I have had two TBIs, and I feel pretty good. I am in a rehab program and also volunteering because I’m trying to find a job, perhaps one that involves heavy lifting. Is there a lifting limit for people with TBI? And if so, why? I don’t want to do any more damage to my brain.
I am sorry to hear about your multiple traumatic brain injuries, and it is good to hear that you are receiving rehabilitation and doing well enough to volunteer. I applaud your efforts to re-enter society and the work force at large.
Without knowing details about your injury, it’s impossible for me to provide an answer as to what, if any, lifting restrictions you might have. Certainly, having a traumatic brain injury, in and of itself, does not lead to an automatic recommendation for lifting restrictions, but issues like balance should play a part in the decision.
I cannot envision how lifting might damage your brain unless the active lifting was putting you at some risk for falling.
I always tell my patients, “If in doubt, ask.” My suggestion is to talk to a physician who knows your case and your risk factors for injury, if any, with lifting activities. Oftentimes, patients are referred for functional capacity evaluations when questions regarding physical demand capacities need to be answered. These types of exams don’t address the challenges faced by individuals with TBI relative to such issues as the impact of fatigue, cognitive impairment, and behavior challenges to work re-entry. Best of luck to you in your work re-entry efforts.
Nathan Zasler, MD is CEO and medical director for Concussion Care Centre of Virginia, Ltd. as well as CEO and medical director for Tree of Life Services, Inc. He is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and fellowship trained in brain injury.