What you need to know about Neurofeedback and Brain Injury


Can Neurofeedback Help to Clean up the Debris?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) rehabilitation has had a limited number of strategies used in the treatment of cognitive disorders. These methods included procedures that utilize stimulation and practice (to help improve memory and recall); strategy cognitive rehabilitation (e.g., visualization and creating associations), compensatory cognitive rehabilitation strategies; and medications that help to aide in attention and/or memory recall.

Many problem areas seen in TBI patients that neurofeedback has been used to improve are attention, impulse/emotional control, memory, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and physical balance.

Hammond, C. (2012) discussed that “Some recent studies with normal individuals also have implications for TBI treatment. Vernon et al. (2003) documented in a control group study that only 8 sessions of neurofeedback could improve memory recall, and a recent placebo controlled study (Hoedlmoser et al., 2008) of neurofeedback validated that only 10 sessions improved sleep onset latency and subsequent declarative learning in normal subjects. Other reviews have been published on the use of neurofeedback in the treatment of depression and anxiety (Hammond, 2005a), for improving physical balance (Hammond, 2005b), and in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (Hammond, 2003).

Can Neurofeedback Help a Past Stroke or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

Neurofeedback training as a treatment modality can bring many improvements to help the brain repair itself, even years after damage has been done.

“For example, a therapist shared a situation in which a patient showed significant improvement three years after suffering a stroke. The patient’s left hand had been constantly and completely clenched since the stroke occurred. After her tenth neurofeedback training session, she began to open and use her hand.

How did neurofeedback help bring about that change? The therapist targeted the neurofeedback training near the brain’s motor strip – an area involved in controlling muscles and muscle tone. Through neurofeedback training, those motor circuits possibly reorganized and became more efficient. In this case, it was successful and enabled the client to regain motor function in her hand.”

Why Is Neurofeedback Effective for Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury?

Stroke and TBI involve serious injuries to the brain. To treat those injuries, the brain itself must be targeted to correct the root cause. Brain training is specifically tailored to the individual areas of the brain affected by the stroke or TBI. We are able to locate these areas of the brain through a test called a qEEG or Brain Map. This is usually needed to target the dysregulated areas for best results.

What Damage from Stroke or TBI Can Be Helped with Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback helps connectivity between brainwave connections and the timing within the brain to promote stronger communication. With Neurofeedback, we target specific areas of the brain through a qEEG Brain Map to locate the areas that would have the most impact. 

Some common areas that have shown improvement post-stroke and TBI are:

  • Speech

  • Movement

  • Mood regulation

  • Better behavior control

  • Headache reduction

During neurofeedback brain training, the specific areas of the brain associated with speech, movement, mood control, etc, can be targeted, strengthened, and improved. In fact, some neuropsychologists believe that neurofeedback is actually rehabilitating the damaged speech areas of the brain, rather than just compensating for the dysfunction. You can think of a TBI as a construction zone and neurofeedback is helping to clean up and reorganize the debris left in the wake.

You can think of a TBI as a construction zone and neurofeedback is helping to clean up and reorganize the debris left in the wake.

“A speech therapist specializing in stroke and TBI began neurofeedback training with her patients in the first hospital-based program to use neurofeedback training. When interviewed, the speech therapist reported more instances of progress in speech improvement for stroke and TBI patients in the one year since implementing neurofeedback training than in the whole previous ten years combined. She feels that training the brain increases success exponentially.”

Can you Recover From a Stroke or TBI?

It is possible to aide in the recovery process with neurofeedback but the extent depends on numerous factors. With consistent training, studies have shown that many people improve significantly, even well after the incident.

Neurofeedback is also used as a method for treatment due to it is:

  • Effective

  • Non-invasive

  • Painless

  • Free of side effects

  • Long-lasting with consistent amount of brain training (Average number of sessions varies).

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