7 Ways to Manage a Concussion
Concussions, appear to be happening more often than ever. I can think of 6 kids (of friends and family) who have had one in the last year alone and I’m sure you can think of a few as well! And this is validated in many statistics around the world. In Canada, “brain injuries made up 80% of emergency department visits, out of all head injuries from sports and recreation.” for those age 5-19, according to research.
However, concussions have become such a common injury, that people may forget just how serious they are…but they are in fact brain injuries and must be taken very seriously, as validated by the Mayo Clinic.
It is important to get the right diagnosis immediately.
Maybe you can relate?
My niece, unfortunately didn’t get the right treatment quickly enough, and as a result, missed her entire 7th grade after a double concussion. She was unable to play sports without headaches…2 years later. Imagine how much that would impact a 12 year old?
The first hit happened innocently.
She was tossed off a tube being pulled behind a boat and then 2 weeks later she was knocked in the head during a basketball game. Both were seemingly inconsequential on their own. After the first hit, she experienced minor headaches. After the second, because there wasn’t enough time to heal, the cells had not returned to their normal shape, and so the result was worse. What followed were headaches, excessive sleep, lethargy and depression.
Concussions can happen anywhere, anytime. You don’t have to be a competitive athletes to sustain a head injury.
Any blow to the head, can cause enough injury and may lead to headaches, or concentration, memory, judgment, balance and coordination issues.
Though recovery is possible, concussions injure your brain to some extent, and if they are not given time and rest and heal properly – long term threats to brain health are possible.
If you think you might have a concussion, book a free discovery call and talk to an Osteopathic Manual Therapist to find out!
Below are suggestions on how to speed healing.
Rest is the most important step. DO NOT push it. Listen to your doctor and do not exert yourself or your brain in any way. Rest is the most important treatment after a concussion because it helps the brain to heal. This means no TV, screens, exercise, and even the blue light that is emitted from screens. Even daylight can sometimes be too much for the brain. You can read more about that here.
2.Get your Omega 3 fish oils
Give your brain what it needs to heal. Omega-3 fish oils have a number of proven health benefits. When it comes to migraines, both EPA and DHA are essential for regulating our brain function, nerve impulses and inflammation.
Studies have shown that supplementing with fish oil daily can help reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. It can also be taken for preventative measures. When you go into an injury with healthy and resilient cells, you are able to heal more quickly.
While the general recommendation is to take one to two grams daily of high-potency fish oil, Dr. Steelsmith states that “it is a good idea for people who have suffered head injuries to take up to four grams as quickly as possible after the injury and to continue taking four grams once daily for up to seven days afterward.” This advice is based on a recent animal study from West Virginia University School of Medicine reported in the Journal of Neurosurgery, which demonstrated that taking high-potency fish oil that contained large amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can assist in healing concussion.
This will help decrease brain inflammation and can decrease the fogginess, memory loss and headaches that are often associated with concussions. But it is important to consult a Naturopath or your healthcare provider first. Some fish oils may cause too much thinning in the blood and so work with a knowledgable expert, especially if you are on medication.
3. Load up on Magnesium
Magnesium if another helpful supplements to take. Getting up to 400 mg a day can speed healing as well.
- Both Magnesium Citrate and Magnesium Oxide have been proven to help reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks and both are relatively inexpensive supplements. Just watch your digestion…it can speed things up! Check out this study.
- To get magnesium in foods, eat more pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds, cashews, avocado, bananas, and even 70% dark chocolate. You can consult with a Nutritionist for a more comprehensive diet protocol.
4. Load up on antioxidants and healthy protein.
Eat a healthy diet with abundant protein and foods high in antioxidants like blueberries and other purple/red foods. These will help strengthen blood vessel walls – which includes the cells in the brain! You can supplement the antioxidant you get in food by taking up to 3000 mg a day of vitamin C, which can also help reduce the oxidative stress in the brain that occurs with head trauma. For more support with a healing diet, book in with a Registered Nutritionist here.
5. Visit your Osteopath
When you have trauma to your head, always remember, your head is connected to your neck which is connected to your brain through the brain stem. Can you see the connection? Furthermore, the vagus nerve exits the base of the skull. The Vagus nerve is important in managing your nervous or parasympathetic system. All healing happens when the parasympathetic system is dominant over the sympathetic system. All of these systems need to be balanced. Bio-mechanics play a big part in health therefore, paying a visit is beneficial to ensure all angels are being addressed. See how Osteopathy works here.or schedule an appointment here.
6. Try therapeutic grade essential oils.
Frankincense essential oil (boswellia errata) by DoTerra. This powerful essential oil aids in oxygenation of the blood to the brain and addresses inflammation.
In studies performed at Vienna and Berlin Universities, researchers discovered that sesquiterpenes, found in essential oils (Vetiver, Patchouli, Cedarwood, Sandalwood and Frankincense), can increase levels of oxygen in the brain by up to 28 percent (Nasel, 1992).
When the brain receives and absorbs more oxygen, the brain will heal faster.
How to use frankincense oil to recover from a concussion:
- Immediately after a concussion, add a few drops to the bridge of the nose, behind the ears, on the back of the neck, to reflex points such as the inside of the wrists, between the toes and on the bottoms of feet.
- Diffuse frankincense oil in a diffuser while laying quiet in a dark room. The diffusion of the oil creates a warm and healing scent that assists in mind healing and preserving the brain’s ability to retain and utilize information.
- Add 3-5 few drops to an unscented carrier oil (such as almond or jojoba) or lotion and rub on any desired part of the body.
- For a quick brain boost in the weeks following a concussion, place a few drops on palms or a handkerchief, rub together, hold to nose and mouth, and breathe in deeply.
- Put a drop of frankincense on your thumbs and press to the roof of your mouth until pain subsides.
- Add 10 drops to a warm bath or shower, both morning and night.
- Mix Past Tense and In Tune for ongoing headaches. Lavender, Peppermint and Frankincense diluted together in a roller bottle is also an effective and natural way to address head tension. To purchase essential oils, call the office, or connect with Linda here.
7. Think Prevention.
Taking fish oils daily can help reduce the impact of head trauma according to a study done by the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
Visit Balance Point Health Centre for a Game Plan for any athletic endeavour or to ensure you are doing everything in your power to protect your noggin!fun
Does your childhood have anything to do with how your body functions today?
We think so…
Linda Ljucovic, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Dave Ellis, Manual Osteopath, Oakville
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