Functional Medicine Meridian ID What Happens in The Brain After Concussion

If you are like most of our patients who have experienced a concussion in Meridian ID you seek care at the emergency room, urgent care, or your primary care provider. Some of the most common causes of concussion include: falls, car accidents, bumps to the head, assault, and sports injuries.

If you received imaging, it is to rule out a brain bleed or fracture at which point you are told everything looks good. After all of this is done you are told you have a concussion and to take it easy for a few days while avoiding screen time.

While for some people this is enough, they continue to experience symptoms, weeks, months and sometimes years after the initial injury.


Some of the common symptoms we see are:

  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty performing work or concentrating
  • Balance changes
  • Memory loss
  • Mood changes
  • And more!

If you are reading this, it is likely because you are continuing to experience some, or even all these symptoms! You may have tried to google your symptoms or even google how to recover from concussion and have likely tried and failed many of these magic treatments. We know there is A LOT of information out there, and unfortunately most people end up feeling even more confused and with each thing that doesn’t work their desire to try again goes down.

Unfortunately, effective solutions aren’t presented to the patients that continue to experience symptoms after the initial two weeks and the optimal treatment plan for one person may be totally different from the next. Most are sent to counseling, given medications, or go through physical therapy. The key to getting help is for both you and your provider to understand what happens in the brain after a concussion so we can take the necessary steps towards healing. Hint, if your provider doesn’t know this then they likely shouldn’t be managing your care and you need to find someone with experience managing concussions.

Below we are going to describe what happens to your brain after a concussion, which for some people contributes to post-concussive syndrome long after the time of their injury.


There are 4 main mechanisms that occur after a concussion:

  1. Impairments in the way your brain Connects:
    – This is something people feel in their everyday lives, they are unable to perform the tasks they normally would such as cognitively challenge activities at work or school, for some they have trouble with word finding and memory, difficulty concentrating or even issues with balance or feeling dizzy. All of these can be an indication that your brain is not connecting optimally, and when our brain doesn’t connect optimally it requires MORE energy, which leads into our next mechanism.
  2. Impairments in the way your brain uses ENERGY
    – In the cells of our body, we have something called mitochondria which are responsible for producing energy; after a concussion your brain experiences an energy crisis- where the mitochondria are not producing energy efficiently. We feel this in the form of fatigue, irritability, maybe only being able to perform a task for 15-20 min where we used to be able to do it for hours. All of these are signs that your brain is experiencing an energy crisis- where we are not able to keep up with the demands of the brain.
  3. Inflammation:
    – This is a big one. There are inflammatory and immune changes that occur in our brain after a concussion that can continue to drive symptoms if not addressed. Because of the energy crisis that occurs, we often quickly use up our brain energy, and when we try to push through symptoms, this can worsen the inflammation, resulting in a vicious cycle! This is why it matters what was going on in your body both before and after the concussion; when we have high levels of body inflammation prior to an injury ( from high blood sugar, autoimmunity, and more) this can actually worsen the degree of brain inflammation that is created, leading to more brain fog, fatigue, worsening fb-depression-lp, anxiety and more.
  4. Impairments in Oxygen use:
    – After a concussion, there is a decrease in blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain, and for some this can last up to one year after the initial injury. Oxygen is critical for brain functioning and healing and this impairment in delivery can contribute to a slowed healing rate after concussion.


As you have figured out by now, there isn’t only one thing that happens in a concussion. This also means there isn’t one magic treatment that works for everyone.

The good news is that with the right evaluation we can craft a plan that helps address each of these mechanisms to enhance the brain’s ability to recover from a concussion. In future posts we will dive deeper into each of these topics.

If you’d like our help to recover by getting a customized plan, request a consultation today.