We have all learned about the consequences of repetitive concussive injuries sustained on the football field by professional athletes. Cognitive decline, brain fog, anger, memory loss, personality changes and more. But you don’t have to be in the NFL to be at risk for a concussion because, in reality, we are all at risk for a concussive injury. Head hits and injuries can occur in daily activities – slips and falls, everyday play, car accidents – really any activity where a head hit or head injury takes place can result in a concussion. As the result of a sudden blow, jolt, or change of direction (e.g., whiplash), the brain suddenly shifts within the skull. This can result in torn nerve axons, bruising, and damage to blood vessels. If not treated properly, damage and inflammation can adversely affect brain function, even long after the initial injury.
Because children’s brains are still growing, they are especially vulnerable to the long-term effects of a concussion. Damage caused by a concussive injury can impede normal brain function and development. The customary advice given is to ‘wait and rest’ when your child sustains a head hit. However, if you observe that your child is experiencing headaches, light sensitivity, vision problems, difficulty concentrating, balance problems, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, you need to take more aggressive action.
Potential long-term effects of childhood concussions include abnormal brain activity that lasts for years, memory problems, attention deficits, difficulty handling anger, language impairment, personality changes, anxiety and depression, difficulty making decisions, “foggy” thinking, and more.
Fortunately, the more we learn about the brain, the better we are able to treat concussions and prevent negative long-term effects. For patients that seek care close to the time of the concussive injury, we can take immediate steps to minimize damage. We seek to prevent further neuronal injury by reducing the inflammatory cascade that is set in motion after the initial brain injury occurs. Use of select anti-inflammatory nutrients and homeopathics is key at this juncture. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a powerful tool that helps to reduce inflammation and speed the healing process.
Neurocognitive testing and brain imaging can show the areas of weakness, damage and abnormal brain waves. With the use of multiple neurotherapies, such as neurostimulation, neurofeedback, phototherapy/photobiomodulation, activated PRP, and more, we can enhance your brain’s ability to recover from your traumatic brain injury and help to restore your brain function.
So, do you remember? Just because you are no longer a child, nor a professional athlete, if you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above that are commonly associated with a concussive injury, it is prudent to undergo baseline testing and neurocognitive evaluation to look for an old brain injury. That slip on the ice where your head hit the frozen ground, the years ago “rear-ender” car accident when you sustained a whip lash, your big sister dropping you out of the crib, that “oh no” fall off the ladder from your gutter cleaning days, the accidental “golf club” head hit from your buddy when you were a professional miniature golf pro may still be lingering in your brain. (And, yes, we can “see” it). You owe it to your brain (and yourself) to be evaluated and treated.
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