Understanding some of the mechanisms that contribute to concussion and long term effects that accompany this, one of the treatments we can use to support recovery is diet. This can take a variety of forms based on the patient, their symptoms, support system, and baseline diet. One of the most impactful diet interventions I've found in patients dealing with concussion or mTBI is to use a ketogenic diet. Although there are still some things we don't understand about the effects of a ketogenic diet on TBI and other health concerns, there are some indications that diet changes such as this not only help to lower inflammation in most individuals but also that ketones may provide a readily usable source of energy for the brain. Post concussion there may be an impairment of glucose metabolism in the brain and providing an alternative fuel source can be beneficial
Nutritional and Botanical Supplementation:
One of the proposed mechanisms of long term effects of mTBI is a nutritional deficiency of key vitamins and minerals. These are often effect vitamins and minerals that are used to help manage the initial effects of the concussions such as inflammation and increased oxidative stress. Supporting the increased demand for specific nutrients while also addressing other changes that may occur is critical to recovery, particularly after if there have been successive concussions. Botanical therapies can be used to further address underlying mechanisms that occur with concussion and mTBI.
Recovery from concussion can be a challenge for many patients. Many treatments can contribute to a healthier and speedier recovery, including acupuncture. One of the additional benefits is that many patients are able to have some relief during and immediately after treatments, allowing reprieve while other therapies begin to take effect.
Sometimes we need more to recover. There are additional therapies that I can offer within the scope of naturopathic medicine. These include cold laser therapy (low level laser therapy) and IV therapy.
Low Level Laser Therapy:
Using the Bioflex laser system at the clinic we can have a dramatic impact on concussion recovery. Typically I recommend patients begin using this as soon as possible after a concussion to prevent ongoing concerns. This therapy is very effective initially to also prevent scarring from any trauma to the face, reduce bruising and swelling, as well as to reduce muscle soreness and pain that can result from the injury. There has been recent research into trans-cranial transmission of the laser at specific frequencies, which allows us to not only impact concerns such as neck pain and tension, TMJ issues, and headaches, but to also address sensory issues, vision concerns, fatigue, insomnia and mood lability post concussion. While it is very beneficial to begin this as soon as possible after the injury, it can be implemented at any stage and still shows benefit months later.
IV therapy (IVIT):
I typically use IVIT to support recovery from concussions in cases where there are significant long term effects that are either resistant to other therapies (ie vision therapy, physiotherapy, massage, oral nutrient supplementation, low level laser therapies) or responses have plateaud. Using an intravenous administration of certain nutrients allows for additional benefits beyond oral supplementation for many reasons, however, the two most important are that there is no concern of absorption or compromise by what is called first pass effect of the liver. Secondly, certain nutrients administered intravenously have been shown to have an increased ability to cross blood brain barrier and to increase levels in CNS tissue more effectively than oral supplementation. Key nutrients that are typically used include:
- Vitamins (ie B vitamins such as B12 and C)
- Minerals (ie Magnesium)
- Amino acids (ie Carnitine, Taurine)
- Antioxidants (ie Glutathione)