Symptoms

The memory health clinic offers services and programs to people and their families who are recovering from a mild TBI.  You can expect a therapist to assess your current cognitive fitness and how this impacts your daily life. From this first consultation a therapy plan is recommended. Memory Assessment and Therapy Service and programs are available for people who are Self Funded or Privately Insured or have access to Aged Care and NDIS programs

To find out more call 1300 783 200 or fill in the form with as much relevant information below and a team member will contact you shortly. 

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