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Benefits of Massage for Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Brain Injury Association of America states that traumatic brain injury  (TBI) is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents  nationwide. The age groups most at risk for brain injury are newborns through  age 4 and teens from 15 to 19. Every year, an average of 564,000 children are  treated for brain injuries in the Emergency Room, and 62,000 children with brain  injuries are hospitalized. This is a staggering amount of children suffering  with chronic symptoms that often do not have a definitive treatment in  mainstream medicine.

There is a big difference between a bump on the head and a TBI; TBI is  classified as a blow, jolt or bump to the head or a penetrating head injury that  disrupts the normal function of the brain. TBI’s range in severity from “mild,”  i.e., a temporary change in consciousness or mental status to “severe.” i.e., an  extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of  Traumatic Brain Injuries that occur each year are concussions or other forms of  mild TBI.

The results of a TBI can affect almost every aspect of the child’s life.  Ongoing issues arise through development, many times children appear to look  okay and are assumed to be so, but it is not uncommon for educational,  behavioral, or social problems to emerge years after an injury. With the injury  in the rear view it is harder to make the connection between these issues and  the past TBI.

Development delays, or issues in development may not be seen until years  later, although they were initially caused by the TBI. Unlike adults, children  are still developing, making these injuries even more devastating and  potentially crippling in the long term. Scientific research has indicated that  TBI in childhood can be followed by a significant decrease in cognitive, social,  or behavioral skills at the time of injury and also by a later “stall” (possibly  years later) during which failure to develop cognitive, behavioral, or social  skills affects learning and the ability to maintain friends, relationships and a  career.

After the accident and initial diagnosis, the patient and family, must  consider a wide variety of treatment options. This has led many of the 5.3  million Americans disabled as a result of traumatic brain injury use  complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

During a random sample study, over half of the patients stated they had used  at least one CAM therapy as a treatment option for symptoms associated with  their injury. Massage therapy and chiropractic care were used by patients to  treat pain, while meditation was practiced for affective disorders and herbal  medicine was taken for cognitive deficits. With a large portion of CAM users  reporting positive results and benefits of the alternative therapies.

Massage therapy has long been used to ease pain, provide comfort, and address  cognitive and neurological issues. Currently, there are many massage therapists  who focus their practice solely on headaches, sports related concussions and  other TBI related issues. As we continue to see the rates of TBI and head injury  rise, it is important that practitioners research safe and effective approaches  for appropriate therapeutic care.

Copyright (c) 2013 Liddle Kidz Foundation Infant and Children’s Pediatric  Massage

Looking for expert advice and tips to help improve your child’s health? Find  answers to all your questions about infant massage and pediatric massage therapy with Tina Allen, The founder and  director of leading children’s health and nurturing touch organization Liddle Kidz Foundation, she shares expertise working with  children and families.

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