It doesn’t take as much as you think to have something dramatically change your life. In an instant, a car accident, a slip and fall, or a sports injury can cause a traumatic brain injury with a concussion being the most common form.
I want you to imagine…
● being tired and lying down to go to sleep and as soon as you close your eyes it seems like your brain wants to wake up and your mind becomes full of racing thoughts!
● working on two computer screens and trying to shift from one task to the next and suddenly, it seems like your brain is just glitching, not connecting at all and to top it off, you walk away with a pounding headache!
● your kids are asking you questions and instead of having patience with them and answering their questions, you find yourself snapping at them and your spouse says, “Honey, what’s wrong? You’re more irritable!”
Do any of these scenarios sound like something you’ve experienced? If you answered yes, then YOU ARE NOT ALONE! These are all very common situations that we see with concussions.
How Does A Concussion Affect The Brain?
Let’s step back and look at exactly what happens with a concussion to better explain why hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps so many of our patients see improvement.
There are four primary things that happen with a concussion and may persist for years:
1. The brain doesn’t connect appropriately.
2. There’s a problem with how the brain produces and uses energy.
3. There are immune changes within the brain which cause inflammation.
4. Research suggests that blood flow and oxygen to the brain may be impaired for years following a concussion (1).
In addition, when looking at oxygen concentrations within the brain. Researchers found during psychological testing, which requires higher-level tasking, the part of the brain needed will actually have a reduction in oxygen (2). This decrease in oxygen is one of the reasons why when you’re multitasking, you tend to get more of a headache. You feel your brain’s processing slower as well and it’s like there’s a mental block and your mind is cloudy.
When you consider the 4 changes that occur in the brain following a concussion, it is of no surprise that symptoms can persist for years.
Here are the most common symptoms of a concussion that may persist for years (3):
● Difficulty Concentrating
● Brain Fog
● Head Pressure
● Light Sensitivity
● Emotional Changes (Depression. Anxiety, Irritability, and Sadness)
If you are like most of my patients, you have been to thyroid, hormone, adrenal, and even gut experts trying to get an improvement in your symptoms. Yet, many have a shared cause of a concussion that may or not have been diagnosed. It doesn’t take as much as you think to sustain a concussion, even a whiplash movement from a car accident will routinely do it.
At this point, you now have an understanding of what happens in the brain following a concussion as well as the most common symptoms. So, what exactly is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
What Exactly Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is performed when you lay or sit in a chamber that uses oxygen that is pressurized to allow it to get into the tissues in your cells and help facilitate recovery and healing. Depending on the type of chamber you have, this will be 100% oxygen or it may be 95%. Most of the research is based on chambers that pressure to a minimum of 1.5 ATA. Based on our clinical experience, even lower pressure chambers can offer immense benefit and facilitate recovery.
When a concussion occurs, there’s reduced blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Many of the individuals we see before they utilize hyperbaric oxygen therapy, have been experiencing brain fog, dizziness, and headaches. After sessions they often notice better cognitive energy, mental endurance, and have less fog. To top it off, that throbbing headache they’ve been suffering from is finally starting to improve!
Who May Benefit With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy After A Concussion?
The short answer is that pretty much everyone who has suffered a concussion would benefit from performing hyperbaric oxygen therapy. But the amount of improvement you may notice will vary. As we talked about, there are four big things that happen with a concussion and for some people, oxygen based issues are playing a bigger role.
So, how do we know if you really, really need it?
● If you can exercise and you feel better, then hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be beneficial.
● If you go into a higher altitude and you feel an increase in your symptoms because there’s less oxygen, then there’s a good likelihood that you would benefit from it.
● If you have pre-existing issues such as chronic pain, chronic fatigue, or wounds that haven’t healed appropriately in the past. These are all signs or symptoms of impaired blood flow and oxygen in your tissues.
So by this point in time, we’ve now reviewed a lot of benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and who’s going to benefit. As we said, pretty much everyone will benefit, but there are going to be those that need it at a much higher level. If they don’t do it, honestly, their case will not improve because it’s that big of a factor in their recovery.
How Can We Help You With Your Recovery Following A Concussion?
One of the things that we see on a daily basis is that many individuals suffer with concussions for months and even years despite being told it would only briefly last. The reason for this varies from one individual to another, but there is one thing all these individuals have in common.
They have not received a thorough evaluation that addresses all four things that can occur following a concussion. They will often go to a provider and pick one of these four components. This often provides some benefit but they will not be able to have optimal progress if all four of these are not addressed.
Here at Idaho Brain and Body Institute, we’re going to evaluate the four components that can impact recovery from a concussion. We will create a unique and individualized treatment plan for you.
So What Does That First Visit Look Like?
We’re going to do brain-based testing to look at how your brain connects. This is going to be done using eye movement, balance, and even brain wave testing.
Next, we’re going to look at what’s happening within your body and see if everything is functioning appropriately to create a fertile environment for healing to occur.
Lastly, the final part of our BMB method, Brain, Mind, & Body, is evaluating your mind. Are there past traumas, PTSD, or stress at home or at work that is keeping you in a chronic state of survival which may be detrimental in your recovery.
With this approach we’re able to hone in and craft a plan that will be specific to you. We don’t believe in using predetermined protocols or programs because they simply don’t work for the more difficult cases as they do not meet your individual needs and unravel your unique case.
If you’d like our help, request your free health strategy session today and we’ll design an individualized treatment plan just for you!
1. Astafiev, S. V., Shulman, G. L., Metcalf, N. V., Rengachary, J., MacDonald, C. L., Harrington, D.
L., Maruta, J., Shimony, J. S., Ghajar, J., Diwakar, M., Huang, M. X., Lee, R. R., & Corbetta, M.
(2015). Abnormal White Matter Blood-Oxygen-Level-Dependent Signals in Chronic Mild
Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of neurotrauma, 32(16), 1254–1271.
2. Helmich, I., Saluja, R. S., Lausberg, H., Kempe, M., Furley, P., Berger, A., Chen,
J. K., & Ptito, A. (2015). Persistent Postconcussive Symptoms Are Accompanied
by Decreased Functional Brain Oxygenation. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and
clinical neurosciences, 27(4), 287–298.
3. Hiploylee, C., Dufort, P. A., Davis, H. S., Wennberg, R. A., Tartaglia, M. C.,
Mikulis, D., Hazrati, L. N., & Tator, C. H. (2017). Longitudinal Study of
Postconcussion Syndrome: Not Everyone Recovers. Journal of neurotrauma,