Category: Treatments & Therapies

Podcasts Treatments & Therapies

I Know… My Treatments Podcast

This is the first part of the three-part “I-Know” Series! In this podcast, we will go over the many treatments that may be helpful to you in your brain injury recovery. Now, I must ask, do you know your treatments?

Tune in now!

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Information Lifestyle Treatments & Therapies

I Know… My Treatments

There are many treatments to help those with traumatic brain injuries manage and overcome the many symptoms that they face, but the hard part comes when trying to find the treatment that is best for you. I know for myself, it took a while for me to figure out exactly what really worked. Therefore, here, I have outlined all of the many treatments that help traumatic brain injury patients manage and overcome their symptoms and conditions. So let’s get started! 

*Disclaimer – Information within this post should not be regarded as medical advice, please consult with your doctor to find the right treatment plan for you*

Vision Therapy (Oculomotor Training) 

Vision therapy is commonly used for those with vision difficulties following the onset of a brain injury, which can include symptoms such as sensitivity to motion, blurry vision, double vision, eye pain, headaches, dizziness, and peripheral vision problems. This type of therapy has many techniques used in order to help train aspects of the vision system to repair and rejuvenate damaged connections in the brain. 

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists help individuals reintegrate and return back into the communities in which they reside. They evaluate and treat visual, arm, and cognitive impairment that may negatively affect one after a brain injury. Activities may include home management, rest and sleep habits, work tasks, and social participation. In some cases, an occupational therapist may give instruction outside of the office at a grocery store, workplace, or home. The focus of this therapy is to help you reacclimate yourself to the daily tasks and events that you faced prior to your injury. For more information about Occupational Therapy, please visit the link below!

https://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Professionals/RDP/brain-injury.aspx

https://www.brainline.org/article/occupational-therapy-practice-guidelines-adults-traumatic-brain-injury

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation is a specialized and individualized treatment routine for those who have visual difficulties as a direct result of a traumatic brain injury, physical disability, and other neurological insults. This therapy is a process for the rehabilitation of visual/perceptual/ motor disorders and utilizes prisms, lens filters, and occlusion to help stimulate parts of the brain that are not functioning at their fullest potential. Treatment plans are often tailored to the needs of the patient. For more information about Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation, visit the links below!

https://noravisionrehab.org/patients-caregivers/what-is-neuro-optometric-rehabilitation

Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or tube. It is commonly used in order to treat decompression sickness. In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal air pressure, your lungs can then gather more oxygen than would be possible in breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure. This all helps to fight bacteria and to stimulate the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which prompt healing. 

For more information about hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy, check out these links.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy/about/pac-20394380

https://www.brainline.org/research/comprehensive-review-hyperbaric-oxygen-treatment-brain-injury

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy

Speech Therapy

Speech therapists also known as Speech-Language Pathologists work with those with traumatic brain injuries in improving memory, problem-solving skills, social and language skills, cognitive-communication skills, and much more. They help traumatic brain injury patients communicate effectively after the onset of their injury and as they progress to recover. For more information about Speech Therapy, please visit the links below.

https://greatspeech.com/6-ways-speech-therapy-can-aid-in-brain-injury-recovery/

https://www.brainline.org/topic/speech-language-therapy

Vestibular (Balance) Therapy

Vestibular therapy can be helpful for those who have persistent dizziness, vertigo, and balance problems. This type of therapy utilizes habituation exercises, gaze stability training, and balance training in order to improve dizziness and bodily orientation.

Click the link below for more information on vestibular therapy.

https://www.neuroskills.com/programs-and-services/therapies/vestibular-therapy/

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be especially helpful for those who have certain types of headaches and/or who may have suffered orthopedic injuries at the onset of their injury. Physical therapy includes treatments that include exercise, massage, and heat therapies. The goal of physical therapy is to help patients relieve injuries that may be making the concussion-related symptoms worse.

