Recognizing Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury – TBI
We are hearing more and more about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) everyday…it can be a devastating injury that can totally change a person from what was “their normal”.
One of the best examples of how a person can receive a TBI can be observed on a weekend afternoon, watching your favorite football team crash into their opponents. Oftentimes when a player is injured, you will hear the commentators discussing the player’s injury, and if the head is involved, the player won’t be allowed to play again until “concussion protocols” are followed. This may sound a little overprotective, but it’s really looking out for the player’s best interest…if the player resumes playing before a TBI is healed, he could receive another hit to the head causing even more damage. Each time this happens, the damage increases, causing it to last longer and longer, or even causing permanent damage.
Other leading causes of TBI are car accidents, falls, stroke, infections, tumors, lack of oxygen, or damage from toxins or chemicals.
TBI’s, from concussions, happen when the brain is basically assaulted by an abrupt linear or rotational acceleration/ deceleration, which can damage the neurons in any part of the brain, and can also damage the soft tissue in the upper part of the neck, including:
- spinal nerves
- supportive ligaments and muscles
- blood vessels
This is a situation that can result in overall inflammation and pain.
The brain has an immune system…to heal
The Glial cells compose the brain’s immune system, and once there is an injury such as this, they go to work clearing the debris left behind from any damaged cells. In about 7-10 days you will see a reduction in inflammation, new cells are produced and the symptoms will begin to ebb.
If the injuries are too severe, there hasn’t been proper treatment, or the brain isn’t in good health before the occurrence of the injury, TBI symptoms can last much longer, as long as months or years.
Symptoms of TBI or concussion:
- Sleep problems
- Brain fog/slower thought processes
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Lack of balance
- Blurred or double vision
Interesting to note, the person with the brain injury, often does not recognize that they have experienced a TBI, because they may not associate the symptoms being brain related.
Oftentimes the conventional medical “rest and wait” approach can be ineffective. Symptoms can persist even though the bruises and swelling have subsided. MRI’s may be negative, despite the fact that there may still may be “functional loss”. A specific task based functional neurological exam can uncover areas in the brain which have not fully recovered, and effective therapy can be provided. There are doctors who have been trained in functional medicine to look deeper into the problem, their specialty is “functional neurology”.
Unlike medical doctors who use medication to treat your symptoms, a functional neurologist will use stimuli to reactivate neurologic pathways that are no longer functioning properly. Once a modality has been determined as effective, healing can happen quite rapidly.
Testimonial Video for Multiple Concussion Recovery.
What is Functional Neurology?
1 – Taylor CA, Bell JM, Breiding MJ, Xu L. Traumatic Brain Injury–Related Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths — United States, 2007 and 2013. MMWR Surveill Summ 2017;66(No. SS-9):1–16. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6609a1