Head Injury Recovery and Wellness Support Program
Traumatic Brain Injury: Head trauma can bring on very serious injuries to the brain, and to the muscles and tissues of the head and neck. Due to the delicate and important functions in the brain and body structures involved, repercussions may often include symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, mental fatigue, difficulty with mental tasks (e.g., working and short-term memory, attention and concentration, multi-tasking, mental endurance), feeling overwhelmed by noise and over-stimulation, sleep issues, stress and anxiety, and sometimes depression.
Recovery and Rehabilitation: It is important to participate in and fully optimize medical and physical rehabilitation of the brain and the body after experiencing head trauma. This includes preventive health and wellness to support the best efforts at recovery. An injured brain can result in cognitive and emotional challenges that interfere with school, work, and overall functioning in daily life. The healing process of a head injury requires patience, as it can often be slow going.
Dr. Ben Allen is a health psychologist who works in support of an individual’s Health Care Team providing wellness therapy and counseling. His program begins with an assessment of symptoms and challenges, followed by the training of wellness strategies to help assist in recovery and rehabilitation.
- Stress management and biofeedback skills to reduce mental overload: Psychological stress and being mentally overactive after suffering from a serious head injury can impede the healing process. The sensitivity to noise, dizziness, headaches, among other symptoms show that the recovering brain needs rest, mental quietness, and peace of mind. Time spent in this way allows for optimal blood flow and recovery of brain functioning, in that it supports natural healing factors to occur for even brief periods without interruption. Learn simple skills that can bring on this level of mental rest. Learn how to breathe and relax mind and body, let go of stress, and participate actively in the healing process. These strategies can help to support mental rest and recovery after a long school or work day, help for courting sleep onset, and be used during the busy day for creating frequent, though brief work/rest cycles to support healing. Learn how to be self-aware and in tune with your mind and body and its needs.
- Healing headaches and muscular pain in the head and neck: Often a head injury may co-occur with trauma to the neck muscles and tissues, as with the effects of whiplash. When muscles are chronically tight, and/or acutely injured following head trauma, the result can lead to chronic and painful tension headache symptoms, and co-occur with migraine headache symptoms as a result of the brain injury. Muscle biofeedback is a computer-aided program that allows clients to observe on a monitor real time muscle activity from where the sensors are placed. In this regard, the muscles observed may be those in the back of the neck, upper shoulders, or various muscles in the face and head, often muscles that overreact following head trauma. The ongoing biofeedback can expose overactive muscles, and through the feedback, allow greater inner feelings of awareness of those muscles and empower the ability to let those muscles relax. Learn how to practice good posture and relaxation of muscles while sitting, standing, and being active, and how to restore optimal integrity of the body. This can help reduce headache symptoms, and help with recovery.
- Biofeedback and skills training for healing sleep: Learn how to wind down, empty the mind, and prepare for a good night’s sleep. Learn how to lull your mind to sleep, and to recover sleepiness after awakening during the night.
- Wellness supportive strategies: Optimal brain recovery includes healthy nutrition, good sleep and periods of rest, among other principles that support the best of care. Learn lifestyle strategies that support physical and mental wellness for healing.
- Counseling: Often, a serious head trauma can be disruptive to a person’s academic or professional life, and can occur during a busy school or work season. This can lead to a number of emotional issues, as well as critical life challenges regarding keeping up with daily responsibilities. Allen helps clients work through emotional issues, reduce anxiety, and set goals and priorities to help recover confidence and stay on track academically and professionally.
- Academic strategies: Dr. Allen provides mental and cognitive strategies to help optimize academic success, and compensate for acute and chronic symptoms following a head injury.