Mild Head Trauma: More than Just a Bump To The Head
"I hit my head but it was nothing. The concussion was nothing. The concussion didn't affect me; I'm OK." These are typical words that you or your child will say after getting hit in the head. You want these words to be true, but they're not. There are subltle changes in the brain when there is a minor concussion or a minor impact to your head. These subltle brain changes need to be investigated and corrected by a specialist in mild concussion neuorology.
The proper concussion treatment can help heal the effects of a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), or mild concussion.
Concussion syndrome—especially in children, but also in adults—is caused by a mild impact to the head. After the impact, the symptoms may be so subtle that they get ignored for many years. A sports related concussion usually leads to an inability of the child's brain to function or perform at some level. The brain gets injured, but you don't see any structural damage like a skull fracture, or swelling.
After mild head trauma, a child's brain injury is not even seen on a brain scan like an MRI or CT scan. There are no broken blood vessles seen on the scan, but there definitely is a change in brain function, such as impaired coordination, worse athletic performance, impaired balance, problems with attention, memory and learning ability, more difficulty doing things with the left side of your body, or more difficulty doing things with the right side of your body compared to the other side.
Symptoms of concussion in a child may include disorientation, confusion, slower reaction times, short-term memory issues, impaired sense of balance, headaches, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, motion sickness (riding in a car makes your child feel sick), sensitivity to light, reading makes your child feel worse, can't read while riding in a car, your child feels worse when watching TV or using a computer, can't keep one eye open when the other is closed, can't roll the eyes, or even that your child feels more tired than usual, or needs to nap more often than before.
Most children who get a concussion have not gone to the ER(1)(emergency room).
MRI and CT scan may be negative because concussions do not generally cause visible structural injury to the brain. Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is the invisible injury. You must double check that nothing is wrong neurologically, even though the MRI is negative. At my office, we use kinesiology tests to assess nervous system and brain function related to brain concussion.
Adult Post Concussion Syndrome Treatment: Adults need help too
After a mild head impact (post concussion), the functions of other body systems can change because your brain is connected to every part of your body through your nervous system. Even a change to your immune system function is a possibility, and has been called "immunoexcitotoxicity." Do you have a history of mild head trauma? Can't remember? Most people have had at least a minor blow to the head. Many years later, an MRI or CT scan may show it as brain shrinkage, but nothing shows now.
Over time, functional post concussion changes can seemingly be far-removed from your brain: such as a mysterious case of constipation, despite eating a very high fiber diet, or a case of chronic "gastro-paresis" that baffles you and all of your Los Angeles gastrointestinal doctors. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to chronic inflammation of your gastrointestinal system, weakness on one side of your body, feeling overwhelmed, depression and feeling stuck, eyesight getting worse, and steady weight gain.
A brain concussion can lead to avoidance of certain activities or behaviors involving movement or coordination because you "just don't like to do that anymore." Avoidance of activities that require a good sense of balance, or avoiding activities requiring quick movements (you never go on any rides at amusement parks) can indicate that your brain needs help.
Second concussion syndrome or second impact syndrome results when a mild head trauma is followed by another head impact, but nothing was ever done about the first one: it's one concussion on top of another, but there was never a brain reset. Have you heard about CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy)? That's the name of the condition in adults with second concussion syndrome who never got help: made famous by pro football players—pro atheletes who couldn't function anymore, way after multiple hits to the head. We want to prevent CTE, and help with recovery from concussion, with specific techniques that we use in Beverly Hills, to reboot your brain.
Pre Concussion Performance: Your Child's Individual Baseline
Baseline check: Have your child's baseline normal checked, before starting team sports where concussion has been reported in participants. It's a pre-season, or pre-injury, pre-concussion check-up. Compare your child's preseason baseline and recheck your child based on your child's own pre-injury standard of performance. It's a "health selfie," including muscle performance and coordination tests via applied kinesiology, and postural stability tests. If needed, we would refer out for cognitive function tests after concussion. Upon reevaluation you will see the improvements in your child, with your own eyes.
Second Impact Syndrome / Second Concussion Syndrome
can help determine if your child has had a mild concussion, and help the concussion get better. Don't rely on cognitive testing alone to determine if your child has had a concussion. First of all, what was your child's baseline? Second, why would you limit the exam to only cognitive function? There are many more subtle neurological responses that we use in our concussion evaluation to show the subtle nuances of concussion and brain malfunction.
Knowing your child's own baseline and then periodically checking to that baseline, and taking corrective action as soon as there are signs that your child is off of his/her baseline is the most sensible and the most proactive approach. The following study shows that correctly done chiropractic adjustments (which is just a part of what we do) helps brain function after concussion:
2. "Manipulation of dysfunctional spinal joints affects sensorimotor integration in the pre-frontal cortex: A brain source localization study," - Lelic et al. Neural Plasticity, Volume 2016
Don't let them tell you to just wait a year until you child can be better again!
Preventive care and immediate follow-up after suspected concussion, head impact, or suspected head trauma is worth every penny you spend. What is a scholarship in college worth to your athlete?
How much does it cost to get the extra tutoring help if your child starts having poor grades, dyslexia, or ADHD?
What about the cost of the associated injuries after head trauma such as a torn ACL (knee ligament) or repeated ankle sprains because of a head trauma, or repairing a leaky-gut after a head injury?
Prevent long-term damage from concussions
Do Advil and Tylenol make the brain condition worse?
Subtle deviations from your child's normal baseline need immediate attention and correction, or the risk is long-term damage.
Grades go down with multiple concussions. The likelihood of going to college goes down with multiple concussions. SAT scores go down with multiple concussions.3 But we can help, Now.