The Long-term Impact of Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) on Brain Health

The Long-term Impact of Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) on Brain Health

Introduction to Concussion and TBI

Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are forms of brain injuries that can have significant short-term and long-term effects on brain function. Even seemingly minor blows to the head can trigger long-term brain dysfunction. These injuries can range from mild to severe. Even if you had a concussion and your MRI was normal, you can have long-term symptoms that do not resolve unless you identify and address them with specific interventions.

Recognizing Concussion and TBI Symptoms

Symptoms of concussion and TBI can vary widely depending on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:

  • Headaches and Dizziness: Often the most immediate and noticeable symptoms post-injury.
  • Motion Sickness: Often persists long after the initial head injury and seldom resolves without specific action.
  • Memory Problems: Difficulty in recalling events before or after the injury.
  • Mood Changes: Increased irritability, mood swings, or changes in personality. In fact, PTSD and chronic anxiety are not just 'mental health disorders, chemical imbalances, or psychological problems.' These mood challenges are a direct reflection of the health of the frontal lobe of your brain and can improve as brain health improves.
  • Sensory Issues: Sensitivity to light and sound, blurred vision, or ringing in the ears.

Long-Term Impact on Brain Health

While many people recover from concussions with no lasting effects, some may experience long-term consequences, such as:

  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE): A condition often found in athletes with a history of repeated head injuries.
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome: Persistent symptoms like headaches, dizziness, PTSD, and chronic anxiety that can last for weeks, months, or years.
  • Cognitive Decline:  Long-term issues with memory, concentration, focus, attention, processing speeds, brain energy and fatigue, decision-making, and executive functions.

Proactive Measures for Recovery and Brain Health

Recovery from a concussion or TBI involves both immediate and long-term strategies:

  • Immediate Attention: The older perspective of 'rest in a dark room' is not successful. Immediate action to identify the part of the brain that is injured will help predict your next steps. You need specific and sensitive vision testing (RightEye®), balance testing (BrainTracks® or BESS testing), cognitive testing (CNS VS®), VOMS assessment, and a physical exam from a provider who knows and understands brain function.

  • Medical Evaluation: Healthcare professionals can include recommendations for dietary practices, exercise and mobility strategies, hormone optimization, nutritional, and improvement of existing risk factors (irritable bowel symptoms, vascular, autoimmunity, infection history, etc.) to improve your brain health and recovery.
  • Personalized Medicine: There is no 'one-size-fits-all' recovery program. Treatments should be matched to age, sex, and existing health at the time of the head injury and along the path to recovery. Personalized approaches improve success and recovery.
  • Therapy and Rehabilitation: Appropriate therapies may include PT/OT focusing on balance, coordination, and vestibular-ocular-motor reflexes. It may also include hyperbaric oxygen therapy, audio-visual entrainment, pulsed electromagnetic fields, transcranial magnetic stimulation, chiropractic adjustment, massage, biofeedback, exercise with oxygen, red and near-infrared light therapy, etc.
  • Brain Supplements: Micronutrient support, high-dose omega-3, flavonoids, antioxidants, amino acids, vascular support, and many other nootropics may speed and support brain recovery. Many folks use supplements without the guidance to know what has been studied, what really works, and what supplement brands are reliable.
  • Home-based Treatments: Clients recover best when they are in their own environment. We offer onsite diagnostics and support, as well as telemedicine consultations for those who cannot travel.

Understanding the lasting impact of concussion or TBI is crucial for all who have experienced a brain debilitating injury. Recognizing immediate or long-lasting symptoms is key to success. If you continue with troublesome brain fog or persistent symptoms, then you need a tailored, personalized recovery plan to improve your brain health.

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