When my grandson fell in love with hockey I decided that I needed to understand more about concussions, so a lot of research has been done resulting in some of the following information.
Also in my search for information I connected with Beth Kahmann of Colorado's BRAIN Project - an organization dedicated to providing support, resources, information and advocacy for survivors of brain injuries, and the people who support them. If you are a brain injury survivor in need of an advocate you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These terms generally have the same meaning - an event has caused the brain to move quickly and stop suddenly. Known as acceleration/deceleration injury or coupe/contracoupe; often associated with whiplash.
A Look inside the Brain in an Acceleration/Deceleration/Whiplash event
The consistency of the brain is similar to soft tofu; it is enveloped by membrane and has cerebral spinal fluid flowing around it. It is composed of millions of fine nerve cells called neurons.
During this event the head is thrown forward which causes the brain to move backwards in the skull, and when the skull is thrown backward the brain moves forward.
The mechanical force of this injury is transmitted to the brain causing compression and stretching to it, the membrane and the neurons possibly tearing parts of them as well as possibly damaging blood vessels. These injuries can cause inflammation
Dizziness or vertigo
Lack of awareness of suroundings
Nausea with or without vomiting
Persistent low grade headache
Poor attention and concentration
Intolerance of bright light or difficulty focusing vision
Intolerance of loud noises
Ringing in the ears
Anxiety and depressed mood
Irritability and low frustration tolerance
There does not need to be a loss of consciousness for a brain injury to occur.
While a person can "look fine", brain injury is an invisible injury.
Head injuries impair the ability to think, do and know. Memory, mood and attention are commonly affected.
My approach to therapy with head injuries is two fold - resolve the traumaand facilitate restoration of cranial health.
Trauma resolution therapy objectives:
Turn offthe self-protective mechanism - the flight/fight response - that has probably been switched on by the event. When it is turned on the body is using a lot of energy that needs to be used for healing the injury. It is also producing inflammatory hormones which cause symptoms that are similar to those of the brain injury and inhibiting the healing process.
Craniosacral therapy objectives:
•Calm the nervous system
•Release the muscles of the neck so that:
a. Proper motion of the neck and cranium can be restored
b. Restored motion can allow natural orienting to occur to further calm the nervous system
c. Movement of blood, lymph and cerebral spinal fluid is unimpaired enhancing the healing process
•Assist the body’s natural capacity for self-repair to restore healthy cranial motion creating a better environment for the brain to heal.
MILD BRAIN INJURY RECOVERY TIPS
The first 24-72 hours are most critical.
° Abstain from any brain stimulating activities – no electronic devices.
° No alcohol or recreational drugs.
° Avoid activities that are physically demanding (e.g., heavy housecleaning, weightlifting/working-out) or require a lot of concentration (e.g., balancing your checkbook). They can make your symptoms worse and slow your recovery.
° SLEEP! Brains heal when we sleep. Current medical advice says it is not necessary to wake the injured person.
° Monitor that symptoms during this time improve – not worsen. If they worsen or last longer than three weeks consult a physician. (Particularly headache, confusion, vomiting, disorientation, difficulty awakening.)
Stress can significantly increase the symptoms as well as the recovery time so avoid if at all possible.
REST IS MOST IMPORTANT!
It takes the brain up to 10 days for the chemistry to normalize, this fact should be taken into consideration before engaging in any intense activities during that time. Rest and sunshine, moderate exercise (biking, swimming) are excellent.
Consider talking with your employer or school administrators about returning to work/school gradually and about changing your schedule until you recover (e.g., half-days).
Full recovery can take several weeks to several months for symptoms to fully resolve due to many variables. Recovery is often uneven - there may be 'good' days and 'bad' days. It is very tempting to do more on the 'good' days leading to overdoing it and suffering a relapse of symptoms.
Even on 'good' days it is important to allow more time to complete tasks and to listen to the body. A brain injury cannot be 'toughed out'.
Nutrition: Healthy calories
Protein, fish, blueberries, green and chamomile tea, apples, seeds, grains and vegetable, cherries, ginger, pomegranates, walnuts. Decrease intake of processed foods.
Supplements: Quercetin, turmeric, a good multivitamin/mineral, fish oil, coconut oil.
Limit sugar intake – it increases inflammation and suppresses a growth hormone that promotes neuronal health.
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Providing Craniosacral & Somatic Trauma Resolution therapies and training in the Denver / Lakewood, Colorado area