Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussions have been more and more understood in the last 10 years. The most important message to pass on about concussions is that you can never take it too seriously. Over the past 8-10 years, A LOT of new information has come out, changing how we manage concussions in-office. Up until that point, high school, college, and professional athletes would suffer a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), or all the way up to a severe concussion with a loss of consciousness, and proper post-injury care was minimal and causing long-term debilitating neurological problems.
A few rules to go by:
Rule one, no two concussions are the same. This is because all athletic injuries involving a hit to the head are unique, and everyone’s brain is unique. However, common symptoms, of concussions include, but are not limited to, dizziness, headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, easily agitated, blurred vision, seeing abnormal colors or shapes, anxiety, depression, and even personality changes.
Rule two, make sure you get checked.
Make sure the practitioner is well informed about concussions and qualified. At HML we have training to rule out a concussion and understand the latest guidelines on post-concussive care. Because guidelines change every 4 years at the minimum, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest information for some practitioners. Because of that, some practitioners may overlook symptoms of concussion and the individual may not get the necessary care needed.
Rule three, it takes a village. Because concussions can be very complex, it is a good idea to have multiple cooks in the kitchen. Functional Neurologist, Medical Neurologist, Optometrist, Physical Therapist, Counselor, and even a Nutritionist.
Lastly, one HUGE piece we see overlooked in ALL patients that we have (had) the blessing of working with that had a concussion is addressing inflammation. When the brain takes a hit to the head the brain’s immune system turns on. That is a good thing at first, it starts the healing process. However, this immune system doesn’t have a good off switch and can be detrimental if not addressed. At HML, all of our care plans with concussions involve a functional medicine work up. This work up involves specific anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative supplements and diet changes to turn this immune response down.
In our experience, there is a good portion of people whom suffer from what was called Post-Concussion Syndrome, now called Persistent Concussion Symptoms (PCS). PCS is largely caused by long-term inflammation and must be addressed. Research shows that PCS can wreak the most havoc within a time window of 5-20 years after the initial injury! And to top all of that off, quite a few people suffer multiple concussions, which create a compounding effect of PCS. All of this occurs from changes in one of the major brains supporting cells called microglia. The microglia change physical form and become less effective; this is called microglial priming. Once microglia are primed it is the equivalent of hard boiling an egg, the physical structure cannot be changed back. This does create long-term problems, however with the correct diet, supplements and lifestyle changes, it can be managed.
Concussions can be scary, and at times go overlooked. If you are suffering from persistent concussive symptoms, or know someone who is, we offer complimentary consultations to see if there is anything, we can do for you or your loved one! Call 816-768-6000 or schedule right here: https://hmlfunctionalcare.janeapp.com