Do you have kids that play sports? If you do, you’ve probably had to deal with an injury somewhere down the line. Getting outdoors, exercising and moving our bodies is an excellent way to support our health, however with any physical activity comes an increased risk of injury, including concussions. Concussions are a widespread health issue that have historically lacked research, attention and priority in the wellness world, so we don’t know as much about them as we should. In recent years, however, the subject has gained increasing popular attention, both in the media (think NFL!) and among health experts, mainly because of new evidence demonstrating the long-lasting effects of brain injury, especially among children and teens.
What is a concussion?
A concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), is often the result of a forceful blow or trauma to the head. The most common causes of concussions are slips and falls, car accidents and sports-related injuries. When someone experiences a concussion, their brain literally bounces inside of their skull, causing a temporary loss of normal brain function, bruising, and neuron damage. Historically, concussions have been treated with anti-inflammatory medication, and patients are told to take time off to rest, physically and cognitively, for at least a few weeks to allow the brain to heal. New research, however, is showing that it can take several weeks to months to fully mitigate symptoms, depending on the severity of the injury. In fact, some patients report experiencing headaches and other side effects even years after their original injury, which is why a more functional treatment approach is essential to help these injuries heal optimally and to prevent longer lasting consequences. Prevention is so important for children/teens as their brains are still developing.
Here are some of our recommendations to protect yourself (and your kids) from concussions:
1. Take a high dose fish oil
Omega 3 fatty acids contain DHA and EPA which are known to be essential for optimal brain health and function. Research shows that taking a high dose fish oil can be effective when it comes to both prevention and treatment of TBI, as it calms neuro inflammation, has a protective effect on the brain, improves cognitive function and reduces nerve swelling.
2. Avoid bright lights
Light sensitivity is one of the most common symptoms of a concussion, and often shows up alongside headaches and blurred vision. To limit the severity of our symptoms and speed up recovery, it’s important to modify your environment in order to avoid any bright lights, including phones/screens.
3. Get regular acupuncture treatments
Once the initial resting period is over, acupuncture and fascial release techniques are a gentle and effective way to help mitigate concussion symptoms and help restore normal function to the body. Acupuncture at TMB is patient-specific, and addresses the underlying impairments of a concussion (the root cause) rather than the concussion itself. Regular treatments and assessments are especially important in people who are active, to ensure that the body is moving optimally AND to prevent any wear and tear that leaves us susceptible to injuries, including brain traumas like concussions. Want to book yourself in for an appointment? CLICK HERE
4. Eat healthy-fats
Although rest and environmental factors play a part, studies also show that making certain changes to our diet can be beneficial for brain trauma recovery and prevention. Did you know that a TBI can result in inflammation that can impair recovery and continues to damage healthy brain cells, even long after the concussion? That’s why eating foods that work to LOWER inflammation is extremely important. We recommend sneaking in plenty of healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, wild-caught fatty fish and avocados into your diet!
5. Rest your mind and body
As with any other injury, rest is essential when it comes to healing a concussion. When it comes to resting our brains, we need to limit both physical AND cognitive activity. This means limiting any brain stimulation, so no exercising, no scrolling through our phones, no television, no homework or anything else that requires focus or concentration. It’s also ideal to stay in a dark or dimly lit room and to even minimize sounds until symptoms subside, which can vary depending on the severity of the injury.
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