Balance and Exercise after TBI
I thought I would post an important message about something that happened four years post my mother's TBI. She had stopped doing balance exercises about three years after her injury, and a year later I noticed that she seemed to be a little hesitant as she walked and she held on to counters, etc., while we were shopping. I informed her that I thought she had regressed and that she must immediately start doing her balance exercises again. Within two days of doing the exercises, she walked without any hesitation, and didn't feel the need to grab onto anything! She told me that she wasn't aware that she had regressed, but as soon as she started doing the exercises, she realized it because she couldn't do what she could before. Now she does them almost every day and is walking like a teenager. Never stop those exercises! They really work!
I will describe the exercises but it is necessary to only do them under supervision and only after you get permission from your health care professional or physical therapist. One of the exercises my mother learned is from her physical therapist, and it involves crossing the left foot behind the right, then taking a side step with the right foot. Repeat that ten times, and then do the same with the opposite foot. (Right crossed behind the left, step to the side with the left, repeat.) Again, please see a physical therapist for the correct way to do this.
The other is one I invented with the help of my aunt. I wanted my mother to have a step without a railing to practice on, so my aunt suggested I obtain a step platform that they use in step aerobics. I kept it on the lowest level and placed it on the carpet. I then held her hand in the beginning and supported her back while she stepped up onto it, stood for a moment, and then stepped off. After doing this for a few days, she was able to do it without any help from me. Subsequently, I had her approach the step from far away and step on and off in one fluid motion while holding my hand. She then went on to do this without my help as well.
I hope this inspires survivors to work on their balance, and helps caregivers to encourage their loved ones to work on their balance.