7 Holistic Therapies for Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (mTBI’s or sometimes called concussions) are an often-missed part of a patient’s medical history. Things that people may not think twice about, such as walking into a door, that time they fell backwards on roller-blades when they were 12 (personal example), that fender bender where it seemed like no immediate damage or injury. There are countless ways that people hit their head or injure their brain. Unfortunately, our culture has largely ignored these types of injuries or considers them something you need to simply “walk off” and have no lasting impact. The truth is, these injuries can have continued effects on the health of your entire body (and on those around you).
Could a Head Injury Be the Cause of Your Symptoms?
Are you wondering if a head injury from your past might be the cause of your symptoms today? Studies on the incidence of mTBI indicate there are approximately 600 per 100,000 people, per year, globally (42 million people worldwide); mild head injuries are extremely common. Research has shown that there is a high incidence of chronic complaints (Post-Concussion Syndrome – PCS) among those with as few as a single mTBI. There have been measurable impairments in various cognitive domains including executive function, learning/memory, attention, processing speed, and language function; long after the initial injury.
Those at the highest risk for mTBI sequelae include those who participate in: American football, boxing, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, soccer, military service, and victims of domestic violence. However, recurring mTBI’s can happen to anyone.
Symptoms of mTBI/ PCS:
- memory problems
- trouble concentrating
- sleeping problems
- personality changes
- sensitivity to noise and light
Does this sound like you? Do you have a history of an injury to the head, including whiplash injuries? If so, then it is possible your symptoms are a result of this past injury. You may want to consider seeing an expert who understands head injury for a full evaluation.
How Can One Resolve Chronic Symptoms of Head Injury?
- Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS). This neurofeedback device analyzes brainwaves and mirrors them back to the brain, in its own language, so that it can identify how to self-correct. This treatment alone is capable of producing fast and profound changes in cases of head injury. By far, this is the best tool I have seen for restoring brain function after head injury.
- Photonic Stimulation (laser therapy) is another amazing tool for restoring brain health. Light photons in the far infrared spectrum, when delivered with enough power and at the right frequency. will penetrate into cellular mitochondria and stimulate their activity. The end result is an antioxidant cascade that protects cellular health, repairs damaged cells, and promotes the growth of new cells.
- Physical Medicine such as Craniosacral Therapy is often essential as it can help re-align the bones of the skull that have shifted with the head injury. It improves blood flow and circulation of cerebral spinal fluid throughout the brain, leading to much quicker resolution of symptoms.
- Dietary changes are essential to restoring gut problems that have persisted since injury. Eliminating inflammatory foods while simultaneously increasing antioxidants will have a big impact.
- Deep breathing techniques (like Buteyko breathing) increase oxygenation of blood and decrease CO2 levels in the body; an excellent practice for improving brain function.
- Orthomolecular medicine is the use of high dose nutrient therapies to correct errors in biochemistry. For example, those who are depressed, unmotivated, lack energy, have a weak memory, and struggle with addiction since head injury are likely deficient in factors used to create dopamine, adrenaline, or opioids necessary for normal brain function. Supplementing with amino acids such as D,L – Phenylalanine and the necessary co-factors for producing these neurotransmitters can be very effective at alleviating symptoms.
- Homeopathic remedies are an excellent tool for stimulating the body’s self-regulating mechanisms. There are many appropriate remedies to use based on the specifics of a person’s symptoms. I do not recommend pursuing homeopathy on your own, rather, find a practitioner who uses homeopathy to identify the best remedy for your symptoms.
- Herbal medicine is an easy to employ method for improving brain health. Ginkgo biloba is well researched for improving blood flow to the brain. Curcumin can help bring down inflammation for those still experiencing brain inflammation. Other herbs can be used to increase lymphatic drainage to assist in cerebral blood flow and detoxification of inflammatory compounds.
There are many methods that can be used in the recovering of mTBI. I highly recommend working with someone who is an expert in head injury to assist you in putting together a comprehensive treatment plan. Treating your symptoms holistically will always be the fastest and most complete route to a full recovery.
Dr. Schull is a naturopathic physician who focuses on brain, neurological health, and microbiome medicine. He practices at Pediatric & Family Center for Natural Medicine in Wallingford, CT. For further information and scheduling, visit: www.naturopathicanswer.com.
To schedule a 15 minute meet and greet, call the office at 203-265-0444.