East Valley Naturopathic Doctors desires to provide an update on protocols adapted to urgent needs of those with recent or past head injuries. As we continue to improve and provide services valuable to the under treated patients within our communities we discovered one such group had been those with acute and chronic head injuries as a result of vehicular accidents, sports injuries, falls, blast injuries, strokes, and transient ischemic attacks.
We are of the opinion that many symptoms arising acutely and chronically following concussive or stroke injuries are treatable and in many cases reversible, more so if therapy is started soon after the trauma. The first step is to become informed about the available treatments found in the research to be supportive of recovery. The following links below review options for treatment along with the supporting research:
ACUTE BRAIN INJURY or mild TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Acute head injuries, including strokes, which produce any obvious symptom within the first 36 hours can be greatly benefitted by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as often as once and up to twice daily with 4 hours of separation between treatments. The number of sessions will depend upon the immediate symptoms and the extent of the dysfunction produced by the head trauma. Generally 10 sessions are recommended to start, with some individuals requiring 40 total sessions before symptoms resolve.
Besides Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, the simultaneous application of Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation and even heal nerve pathways that have been damaged due to stroke and concussive injuries. This therapy applies two simultaneous micro-currents which travel through the body to heal brain areas which have been affected along with reducing peripheral symptoms. This therapy is applied once daily in the first week, and every other day the second week, and usually once weekly thereafter until sufficient resolution of symptoms occurs. Visit the following link to review further discussion on FSM therapy.
CHRONIC BRAIN INJURY or POST CONCUSSIVE SYNDROME
Chronic head injuries with a history of blast injuries, falls, sports injuries, vehicular accidents, and strokes, can leave lasting deficits which may not be immediately noticeable. Our recommendation is to do some form of imaging to evaluate deficits within the brain itself. The easiest and cheapest way to evaluate is to do a brain map or QEEG which evaluates hyper and hypo functioning of the brain waves describing in the process cognitive functioning, mood regulation, and brain inflammation as examples. Personality changes can be common complaints along with sleep disturbance and anxiety with reduced tolerance to stress generally. Other common complaints include headaches, depression, increased agitation, sensitivity to noise or light, and memory loss. The number of sessions recommended will depend upon the symptoms and the extent of the dysfunction produced by the head trauma. Generally 20-40 total sessions will need to be completed until symptoms resolve.
In addition to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy the simultaneous application of Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) for chronic symptoms persisting long after the head injury has also been demonstrated to be helpful in recovery. Neurofeedback therapy will also provide significant benefit in helping the brain rewire toward optimal functioning. The application of Neurofeedback during or following HBOT allows the brain to recover in a multitude of ways unmatched by any other course of treatment.
Patients with concerns of recent stroke should be evaluated and treated at a local hospital before seeking treatment in our clinic. Once the patient has been properly diagnosed and released from the hospital, we can schedule a consultation and begin treatment within 36 hours of the initial symptoms. The sooner we can begin treatment, the faster the recovery appears to be based on the current research.
STEP 1: EVALUATION
The first step is to be evaluated by one of our head trauma trained physicians. A comprehensive interview and exam will help delineate specific changes resulting from the head trauma. Additional findings found in brain mapping known as a QEEG can provide a baseline for evaluating cognitive deficiencies, mood disorders, attention, and memory struggles. Brain mapping measures Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta brain wave activity which can be faster or slower compared to norms, exposing possible areas of concern related to head trauma. These areas of concern resulting from trauma along with the exam findings direct us toward specific therapies to help heal, repair, and restore the brain to its optimal functioning. Based on an individual’s age and other health concerns, diagnostic testing may be recommended to evaluate hormones, nutrient levels, and inflammation.
STEP 2: PROGRAM DESIGN
Our Naturopathic Physicians are able to customize a program that takes into account the power and benefit of the healing power of nature as we make specific nutritional and supplemental recommendations that support healing without the use of suppressive medications. Completed brain mapping along with the patient’s specific complaints will provide direction on the best choice of therapy. For acute or very recent head injuries, it is best to start therapy within 48 hours. Therapy and protocols are flexible and can change in time, as we recieve more information, allowing us to meet the immediate needs while waiting for labs and imaging.
STEP 3: THERAPY
After completing an individualized evaluation, treatment will be prescribed to support the specific goals of each individual. Treatments may include Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), Frequency Specific Microcurrent Therapy (FSM), Neurofeedback Therapy, Targeted Nutraceuticals, Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), and Nutrition Counseling.
We appreciate this opportunity to share with you our treatment approach for new and past head injuries. We know head injuries create significant difficulties for the individual and also their immediate families and relationships. Please allow us to answer any questions you have about therapy or possible symptoms which are a priority to you. We are waiting to help!