Concussion, Second Impact Syndrome, Post Concussive Syndrome and Traumatic Brain Injury are terms that overlap and cause confusion. In our office, we separate them by their severity, thus impacting the treatment plan. We look at them like this….
The brain is made of soft tissue. It’s cushioned by spinal fluid and encased in the protective shell of the skull. When you sustain a blow to the head, jolt or whiplash, or direct injury to the structure of the skull or brain, the first response that your body has is to send blood to the area. This is what we call “a healing response”.
You may be familiar with a healing response when you sprain, strain, or break joints or limbs of your body. You see swelling and feel pain, this is the first indication that an injury has occurred and that the body is reacting in a healing response. We react by applying ice or cold to control the blood flow and reduce the pain. As the area heals, the swelling reduces but the evidence of increased blood flow remains with bruising. If there is a break, the body will also start to produce extra calcium and scar tissue to compensate for bone weakness.
Your brain goes through a similar response but because you cannot see swelling or bruising, the healing response and compensation is noticed in symptoms and functioning.
A concussion occurs initially when there has been a blow to the head or jolt and there is increased blood flow. Symptoms are immediate or shortly after the incident and may look like:
What are some of the signs that I might have a concussion?
- confusion or feeling dazed
- slurred speech
- nausea or vomiting
- balance problems or dizziness
- blurred vision
- sensitivity to light
- sensitivity to noise
- ringing in ears
- behavior or personality changes
- concentration difficulties
- memory loss
If the blood flow changes subside with rest and restricted activities, everything is fine. Second Impact Syndrome occurs when you experience another blow to the head or jolt before the symptoms of the first concussion have subsided. This is what was happening with professional football players.
Post Concussive Syndrome occurs when the blood flow does not subside, and the symptoms do not resolve. Typically, after 14 days from the impact. This term is used interchangeably with Traumatic Brain Injury.
Traumatic brain injuries can cause bruising, damage to the blood vessels, and injury to the nerves. TBI’s can come from an unresolved concussion or from a more significant impact to the head/brain. If the skull is compromised from a severe fall, being hit by something, or if something is impaled to the brain then we see the structures of the brain being either damaged or impacted in addition to the healing response.
Neurofeedback can help in all stages or situations of concussion and traumatic brain injury. Through neuron reorganization, blood flow is affected, and symptoms/functioning will improve. At the intake, we will gather all of the details of the injury and will set up the best course of treatment for you.
At our office, we cannot perform MRI’s or CT scans to rule out more severe brain issues after a trauma. A medical evaluation from your physician is recommended to rule out structural issues, however, we do find that immediate neurofeedback treatment after an injury can significantly reduce the treatment duration.