Brain Injury

Types of Healthcare Professionals

Family doctor: Your family doctor is the health professional you will likely see most often. He or she will be the person you see to check on your recovery progress and monitor treatments for your brain injury symptoms.

Neurologist: A neurologist is a doctor who is specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the brain, spinal cord and nerves (the nervous system). After a brain injury you may see a neurologist if you have headaches or seizures. The neurologist will take a detailed medical history and perform a physical examination that evaluates how your nervous system is working. The neurological examination includes assessment of cognitive functions, cranial nerves, motor strength, sensation, reflexes, coordination and gait.

Neuropsychologist: A neuropsychologist is a psychologist with advanced training in how brain injuries can affect behavior. After a brain injury you may see a neuropsychologist to have an assessment of brain functions like attention, memory, and other thinking skills. Neuropsychological testing can help locate areas of the brain that may be damaged and help determine the severity of cognitive problems.

Neurosurgeon: A neurosurgeon is a doctor who does surgery on your brain or nerves. After a brain injury you would see a neurosurgeon if you have bleeding or swelling on your brain that may require surgery.

Occupational Therapist (OT): An occupational therapist can help you to relearn or improve your ability to perform everyday tasks (called activities of daily living or ADLs). After a brain injury you may see an occupational therapist to help you work on high level thinking skills like attention, memory, organization, and planning that are necessary for a successful return to home, school, or work.

Physiatrist: A physiatrist or physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) specialist is a doctor who specializes in restoring function to people with injuries to muscles, bones, tissues, and nervous system. After a brain injury, a physiatrist may coordinate your rehabilitation therapies.

Physiotherapist (PT): A physiotherapist is the person who can help you re-learn movements or strengthen muscles so you can return to your physical activities. After a brain injury you may also see a physiotherapist to treat problems like neck or back pain.

Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in treating emotional or behavioural problems. They often give medications to help people deal with intense emotions or behavior. After a brain injury you may feel anxious or depressed and a psychiatrist may give you medications to help you cope with these feelings.

Psychologist: A psychologist uses evidence-based talk therapies to help with behavior and coping. After a brain injury you may see a psychologist to help you learn to cope with emotions or control behaviour.

Recreation Therapist: A recreation therapist helps you return to recreational and leisure activities to help reclaim enjoyable parts of your life.

Social Work is an academic discipline and profession that concerns itself with individuals, families,groups and communities in an effort to enhance social functioning and overall well-being.  Social functioning refers to the way in which people perform their social roles, and the structural institutions that are provided to sustain them.

Speech/Language Pathologist: A speech/Language Pathologist is a speech therapist. They help people with all kinds of language and cognitive problems. After a brain injury you may see a speech therapist to work on reading comprehension and writing skills, or on other cognitive skills like attention, memory, organization, and planning.

Vocational Counselor: A vocational counselor helps people to successfully return to work, school or volunteering. They may arrange job coaching, provide strategies, and locate jobs, school programs and volunteer opportunities that match your individual needs.


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