June is Brain Injury Awareness Month and most brain injuries fall into 1 of 2 categories:
- Traumatic brain injury which involves physical trauma due to accidents, neurosurgery etc.
- Non-traumatic brain injury from an internal or external source such as stroke, brain tumour, infection, substance abuse etc.
The team at Apple Creek takes a special interest in one of the most common brain injuries, concussions. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that usually occurs when the head is hit with a moving object. However, anything that causes the brain to move significantly in the skull can cause a concussion. For example a hard fall on the bum can travel up and lead to a concussion. Concussions have always been a common injury in the sports world but they have been getting a lot more attention recently as people really come to terms with the negative impact they can have.
Typical Signs and Symptoms
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Seeing flashing lights
- Confusion, feeling spacey or not thinking straight.
- Changes in balance and coordination
For most people, the symptoms are temporary and they can return to daily functioning soon after the injury. For other people the effects last longer requiring treatment, and some people (especially in the sporting world) go back to play too soon and can receive a subsequent concussion leading to more prolonged symptoms.
Here at Apple Creek, we provide a full and comprehensive treatment plan for anyone who has suffered from a concussion, whether from a sporting injury, a fall, a motor vehicle accident etc. Athletic Therapists or Chiropractors can provide the initial assessment and treatment including impact testing. We also offer baseline impact testing for many sports teams in the area.
Naturopathic Medicine can also benefit the concussed individual, mainly through the addition of supplements, homeopathics and acupuncture. Basically a concussion can be treated similar to any other injury in the body and we help to decrease inflammation in the brain the same way you would in the rest of the body. NDs can also help with the persistent symptoms such as headaches, lack of concentration, and pain etc. This can be done with the homeopathic head trauma protocol, which focuses on reducing inflammation as well as specific symptoms, diet modification and acupuncture to help rebalance the system.
It is extremely important to rest after a concussion or other brain injury and to see your doctor and other health care providers if symptoms persist. People who have had a severe concussion are at an increased risk of developing a seizure disorder such as epilepsy, and if there have had multiple brain injuries there can be long lasting or progressive cognitive impairment that limits activities of daily living.
A few words of wisdom: if you play a high risk sport (such as football, hockey, rugby etc) then it might be a good idea to have a baseline impact test so if there is a concussion it can be compared to the baseline results. The time it takes to recover from a concussion is variable so do not return to sports or other activities until the signs and symptoms have dissipated. Do not be afraid to contact your health care provider and feel free to call us at 905-475-0484 to get more details.
Dr. Joanne, ND