Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury, often referred to as TBI, is most often an acute event similar to other injuries. That is where the similarity between traumatic brain injury and other injuries ends. One moment the person is normal and the next moment life has abruptly changed. In most other aspects, a traumatic brain injury is very different. Since our brain defines who we are, the consequences of a brain injury can affect all aspects of our lives, including our personality. A brain injury is different from a broken limb or punctured lung. An injury in these areas limit the use of a specific part of your body, but your personality and mental abilities remain unchanged. Most often, these body structures heal and regain their previous function. Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries. Recovery is a functional recovery, based on mechanisms that remain uncertain. No two brain injuries are alike and the consequence of two similar injuries may be very different. Symptoms may appear right away or may not be present for days or weeks after the injury.
A brain injury can be classified as mild if loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation is shorter than 30 minutes. While MRI and CAT scans are often normal, the individual has cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration. These injuries are commonly overlooked. Even though this type of TBI is called “mild”, the effect on the family and the injured person can be devastating. Severe brain injury is associated with loss of consciousness for more than 30 minutes and memory loss after the injury or penetrating skull injury longer than 24 hours. The deficits range from impairment of higher level cognitive functions to comatose states. Survivors may have limited function of arms or legs, abnormal speech or language, loss of thinking ability or emotional problems. The range of injuries and degree of recovery is very variable and varies on an individual basis.
• After formal inpatient rehabilitation, arrange for outpatient therapy in the home, or, if necessary, in a residential facility. • Refrain from using substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, as they can affect the brain more than they did prior to injury. • Educate the patient on the best therapeutic exercises to modulate levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), such as those for improved cardiovascular activity. • Practice good sleep habits to recover from mental and physical fatigue. • Accept long-term emotional support; stay away from negative people.
Dietary Tips and Caveats:
• Consider the ketogenic and/or low carb diet for healthier brain function. • Stay well-hydrated; dehydration impairs brain function. • Choose healthy fats and high quality whole protein sources; avoid ALL fried foods and partially hydrogenated fats. • Avoid sugar-laden foods and high fructose corn syrup; avoid blood sugar fluctuations which can negatively impact brain function. • Eat a gluten-free, anti-inflammatory diet. • Eat foods high in neuron-protecting vitamin E such as raw nuts, oils, raw wheat germ and spinach. • Consume adequate amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids which can be obtained daily through 5-9 servings of vegetables/fruit.
Neurofeedback and TBI's
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in problems with cognition, behavior, emotional sensitivity, and attention. Patients can frequently become much more impulsive, appear to have poor judgment, have memory and word finding problems, and often are not very aware of their problems. There can also be significant deficits in planning and organizing. With neurofeedback, we can help to retrain the brain to function normally. Using an EEG to measure progress, neurofeedback works to restore brain waves to their normal wavelength and amplitude.
Chiropractic and TBI's
In a healthy brain and nervous system, there is a loop of communication between the brain and the tissues of the body. These signals go through the spinal canal and out the spinal nerves. The brain is protected by the skull. Cerebro-spinal fluid is pumped up through the brain, via a natural pumping action of the tailbone or sacrum. Every time you walk or take a breath, sacral motion pumps the fluid up through your brain. As the pressure changes in your brain, joints in your skull (called sutures) slide, as a normal part of brain function and blood flow. The top bone in your neck, called the first cervical vertebrae or atlas, gives the brain 90% of the information it receives from your body. Head trauma not only bruises the brain, but stops these three key elements of a healthy brain. The healthy brain requires nervous system activation and fuel. After head trauma, the sutures of the skull are fixed and the sacrum is locked, thus disrupting normal CSF and blood flow in the brain. The atlas is fixated and misaligned, limiting the normal nerve activation of the brain. Specific Sacral, Cranial and Atlas adjustments restore normal motion and position, thus restoring fuel, blood and nerve supply to the brain, allowing the brain to heal to its fullest potential.