Traumatic Brain Injury
More so than ever, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are being discussed because of the number of reports regarding service members, and professional and school-age athletes sustaining TBIs due to blunt trauma or jolts to the head. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (n.d.), typical symptoms of TBIs which can include confusion, blurred vision, as well as difficulty concentrating, can manifest immediately or over time. Trauma to the brain activates immune cells in the brain called microglia. This microglia activation causes brain inflammation and subsequent brain dysfunction. Anything that increases inflammation pre or post TBI worsens symptoms.
Functional medicine can be highly beneficial for treating TBIs, particularly because functional medicine focuses on taking a body systems approach to develop personalized care plans that meet patients’ needs. Below are four ways functional medicine can support patients who have sustained a TBI.
Balance the Gut: The primary issue in TBI is inflammation. Inflammation is controlled by the immune system and 70% of the immune system is in the gut. Therefore, gut health is critical to a healthy brain. As such, a functional medicine approach will look for imbalances within the gut, including overgrowth of bacteria and rebalance it to create a healthy gastrointestinal ecosystem. Anything that disturbs the gut can ramp up inflammation in the body and the brain, especially leaky gut.
Nutritional Therapy: Poor nutrition can diminish the brain’s ability to properly absorb the required energy source needed to function at max capacity. The functional medicine approach will assess dietary habits, look for nutritional deficiencies, ad created a nutritional plan to support the brain, including supplementation and or prescribing an alternative dietary plan, such as a keto or gluten free diet.
Oxygenation Therapy: The brain requires a substantial amount of oxygen to function. In the case of a TBI, the oxygen demand is even more significant.
Functional medicine can benefit TBIs through hyper-oxygenation, such as oxygen multi-stop therapy or hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which decreased symptoms associated with TBIs and PTSD in soldiers (Richer 2017).
Mitigate All Inflammation: Inflammation can impede brain healing. Functional medicine benefits TBI patients by ridding inflammation through lifestyle recommendations, dietary changes, and specific herbal supplements.
If you have been diagnosed with TBI and seek holistic options to improve your symptoms, we can help. Our practice specializes in addressing underlying conditions that can make TBI symptoms worse and difficult to treat.
Dr. Fors has successfully treated patients with TBIs experiencing memory loss, lack of concentration, headaches, and other TBI symptoms by creating a personalized Care Program to complement traditional TBI treatments. Call the Pain and Brian Healing Center to learn more. We are accepting new patients, 763-862-7100.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (n.d.). Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Traumatic-Brain-Injury-Information-Page.
Richer, A. C. (2017, August 1). Functional Medicine Approach to Traumatic Brain Injury. Medical acupuncture. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5580364/.