The brain is without argument, the most important and complex human organ. It controls how we think, feel, and function. When it is working in the way we desire we can do marvelous things. But the brain is also at risk similar to a “tender peach” which if dropped and handled roughly will easily bruise, turn brown, and bleed. Though the brain is housed in a protective structure called the skull it is still prone to damage from physical, chemical, and metabolic insults.Accumulating events regarding the long-term repercussions of traumatic brain injury(TBI) have raised both our awareness and interest in applying effective restorative treatments. Symptoms of acute and chronic brain trauma include problems with head pain, inattention, loss of focus, impulse and emotional control, personality changes, memory loss, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Symptoms arising from brain trauma are debilitating enough in some patients to affect ability to work, keep up in school, and sustain normal tasks of daily living. Mood disorders often develop, straining relationships and reducing executive functioning. It can quickly bring a normal functioning life to a complete standstill.
Current guidelines still rely predominantly on watching and waiting, with very little or no early interventions applied. Watchful waiting recovery results are modest at best and leave some only partially recovered even after 18 months. Following a mild TBI therapies can be applied immediately that are established to reduce pain and improve cognitive functioning. Three therapies stand out supreme with a combined 120 years of published studies. East Valley Naturopathic Doctors (EVND) takes a different approach that focuses on more recent evidence and experience suggesting early treatment produces quicker recovery post mTBI.
One of the most extensively studied therapies for healing the brain by restoring optimal neural pathways is Neurofeedback therapy. Studies utilizing Neurofeedback have shown significant impact in just weeks with regard to restoration of brain processes toward “normal” or “historical” functioning. Reported benefits of neurofeedback treatment include improvement in short and long term memory, better attention and focus, improved sleep onset and quality, and improved mood. Neurofeedback therapy has also been applied for the treatment of brain fog or cognitive changes following chemotherapy and radiation treatment, stroke, whiplash injuries, and chronic illness or infections.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
The challenges arising from a mild TBI also include edema (swelling), hypoxia (deprivation of oxygen supply), and the release of excitotoxins which overstimulate neuron receptors causing them to be damaged or die.Traditional brain imaging often is often inadequate in diagnosing the edema and hypoxia. Without immediate and appropriate treatment these insidious effects can persist for months and even years resulting in the patient becoming chronically disabled. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been demonstrated to reduce hypoxia and neuroinflammation, while increasing circulation in the brain, supporting the blood-brain barrier, promoting angiogenesis (new blood vessels), and neurogenesis (the growth and development of nervous tissue). Studies conducted with HBOT for the treatment of mTBI show a reduction of brain edema even after three 45 minute sessions and also inhibiting apoptosis (the natural death of cells) after just two 45 minute sessions. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is helpful after any brain injury, particularly when cognitive, mood, or personality changes follow.
Newer in the research for treatment of brain trauma and cognitive restoration is the application of specific light waves targeting the brain. The brain is made from billions of neurons and trillions of support cells such as glia. The optimal functioning of these cells requires tremendous energy. Within each cell of the body are energy producing organelles called mitochondria. These energy producing “powerhouses” use digested macro nutrients such as fat, proteins, and carbohydrates(sugars) to create energy in the form of ATP. This biochemical reaction allows each cell in the brain to provide the necessary energy to fuel its design and purpose. It should be noted that optimal functioning of the mitochondria also requires many co-factors, vitamins, and minerals. Nutrient deficiencies, genetic SNPs or mutations, environmental toxins can all reduce the functional ability of mitochondria. Following a serious concussive event or mTBI the brain’s energy systems will decline in function. The good news is your brain’s mitochondrial performance can be improved by absorbing light of specific wavelengths. The process for intervention of light targeting the brain energy systems is called photobiomodulation (PBM).
Collectively, brain photobiomodulation with visible red and NIR light photon energy heals damaged brain cells, improves cerebral blood circulation, reduces inflammation and toxicity, and regenerates damaged brain cells. These benefits lead to improved communication between neurons positively benefiting cognition, cognitive efficiency, and brain performance. The literature on brain photobiomodulation is growing rapidly. Currently (Oct 2023), there are over 220 published studies on brain photobiomodulation.
