Have you considered the connection between your brain, heart and gut? When one system is off, you might notice symptoms throughout your body. March is brain injury awareness month, and while we focus on the brain, Wholeness providers remind us we cannot discount other important systems. Looking at brain injuries from a whole perspective, helps your brain integrate with the rest of your body in a healthy way.
We gathered a list of our most frequently asked questions related to brain injuries and have put together a guide to help if you or a loved one has been affected.
The Wholeness Center offers an integrative approach to help you manage your brain injury through recovery and beyond. Some of our treatment options include: therapy, medication support, brain mapping, neurofeedback therapy and support for all affected systems.
Read on for a Q&A session with Wholeness providers as they offer insight into brain injuries and integrative treatment:
How, as a practitioner, do you address brain injuries, specifically?
Dr. Mary Rondeau, ND: Brain injuries can have numerous symptoms that may stem from other places like the endocrine, psychiatric, hormonal and neurological systems. An integrative approach to treatment is very helpful in supporting the whole body due to a brain injury.
Further, damage from brain injuries can be caused by inflammation which spreads through each system of the body. Therefore, nutritional support post brain injury is important to give the brain and body what it needs to heal. Turmeric, and the active constituent curcumin, have been shown to help with brain injury recovery. The brain is mostly fat, so, in addition to foods that are anti- inflammatory, omega 3 fatty acids are also an important part of treatment.
What are some symptoms to watch for with brain injuries from a mental health standpoint?
Dr. Mary Rondeau ND: After a brain injury, we often see an increased inability to focus and/ or concentrate, increased anxiety, increased overwhelm, issues with sleep, and depression. These symptoms can happen directly after a brain injury or take months to years to manifest.
If you have had a concussion or brain injury, be sure to tell your provider because it is an important part of your health history.
Dr. Kylie House MD: It is common for individuals with brain injuries to develop mental health problems, even if they were not affected prior to the injury. Common mental health consequences of brain injuries include difficulties with working memory and concentration, depression, anxiety, and – often overlooked – apathy.
Dr. Matthew Brennecke ND: The gut and the brain are so closely linked and have a distinct connection. With brain injuries, even a minor concussion has the ability to throw off mental health. Both the brain and the small intestine must be addressed (due to neurotransmitters that are produced there) after a brain injury.
When I see a patient with a concussion or other brain injury, I like to address gut health along with it. Oftentimes, the dysbiosis within the gut caused by brain injuries can create a more permeable membrane within the gut lining. The inflammation that is created by dysbiosis in the gut also releases a cytokine, called TNF-alpha.
TNF-alpha then circulates in the blood stream and makes the blood brain barrier more permeable. So, now we have a more permeable gut membrane along with a more permeable blood brain barrier, which can lead to depression, anxiety, mood issues, insomnia, brain fog, and memory difficulty, amongst others.
What are some mental health issues that people with brain injuries deal with?
Dr. Kylie House MD: I want to emphasize the fact that after a head injury, many suffer from apathy which may look similar to depression but is diagnostically different. Apathy is closer to indifference, but it is similar to depression in that it holds the same qualities – lack of joy and poor motivation. In addition, symptoms of depression include: hopelessness, guilt, suicidal ideation, and changes in appetite and sleep.
Dr. Matthew Brennecke ND: Mental health issues dealt with by people with past brain injuries can be a whole host of symptoms. We see a lot of gut dysbiosis with it, so digestion isn’t working quite right. We see quite a bit of chronic headaches and brain fog. Anxiety and depression, along with insomnia and mood issues also present themselves. The longer these symptoms are ignored, the longer the road to recovery.
What are some tools that Wholeness provides, that help those with brain injuries cope?
Dr. Kylie House MD: Coping with brain injuries involves a multidisciplinary team as well as adequate support and resources.
Interventions are specific to the needs of the individual, and the needs are often based on the specific parts of the brain affected. The Wholeness Center offers:
- brain mapping
- hormone support
- nutritional supplements for inflammation
- nutritional support brain injuries
- medication management
Dr. Matthew Brennecke ND: Wholeness utilizes conventional medical therapies to address some of the symptoms of brain injuries, such as prescription medications for acute attacks in headaches and ketamine therapy for chronic symptoms of depression and anxiety.
In addition, Wholeness utilizes naturopathic medicine to address underlying symptoms affecting systems in the body like the gut/brain axis, and to complement conventional medicine with a focus on nutrition, movement, sleep and stress management.
Dr. Steven Rondeau ND, BCN-EEG: Brain mapping is very useful to identify where your brain injury has impacted the brain and to what extent. It can also be helpful to determine medication suggestions, supplements and therapies.
In the last decade Wholeness has created the largest database of human brain patterns with responses to medications and natural substances (supplements and herbs). Wouldn’t it be nice to know if you will respond to a treatment BEFORE you start?
Neurofeedback or EEG biofeedback is a computer-aided training method in which the patient’s own brain activity can be monitored and improved. It is an evidence-based therapy with a foundation in neuroscience
Being aware of how your brain cooperates with the rest of the systems in your body can be a helpful practice whether or not you’ve had a brain injury. Many of us have some struggle with health that needs to be addressed, so looking at the whole picture, not just the brain injury, should be a priority.
Wholeness Center offers a variety of mental health tools to assist you. If you live in the Northern Colorado/ Ft. Collins area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs the Wholeness Center has to offer, please call 970-221-1106 or email email@example.com.
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