Naturopathic Concussion Management
I wanted to discuss concussions today since this is an extremely common injury with potential long-term health effects. A concussion is a form of “Traumatic Brain Injury” (TBI) that results in temporary loss of normal brain function. We’ve become much more aware of concussions from sports; however, it’s important to mention that concussions are common for everyone. In fact, it’s estimated that 75% of people will experience a concussion in their lifetime!
Have you ever fallen off your bike, slipped on some ice, gotten into a car accident, or had a hit to the head? Well, these are just some of the ways that anyone can get a concussion. A concussion doesn’t even have to involve contact with the head – a concussion can occur with any slip, fall, collision, etc. that causes the brain to shake within the skull.
When a concussion occurs, it’s very likely that you will experience some undesirable symptoms soon after your injury. It’s estimated that 80-90% of people will have symptoms subside within 1 to 2 weeks. However, there’s approximately 10-20% of people whose symptoms will persist beyond this timeline.
If you’ve experienced a concussion and you have symptoms that do not subside, this may be an indication of “Post-Concussion Syndrome”. Post-concussion syndrome can involve persistent symptoms such as:
– Light or Noise Sensitivity
– Loss of Balance
– Blurry Vision
– Anxiety or Depression
– Brain Fog
– Poor Focus
– Memory Issues
– Neck or Shoulder Pain
When a concussion occurs, there are several changes that occur rapidly within the brain and nervous system that contribute to the symptoms noted above:
1) Increased Inflammation
2) Oxidative Stress
3) Excessive Neuronal Stimulation
4) Hormone Imbalances
5) Neurotransmitter Imbalances
6) Mitochondrial Dysfunction
7) Nutrient Deficiencies
For a short time after experiencing a concussion, it’s always best to practice physical and mental rest. This brief period of total rest involves:
– No TV, computers, phones, or video games
– No reading or homework
– No exercise
– Getting lots of sleep
– Sit or lie in a dark room (if needed)
Shortly after this period of rest, it’s usually very helpful to begin to introduce some physical activity. Exercise can actually help to improve blood flow, and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress – helping to reduce post-concussion symptoms. It’s also very important to follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet. An Anti-Inflammatory Diet will typically exclude junk foods, high-sugar foods, dairy products, and processed foods, while incorporating lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, etc. We have our patients complete a Food Sensitivity Blood Test to help identify and eliminate any other foods increasing inflammation in your body.
Nutritional and herbal supplementation are an important part of our treatment plan for post-concussion syndrome. Fish oil is a key player in concussion management because the EPA and DHA are neuro-protective and anti-inflammatory. We can also use a multitude of antioxidant supplements to combat the oxidative stress that occurs post-concussion.
In addition to daily supplementation, we often use Intravenous Nutrient Therapy for concussion management. IV Nutrient Therapy allows us to deliver higher dosages of key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants directly into the bloodstream and to the cells! Most notably, our IV Glutathione treatments aid in concussion symptom management due to it’s potent antioxidant and neuro-protective actions.
We can also utilize Acupuncture in our treatment protocols. Acupuncture is great for balancing our nervous system and stress response. As such, we often use this to help with headaches, insomnia, mood issues, pain or muscle tension, and more.
Concussions are very common and many people experience debilitating long-term symptoms. If you are suffering with any post-concussion symptoms – we can help! You can call or email our Naturopathic Clinic to book your appointment now!
Yours in health,
Dr. Michael Morsillo, H.B.Sc., N.D.
16655 Yonge St., Newmarket, ON
905-898-1844 ext. 135