EVND takes a proactive approach and begins treatment with hyperbaric therapy daily, combined with neurofeedback therapy and Brain Photobiomodulation to reduce the symptoms arising from brain injury. These therapies directly treat the negative results of head trauma resulting in an improvement in cognitive functioning, reduction in headaches, improved mood and sleep, and a return of optimal functioning.
TBI Recovery Program
Chronic head injuries with a history of blast injuries, falls, sports injuries, and vehicular accidents, can leave lasting deficits which may not be immediately noticeable. Our brain recovery programs begin with a baseline brain mapping known as a QEEG. QEEG brain mapping evaluates hyper and hypo functioning of the various brain waves including Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta. The brain waves provide a functional description of cognitive functioning, mood regulation, and even localized brain inflammation. Once we have established a baseline for brain activity and completed cognitive testing we begin therapy with a combined approach utilizing Neurofeedback therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy, FSM or Brain Photobiomodulation. These combined therapies promote brain recovery by increasing oxygen, reducing inflammation, and healing nerve pathways in ways unmatched by any other course of treatment.
ACUTE CONCUSSION and mTBI PROGRAM
Acute head injuries which produce any obvious symptom within the first 36 hours can be greatly benefitted by the immediate application of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. The number of sessions will depend upon the acute symptoms and the extent of the dysfunction produced by the head trauma. Generally 20 sessions are recommended to start, with some individuals requiring 40 total sessions before symptoms resolve.
Combining Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy simultaneously with Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation and even heal nerve pathways that have been damaged due to concussive injuries. FSM therapy applies two simultaneous micro-currents which travel through the body to heal brain areas which have been damaged while reducing peripheral symptoms.
The Acute Concussion and mTBI Treatment Program is for patients with symptoms from a head trauma less than 3 months from the initial insult. The program combines two of the most valuable therapies (Hyperbaric Oxygen and Frequency Specific Microcurrent Therapy) into one program to treat, in the most thorough and efficient manner, the effects of acute Concussion or mild Traumatic Brain Injuries. We start with 20 sessions of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and 10 sessions of Frequency Specific Microcurrent therapy to be completed over an approximate 4 weeks.
POST CONCUSSION SYNDROME and TBI RECOVERY PROGRAM
Chronic head injuries with a history of blast injuries, falls, sports injuries, and vehicular accidents, can leave lasting deficits which may not be immediately noticeable. Persisting complaints can include personality changes, sleep disturbance, anxiety, reduced tolerance to stress, headaches, depression, increased agitation, sensitivity to noise or light, reduced attention, and memory loss. The easiest method to acquire a baseline of brain function is to do a brain map or QEEG. Brain mapping evaluates hyper and hypo functioning of the various brain waves including Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta brainwaves. The brain waves provide a functional description of cognitive functioning, mood regulation, and even localized brain inflammation.
In addition to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Frequency Specific Microcurrent, Neurofeedback therapy also provides significant benefit in helping the brain rewire toward optimal functioning. The combined application of Neurofeedback with HBOT and FSM therapy promotes brain recovery by increasing oxygen, reducing inflammation, and healing nerve pathways in ways unmatched by any other course of treatment.
The Post Concussion Syndrome and TBI Recovery Program is for patients with symptoms from a head trauma that have persisted or worsened beyond 3 months from the initial insult. The program combines three of the most valuable therapies (Hyperbaric Oxygen, Neurofeedback, and Frequency Specific Microcurrent Therapy) into one program to both evaluate and treat, in the most thorough and efficient manner, the effects of chronic Post Concussive Syndromes or mild Traumatic Brain Injuries. We start with a baseline QEEG(brain map), then begin with 40 sessions of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, 20 sessions of Neurofeedback Therapy, and 10 sessions of Frequency Specific Microcurrent therapy, to be completed over an approximate 8 weeks. We monitor the rehabilitation program with a comparison Brain Map or QEEG every 4 weeks and follow up visits with the physician as needed to review appropriate labs at 4 and 8 weeks.