Healing Your Brain After a Concussion

Concussions affect millions of people each year and lead to a wide array of symptoms that include: headaches, difficulty concentrating and nausea. In our clinic, people come to us for concussion testing and treatment. We offer natural, non drug therapies that actually help heal injury to the brain as a result of a concussion.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion occurs when the brain crashes into the hard bone of the skull. This can happen from a direct blow (as in a sports injury), a whiplash injury (common in auto accidents), or even a fall. This direct damage to the brain causes inflammation and may result in:

  • HeadacheConcussion Treatment
  • Nausea
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Seeing stars
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fogginess
  • Trouble balancing
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound

What Happens to the Brain After a Concussion?

Over half of your brain is immune tissue. When a concussion occurs, immune cells in your brain are activated. Think of these cells as vacuum cleaners. They go around and clean up debris left over from the resulting inflammation. They tend to stay on anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to do their job and then calm down. But if the brain is not properly taken care of, these “vacuum cleaners” will stay on for months, which means you will continue to experience symptoms. This is why it is crucial to have a proper assessment and treatment of any injury to the brain.

Assessing and Treating a Concussion

Our chiropractors combine a standard concussion assessment with a functional neurological examination to pinpoint specific areas of the brain that have been impacted. We examine each area of the brain and brainstem to first see if a concussion has taken place, then decide what type of treatment is necessary to help the brain heal. This includes:

  • Nutrition Support to decrease inflammation and allow the healing process to begin
  • Brain Rehabilitation using exercises that target specific pathways in the brain that have been damaged

If left untreated, damage to the brain may become permanent and irreversible, so it is important to take action immediately. If you or anyone you know has suffered from the effects of a concussion, a thorough assessment and targeted natural therapies are available to help heal your brain.

Erik Starr, DC

Erik Starr, DC

 

 

Baseline Concussion Screening and Sports Physicals

At Team Health Care Clinic, we enjoy the opportunity to connect with our community in general but particularly our local athletes. To that end, our chiropractors, medical providers, and physical therapists created a unique sports physical not offered in other clinics.

Any local athlete who enters our clinic receives a baseline concussion tests that will be used to compare in the future should a concussion occur. Our clinic uses the Mayo associated King Devick eye test as well as a high tech medical device that precisely measures an athletes balance. King Devick Test

Mayo is impressed with the King Devick test because it is an objective eye test that athletes can’t manipulate. Since at least 55% of our brain is used for eye movement, many concussions are demonstrated as eye malfunction including difficulty with reading, computer use and screen use in general. The problem is the standard eye exam in a doctor’s clinic simply isn’t able to observe subtle eye deficiency.

The King Devick does this so well that 12 of 30 National Hockey League team trainers have now switched to the King Devick test over other outdated tests. The trainers get the player’s baseline score before the season begins then retest it from the locker room after a suspected concussion. It over rides the zealous athlete who wants to return to play and convinces the trainer before they are ready.

Symptoms of Concussions

In addition to eye movement deficiency, we often see concussed athletes lose their balance and spatial awareness. Think of a boxer who gets punched too hard and staggers to the corner. Sometimes it is that obvious and everyone in the gym can see they are concussed. This is an obvious cerebellum injury and can affect all aspects of brain function even though the imbalance is what catches our eye. But how do we determine when they are fully recovered and it is safe to return?

We use balance plates, a medical device that can measure their baseline balance score and compare after the injury. It also does a comparison to others in the same age group. It is more sensitive and objective than typical balance tests.

Concussion Treatment

Last year a few local athletes did return with suspicion of a concussion. We were able to retest them with the King Devick and balance plates tests to determine if they had a concussion. In those athletes that did, we were able to incorporate our team to determine the best course of therapy.Football player

The options may include vestibular (balance) exercises, eye exercises, light and sound therapy, interactive metronome and anti-inflammatory supplements for the brain to return the athlete to full recovery as soon as possible. In some cases, we will even do an EEG/Brain Map to determine if Neurofeedback or TMS is an option.

If you have an athlete who has not received a baseline test, schedule an appointment for a sports physical and the concussion screening is included. If your child is injured, don’t put them on the sidelines and just hope they get better with time. Consider an exam to determine the precise rehab protocol for the region of the brain injured.

Joe Bertsch, DC

Joe Bertsch, DC