A child with an acquired brain injury playing with a colourful xylophone and surrounded by other musical instruments as part of a music therapy session

An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has happened since birth. There are many causes such as trauma, a stroke or a tumour. Effects can be wide ranging from balance problems, speech problems, muscle weakness, to cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects. These effects can be extremely difficult for the individual and their families to cope with, so rehabilitation needs to be effective in order to help re-build confidence and independence in one’s abilities.

Neurologic Music Therapy and acquired brain injury

With an acquired brain injury, Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) has been proven to be an effective treatment in helping to improve the quality of life of the injured individual. Verbal communication can be improved greatly through music. Those who have suffered a stroke for example, and have lost the ability to communicate verbally, can use music to help develop new pathways in the brain so that verbal communication can be learnt again. Music therapy works by connecting music and movement by accessing undamaged parts of the brain to learn and re-teach functions that have been impaired.

Ways NMT can help individuals with an acquired brain injury include:

  • Rhythm aids movement and walking
  • Playing instruments improve movement
  • Singing helps improve speech and voice quality
  • Listening to music helps improve mood, thinking & pain management
  • Playing music can enhance a sense of wellbeing

Music, for any one of us, can help improve mood, but when living with an acquired brain injury, it becomes an even more important part of rehabilitation to help elevate mood. The music needs to be personally tailored to the individual so to evoke a strong, emotional response, and the music therapist works closely with each individual to ensure the music choice is right for them to achieve their goals. Studies have also shown music therapy can help reduce agitation & aggressive behaviour as well as improve mood, it can also assist communication and improve physical coordination. Music is a powerful tool not to be underestimated.

In general, music therapy, allows people to become more aware of themselves, their actions and the overall coordination of movement. It identifies emotion by using musical aspects, tones and rhythms to communicate with the different receptors in the brain.

As a result of music processors being present all over the brain and despite the damaged area, musical neurons are used to gain access to the non-damaged parts. It can stimulate and develop new aspects such as walking or communicating, taking away the focus from learning directly. It allows the body and functions of the brain to respond to music and re-learn behaviours that were lost, helping individuals gain back control of their life.

Produced by Chroma

This article was produced for Brain Injury Group by Chroma, the UKs leading national provider of arts therapies services. In addition to neurological music therapy, Chroma provide art psychotherapy and dramatherapy.

Chroma


What is the Brain Injury Group?

The Brain Injury Group exists to support individuals and families affected by brain injury and the health and social care professionals working in this specialist field. Our mission is to provide anyone affected by brain injury with access to advice on legal, financial and welfare benefit issues delivered by proven experts in the field who have been chosen not only for their skills and knowledge, but also for their passion and dedication to helping people.

How can Brain Injury Group help you?

If you would like advice about music therapy, bringing a clinical negligence claim, capacity, managing the award of compensation or any other aspect of brain injury welfare, legal or financial advice, we have specialist brain injury solicitors and Court of Protection solicitors who can assist.

You can find full details of Brain Injury Group members on our website or there are several ways to get in touch:

  1. Call us on 0800 612 9660 or 01737 852203
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Complete this short enquiry form and we’ll get back to you