Concussion and Chiropractic Care
Concussion is a term that many people know of and have possibly experienced at some point in their life. What a lot of people don’t realize is that concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury with many health effects, both instantly and into the future. Concussions can occur from either direct or indirect blows to the head and there are many signs and symptoms that people can present with. Some signs and symptoms include forgetfulness, mood changes, slowed reaction times, headaches, fogginess, sleep disturbances and/or fatigue, among others. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreational activities every single year. With that many concussions per year, many people decide that ‘rest and relaxation’ is the best remedy to help the brain heal. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
There are many options to help your brain and body heal post-concussion that many people are not aware of.
1-chiropractic care—to help manage the physical symptoms of concussion, like neck pain, headaches, and potentially weakened ligaments through a whiplash-like injury, through specific corrective exercises. Chiropractic care is generally a low risk treatment, it is a very safe form of care for people of all ages.
2- Adding antioxidants into your diet- Brain injuries cause a cascade of free radical formation; therefore, adding supplements into your diet to decrease inflammation and free radicals is very beneficial to helping your brain heal after an injury. Some supplements that have been shown in research and studies to help the brain heal right after and chronically, are omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. These two supplements reduce inflammation of the neuronal tissues, help stop the cell death process associated with traumatic brain injuries and they also help reduce oxidative stress. According to a study posted in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs in 2011, a six month trial of ginko, vinpocetine, acetyl-l-carnitine, huperzine, alpha-lipoic acid, n-acetyl-cysteine, multivitamins, and over 5 g of omega-3 fatty acids daily yielded improved performance in cognitive testing and increased perfusion (function) in single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan.
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21615001). Other supplements that are known to help with lowering brain inflammation include: resveratrol, curcumin, catechin, and rutin. Feverfew, gingko Biloba and vinpocetine all help to also increase oxygen to the brain, lowering inflammation levels. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has also been shown to increase blood flow to the brain to help heal brain tissue. Lots of research shows that HBOT improves brain blood supply, reduces inflammation, and enhances neurogenesis, which improves recovery after injury to the central nervous system (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3231808/)dfree)Supplementing with Acetyl-L-Carnitine to increase Acetylcoline in the brain has also been shown to help with cognitive processes and reversing neurological decline.
3-infrared lighting- Near infrared light has been looked into due to its ability to modify mechanisms related to healing, especially when used at specific frequencies of wavelengths. NIR has been shown to help wound healing, muscle repair, stimulate growth of new blood vessels, and activate anti-inflammatory processes. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4870908/)
4- Reducing cortisol- Cortisol is a stress hormone that increases inflammation in the body and brain. Any high amount of physical or emotional stress increases cortisol, as well as alcohol intake. Learning ways to help reduce emotional stress and decrease drinking alcohol will help heal your brain after a concussion. There are breathing techniques that help stimulate the vagus nerve in your body, which turn on the parasympathetic nervous system. Breathing in through your belly for four seconds, holding your breath in for four seconds and slowly exhaling will help stimulate this nervous system response. Chiropractic care has also been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve, allowing the body to be in a more-healing friendly state. Humming, meditation, washing your face with cold water and balancing your gut microbiome health can help decrease inflammation by stimulating the vagus nerve.
All in all, there are many healthy ways that have been shown to help with the repercussions of concussion. Corrective chiropractic care, certain supplementation methods and practicing a healthier diet will a