Click the link below for more information on physical therapy.

https://www.brainline.org/article/physical-therapy-brain-i-njury

Herbal and Homeopathic Treatment

Homeopathic treatment is a type of alternative medicine that utilizes natural remedies made from naturally occurring substances–herbs make up the majority of healing substances used.

To learn more about homeopathic therapy click the links below!

https://vtherbcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Herbs-for-TBI.pdf

Psychological Counseling

A counselor can help in learning healthy coping skills, relationships, and emotional well-being after the onset of a brain injury as well as when and if it is prolonged. Seeking assistance from a counselor can be especially helpful in deciphering and understanding your thought patterns and potential habits during your TBI recovery.

If you are contemplating getting a  counselor, be sure to check out this article below.

https://www.brainline.org/article/counseling-after-brain-injury-13-things-want-know-are-afraid-ask

Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy utilizes activities designated to improve memory, attention, perception, learning, planning, and judgment. Cognitive therapy covers a wide range of symptoms of brain injury patients but helps to increase personal awareness of themselves and their environments. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective for those who suffer from mood changes after a brain injury. Cognitive-behavioral therapists help patients develop the ability to identify negative thought patterns while creating concrete skills to manage them. This therapy has been shown effective for those who suffer from anxiety and depression following their injury. For more information about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy click the link below.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/about/pac-20384610

Exertional Therapy

Exertional therapy can be helpful for those who are experiencing a slower recovery than expected. This type of therapy involves performing light aerobic activities in a controlled and monitored environment, like a treadmill, pool, or other no risk impact setting. Exercise has many benefits to recovery, talk to your doctor about ways you can begin including exercise into your daily life.

For my exercise to recovery treatment plan click this link!

Exercise to Recovery

Sources

https://concussionfoundation.org/PCS-resources/PCS-treatments

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/tbi/conditioninfo/treatment

Click here to tune into the podcast! https://concussionbegone.com/i-know-my-treatments-podcast/(opens in a new tab)

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Diet Lifestyle My Recovery Treatments & Therapies

Let’s Eat! – Me, Myself, and Food in Concussion Recovery

I don’t know about you, but food is the love of my life. It is one thing that has supported me through it all. Those moments when I’m sad, stressed, tired, happy, angry, frustrated, and every other emotion under the sun, food has been there for me. I had never really cared or taken notice of my health because I was young, “fit” and still a well-rounded athlete. I knew that my eating habits were bad, but didn’t make the final decision to change them until I was overtaken with poor health caused by my brain injury.

My journey in my brain injury recovery taught me the true meaning of self-love. Self-love is taking take of your body and giving it the nutrients and foods that it craves and deserves. Changing my perspective this way, made it a lot easier for me to make the decision to change my diet. But, anyway, that’s another discussion for another blog post! Let’s get back to the story(:

After about four months of battling and riding the highs and lows of a brain injury, I finally threw in the towel and came to the conclusion that my strategy for fighting my concussion was not right. Though I was taking the fish oil pills my doctor had prescribed and resting whenever I felt like it, my brain was not in the right environment to recover. Still, I was eating junk food every now and then, and remaining dormant for the majority of my days. Truth is, I wasn’t eating the right foods to promote healing! I was malnourished and depriving my cells of the nutrients needed to function most effectively and efficiently.

Thus, the hunt began to find foods that would promote my healing. My father had been an advocate for plant and fruit-based diets within my family and educated us on a regular basis on the powerful benefits of eating the right foods and how it can reverse even the worst of illnesses. I figured it wouldn’t at all hurt to try. Truth is, I didn’t have anything to lose. I started by deciding what foods I would cut out completely and ones that I would eat in moderation. I decided to completely cut out all processed sugars & foods, fried foods, sweets, as well as red meat. This may not be a lot for you, but for ME, this was huge! I didn’t realize how heavily I ate all of these things until I cut it all out!

