What Not to Do When You Get a Concussion
In our last post, we described how concussions happen and how to recognize their symptoms. But just as important as recognizing a concussion is knowing what to do when you or a loved one gets one.
Independent of where the trauma occurred in the brain, certain changes in daily living are necessary to help the body recover faster and to provide the brain the nutrients and environment needed to fully heal. There are 4 areas of your daily living that will need some adjustments to help you recover from your concussion.
Certain foods are better than others for brain health. Although it would be best to follow these guidelines everyday, it's especially important after concussions. Decrease your caloric intake by eating less carbs and replacing them with high protein foods. Make sure to eat plenty of foods with vitamins and minerals. Avoid fatty foods, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
Supplements and Medication
Several supplements have been proven in studies to quicken recovery time. DHA is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain and a primary component of the cerebral cortex. Vitamin D has recently been named a "neurosteroid" and helps modulate brain development. Progesterone has been shown to help decrease the severity of brain trauma, increasing recovery speed and aiding in healing. Do NOT take ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications as they inhibit the brain's natural repair process.
Because the brain is weakened after a concussion, it has a hard time filtering out sensory input. Because of that, those who have suffered trauma to the head become extra sensitive to light and sound. In order to allow the brain to focus on healing, avoid bright lights, loud noises, and LCD screens. Rest in a quiet dark room. This will not only help the brain heal faster, but it will also reduces post-concussion symptoms such as headaches.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment works by increasing atmospheric pressure and increasing oxygen concentration to help reduce inflammation and boosting healing processes. Not only is oxygen needed for proper cellular function, but the oxygen molecule itself acts as a medication and reduces inflammation. When inflammation is reduced, blood flow can return to normal. If this treatment is done shortly after the incident, symptoms and severity can be greatly reduced as blood flow will remain continuous. At The Neuro Clinic, we have seen a lot of success in treating concussions with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Another technique used for treatment of traumatic brain injury is repetitive peripheral somatosensory stimulation (RPSS). This technique focuses on two parasympathetic nerves, the vagus and trigeminal nerve. Stimulating these nerves activates the rest and digest portion of our autonomic system, lowering blood pressure and promoting vasodilation, forcing more oxygen to flow into our tissues. This also serves as a pathway for healing neurological deficits, like concussions.
The greatest advantage of having this knowledge is the peace and reassurance it brings. Not only is it possible to fully and completely heal from head trauma, but we don't have to be in a constant state of fear. We still want to avoid head injuries at all cost, but we can feel more confident as we go out and enjoy this world.
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Vitamin D and cognitive function
Progesterone Exerts Neuroprotective Effects After Brain Injury
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can improve post concussion syndrome years after mild traumatic brain injury - randomized prospective trial
Understanding the neuroinflammatory response following concussion to develop treatment strategies