Even mild head injuries, jarring or car accidents can lead to concussions. You don’t have to lose consciousness in order to sustain some impact. You don’t even have to hit your head. A concussion occurs when the brain moves or twists inside the skull which causes the brain to swell. Adolescents are particularly at risk because of their developing brains.
Repeated concussions are a risk factor for learning difficulties in school and for dementia later in life.
The most common symptoms are fuzzy thinking and headache. In more severe cases, the headache can escalate, a person might become confused or lose consciousness or have a seizure. This can indicate that there is bleeding inside the skull and is an emergency situation. It requires a trip to the emergency room right away.
Other common symptoms are nausea, forgetfulness, sensitivity to light and noise, irritability, and fatigue.
Treating a concussion is very important. The brain needs rest. It is important to not overstimulate it or it can take longer to heal. This means no computer, phone, TV, reading, or bright lights. If you have to go on any of these devices, then set a timer for ten minutes and rest with your eyes closed for 10-15 minutes when it goes off. Avoid excessive caffeine and no alcohol as these can cause your brain to swell further. It is also advised to avoid ibuprofen in case of a bleed and if you need something for pain, use Arnica and Tylenol.
Homeopathic Arnica three times a day or more can be very helpful.
Other things that help with recovery include fish oil (buy a high-grade fish oil not the cheap stuff), turmeric, ginger, saffron (a few threads in hot water daily), and the mushroom, Lion’s Mane.
For my patients I also find that acupuncture can be very helpful and have seen significant cognitive improvements after a few sessions (“dives”) in a mild hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
Hyperbaric chambers are traditionally used for treating diabetic or other non-healing ulcers, decompression sickness, and other hard-to-treat infections. Mild hyperbaric oxygen chambers are used for other conditions such as brain injuries, cerebral palsy, autism, chronic fatigue, and sports injuries.
It usually takes 6 weeks to 6 months to recover fully from a concussion. Slow down. It’s a good time to start practicing meditation since you are being forced to not stress your brain.
By Jennifer Means, ND, LAc