The next task was to figure out what I WOULD eat. This was pretty self-explanatory as well, I decided to increase my fruit and vegetable intake, by increasing more leafy greens like kale and spinach in my diet. As well as blueberries, apples, and bananas. All of which are good for the brain and maintaining energy levels. I also ate seafood at least twice a week, which included salmon and tilapia and moderately ate chicken and bread. Doing this significantly increased my energy levels and overall cognitive performance. I experienced fewer brain crashes and fatigue after my meals.

I was not unbelievably strict on my diet, I found that by being very cautious about everything that I ate made me paranoid in the event that messed up. So, in the event that I messed up one day I didn’t beat myself up but instead made it up with nutrient-rich food in my following meal. My focus was to make sure that I was putting the right foods into my body. Instead of focusing on what I could not eat, I focused on the many foods that I could! This motivated me to eat better and to maintain my new diet for an extended period of time.

So, in conclusion, healthy eating is a crucial part of brain injury recovery and is one of the many steps and parts that lead to recovering. I hope this blog post is helpful to you all! I will see ya in the next blog post

Happy healing,

Nicole

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My Recovery Treatments & Therapies

My Medications

One thing that I tried my best to avoid during my entire recovery was medications. I rarely took pain killers when I developed post-concussion syndrome, because I wanted to know exactly when and where my headaches were located, as well as how intense they were; however, after I went into my second month with a concussion, my doctor prescribed me Nortriptyline.

Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

Nortriptyline is an anti-depressant drug that is used to help those with depression, but my doctor prescribed it in order to treat my headaches. Nortriptyline works by restoring the natural chemical balance within the brain. This medication worked the best for me and over time my headaches significantly reduced. But, it seemed to only mask my headaches instead of treating and healing them for good. I took Nortriptyline for a period of three weeks and then stopped the week before my next appointment with my doctor. After I had taken my last dose and the days went on without it, I could literally feel the medication wearing off. The headaches began to return with increasing severity as each day passed without it. For this reason, I did not like this medication. Though it does a great job in reducing head pain temporarily, it does not solve the root issue for good.

Gabapentin (Neurontin)

The second and last medication that I tried was Gabapentin or Neurontin. Gabapentin is a nerve pain medication and is a anticonvulsant and antiepiletic drug. Once again, my doctor prescribed this to me in order to relieve my chronic headaches. This drug did more harm than it did good. I took the medication right before I went to bed as I was instructed and as soon as I woke up the next morning I knew something was wrong. As I got ready for school I felt more dizzy and weak than usual. Thinking that it possibly had something to do with dehydration and hunger, I ate the huge breakfast my mother had prepared for me–pancakes, bacon, eggs, and grits. I shook it off and went to school. As I waited for my first period class to begin, I remember thinking that the lights in the hallway were more bright than usual, feeling that I might faint I sat down. I decided to look up some reviews on Gabapentin and they were awful. People complained about having intense, nausea, trembling, headaches, difficulty in concentrating, and much more.

This couldn’t have come on a worser day. I was supposed to complete an Algebra test during my first period, but I felt like a complete zombie. I persisted and went to class and hoped that it wouldn’t get any worse. But.. it did. Once the tests were distributed and I took a peak at the problems, everything seemed to come over me–the awful headaches, nausea, dizziness, and trembling. My head began to pound with increasing pain and I was unable to concentrate at all on the test. It took me a significant amount of time to finish it. In the midst of my tears and trembling, I am really amazed that I was able to finish it at all. After class, I remember unable to see clearly, everything was so foggy and I became unbelievably weak. If anyone had touched me, I surely would have fallen.

So, what is my review of this medication? 0 stars. But once again, everyone’s body is different. Mine happened to not take to this medication well at all.

My Overall Feelings

My overall feelings of medication are also somewhat negative. I hoped that by taking medication it would help in the healing process, but it only seemed to discourage me even more. The medications only masked my symptoms without improving them once I was taken off them. I personally wanted to become fully functioning without becoming dependent on a medication. However, if you are looking for something to relieve your headaches temporarily then ask your doctor about Nortriptyline, it relieved my headaches with very minimal side affects.

I hope this helps!

Happy Healing Everybody(:

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