How to Speed Up Your Recovery After a Concussion
By Dr. Molly Casey
Head injuries happen, and they happen to regular folks participating in regular activities. They certainly occur more often to those who are active in sporting activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, biking, and water and speed sports. Prevention through the use of protective equipment, such as helmets and mouthguards, is going to be key. However, what happens afterward, and how can you best care for yourself, your head, and your spine if you do find yourself having suffered a head injury?
Head injuries are also called traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and commonly known as concussions. These injuries are sustained when the brain has been shaken within the skull in a manner that causes irritation to the brain itself. One can sustain a TBI through one violent motion or repeated motions. The head itself does not need to physically hit something for this injury to occur. The severity of the symptoms depend upon the severity of the injury.
Common causes of concussions include hitting the head in a fall, which could come from skiing, biking or any sporting fall; shaking the head violently and fast back and forth or in a side-to-side motion; or any event in which whiplash can be experienced. Jarring contact is almost certainly involved in concussions.
Clearly, I recommend that if you ever suspect a concussion or any other head injury that you visit your medical doctor or emergency room for proper evaluation for immediate needs.
Head injury symptoms can linger and they’re no fun. Symptoms can range from vertigo, headaches, memory and concentration problems, to neck pain and ringing in the ears. And the list goes on. There are options to conservatively care for the injury and speed your healing.
Chiropractic care - When the brain is shaken and irritated, it’s quite logical to infer that the communication process with the rest of the body will be negatively affected because the body follows the brain’s instructions. Chiropractic adjustments improve nervous system communication by restoring spinal joint motion. There are numerous positive side effects to the adjustment, including a rebooting of the electrical impulses transmitted through the nervous system and sharpening the communication process; this promotes restoration of proper muscle tone and function. Pain relief is a common experience for those getting regular chiropractic care.
Rest/light activity -Those who are active in life often forget about the healing power of rest -- perhaps because of their passion for activity or their addiction to a busy life. Regardless of why, rest matters and it helps us heal; this goes for the brain, too. Rest doesn’t mean total immobility, but it does mean gentle activities such as walking. Maintaining a modified exercise routine can serve you well in this healing period.
Proper hydration - Every cell of your body utilizes water. You will never stop reading this from me. Water is essential for optimal health and healing. Make sure that if you’re healing from TBI that you consume half your body weight in ounces of good quality purified water on a daily basis. This helps the cells of your body and brain to heal and recuperate as efficiently as possible.
Healing takes time. Healing from traumatic brain injuries can take more time than most are used to. It doesn’t mean you’re sidelined forever; it does mean that you get to offer yourself some grace and modification from what’s likely an otherwise busy and active life. Seeking out a doctor of chiropractic to help you along your healing journey may help to speed it up and get you back to living life fully.
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