Health & Happiness: Recovering from a concussion takes time

Health & Happiness: Recovering from a concussion takes time

The brain needs rest to heal

A concussion occurs when the brain moves or twists inside the skull, causing the brain to swell. Even mild head injuries, jarring or car accidents can lead to concussions. You don’t have to lose consciousness. You don’t even have to hit your head.

Repeated concussions

Repeated concussions are a risk factor for learning difficulties and for dementia later in life. Adolescents are particularly at risk because of their developing brains.

The most common symptoms are fuzzy thinking, nausea, forgetfulness, sensitivity to light and noise, irritability, fatigue and headaches. In more severe cases the headache can escalate, a person might become confused, lose consciousness or have a seizure (this is an emergency situation that indicates there could be bleeding inside the skull. Take the injured person to the emergency room immediately).

Treating a concussion is very important.

The brain needs rest in order to heal. This means no computer, phone, TV, reading, or bright lights. If you have to use any of these devices, set a timer for ten minutes, then rest with your eyes closed for 10-15 minutes. Avoid alcohol, tobacco and excessive caffeine as these can cause your brain to swell further. Avoid ibuprofen in case there is bleeding in the brain. If you need something for pain, use Arnica and perhaps some Tylenol.

Homeopathic Arnica three times a day or more can be very helpful.  High grade fish oil, turmeric, ginger, saffron (a few threads in hot water daily) and the mushroom, Lion’s Mane, can all be helpful in concussion recovery.

For my patients, I also find that acupuncture is often very helpful. I have seen concussion patients have significant cognitive improvements after a few sessions (“dives”) in a mild hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

It usually takes 6 weeks to 6 months to recover fully from a concussion. Slow down. It’s a good time to start practicing meditation which has been shown to reduce stress on the brain. Take it easy. Breathe. Give your brain the time it needs to heal. It usually will. Time is probably the best medicine of all.

By Dr. Jennifer Means who, along with Elizabeth Elliott welcome you for Primary Care for the whole family: Nutrition, IV Therapy, Naturopathy, and Acupuncture. Contact us at 503-641-6400.