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Movement may help car accident brain injuries heal

Among the most devastating injuries you can sustain in a car accident is a brain injury. It can leave you with lost memories, physical impairments and mental impairments. You may see your entire personality change. You may lose basic skills -- walking or talking, for instance -- or senses like smell and sight.

Worst of all, these injuries may not heal. Some do, yes, but many brain injuries never do, at least not completely. The impact is permanent. You may have to deal with this for the rest of your life.

Think about how that can change your world. Maybe you're a successful businessperson who runs a company, but now you struggle just finding the right words and you can't ever focus on the task at hand. Maybe you're a skilled craftsman, but now you lost your fine motor skills and you'll never work again.

You may have lived through the accident, but life as you knew it could still have ended.

A change in thinking

Medical professionals know that immediate care is important and that most of the potential healing happens relatively quickly. Once a few years have gone by, they do not expect people to see big changes.

In the past, the immediate treatment they settled on often included a lot of bed rest. You heard people preach about how the body needed time to rest and heal. After all, these people just got into serious car accidents. It seemed like it made sense.

While the argument can be made for rest and every case is different, some experts are changing their thinking. They now see that physical movement can actually help a lot after someone suffers from a brain injury.

One doctor decided to start helping some of her patients get up and move more often, studying the results when roughly 300 patients got extra movement and 300 got the accepted treatment of the day. She discovered that people with more physical movement healed faster and got out of the hospital sooner.

A damaged brain needs to find new pathways and rewire itself to get around the damage. "It does this by forming new synapses, forming new connections,"explained a biomedical professor. "The neural circuits begin to change and adapt, and that's how these new functions begin to emerge in the remaining brain areas."

Movement helps to jumpstart this process by engaging the brain. That starts healing far sooner, which can lead to better results overall.

Focus on the future

Though this is a big change in the way that doctors look at brain injuries and it appears promising, full recovery is never guaranteed after an injury of this magnitude. If another driver's carelessness changed your life forever, you need to know how to seek compensation.

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