37 Ways You Can Hurt Your Brain and Not Know It

Hurt Your Brain

When you think of a brain injury, you probably envision a cracked skull or a visit to the emergency room. However, physical injury isn’t the only way to hurt the brain. Many other things—such as toxins, infections, and untreated physical and mental health conditions—can also cause harm to your brain. Unfortunately, because we can’t see inside our heads, many people are completely unaware that certain common habits, products, conditions, and activities can have potentially harmful consequences on the brain.

Because we can’t see inside our heads, many people are completely unaware that certain common habits, products, conditions, and activities can have potentially harmful consequences on the brain. Click To Tweet

37 Things That Hurt the Brain

Take a look at the 37 items in the list below that can injure the brain and see how many of them apply to you:

  1. Fallen off a swing
  2. Crashed your bike
  3. Tumbled out of a tree
  4. Had a near-drowning or other deprivation of oxygen (anoxia)
  5. Hit your head on the wall at the skate park
  6. Headed soccer balls
  7. Gotten your bell rung playing football, hockey, rugby—or any sport
  8. Been punched in the head during an assault
  9. Had exposure to carbon monoxide
  10. Fell off a ladder
  11. Been exposed to a shock wave blast, such as during military combat
  12. Have had binge drinking episodes
  13. Addicted to smoking cigarettes or vaping
  14. Have had chronic alcohol abuse
  15. Been addicted to street drugs
  16. Recreational marijuana use
  17. Living with toxic mold in your home
  18. Use of toxic household cleaners, or using potent solvents at work
  19. Living in a heavily polluted area
  20. Exposure to heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, or aluminum
  21. Having untreated sleep apnea, i.e. do you snore and stop breathing while asleep?
  22. Taking prescription pain killers beyond the recommended dose
  23. Having high blood pressure
  24. Being overweight or obese
  25. Having erectile dysfunction
  26. Diagnosed with diabetes
  27. Eating too much sugar
  28. Having an infectious disease, such as Lyme or COVID-19
  29. Living with chronic stress
  30. Having untreated depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD
  31. Radiation therapy
  32. Chemotherapy
  33. Lost your sense of smell
  34. Having periodontal (gum) disease
  35. Hormonal deficiency, such as low estrogen for women, low testosterone for men and women, or thyroid dysfunction
  36. Being lonely and isolated
  37. Never learning new things

As you can see, there are numerous ways that your brain and its function can be damaged—and many of them may have surprised you. BUT even if you have several on this list, there are still ways to help your brain get better!

Brain SPECT Imaging for Hurt Brains

How can you find out if you have damaged your brain? Looking at the brain with advanced imaging technology called SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography) can help. SPECT looks at blood flow and activity in the brain and can show 3 very important things:

  • Areas of the brain that work well
  • Areas that don’t work hard enough (low activity)
  • Areas that work too hard (overactive)

Depending on what has harmed the brain, it can result in having areas of low activity, high activity, or both. Being able to see areas of the brain that aren’t functioning optimally can help determine what might be hurting the brain. This is an important step because knowing what caused (or is continuing to cause) damage to the brain is critical to healing the brain.

There’s Hope for Healing Your Brain

Although every brain is unique, all brains can benefit from being in a healing environment. Simply put, this means avoiding things that hurt your brain, such as toxins, more concussions, and a poor diet, while incorporating simple lifestyle changes that support your brain health, such as:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing your stress with meditation or deep breathing exercises
  • Eating a healthy diet with lots of fresh produce, foods rich in omega-3s (i.e. salmon and walnuts), and healthy fats like those found in avocados
  • Getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night
  • Learning to challenge your automatic negative thoughts that can otherwise ruin your mood and your day.

Your brain is the organ of you. It is involved with everything you do, feel, think, and decide, and when it works well, you work well. When it is troubled—for any of the reasons listed above or others—you are more likely to have trouble in your life. Even if your brain has been hurt, it can get better when you choose to do the right things to take care of it and help it heal.

Traumatic or toxic brain injuries, addictions, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

16 Comments »

  1. We greatly appreciate your insight and teaching. Thank you for taking the heat to speak truth. It’s rare in this day and age!

    Comment by Sandy ball — September 15, 2021 @ 3:37 AM

  2. I am dealing with neurological lyme and it’s effecting my brain. I’m also getting less than 7 hours sleep a few days a week. Plus I checked off a few other items on the list. I’d like to get a spect scan and I’m interested in how to heal my brain from the effects of lyme.

    Comment by Denise zaft — September 15, 2021 @ 4:24 AM

  3. Thank you for both lists the ones that harm your brain and the ones that can help. You did not mention migraine headaches. I have had migraine headaches since early childhood. About 20 years ago I had an MRI and the Neurologist then stated I had lesions on my brain from the migraines. I try my best to get the right amount of sleep eat the right foods and keep stress to a minimum as those can all be triggers for a migraine. I find your information is always useful and intriguing but this makes me want to speak to my neurologist today.
    Thanks for the useful information. Jeannine

    Comment by Jeannine — September 15, 2021 @ 4:39 AM

  4. 38. Car accident(s)

    Comment by Wendy — September 15, 2021 @ 4:44 AM

  5. Do you take Ambetter? Are you in zTampa?

    Comment by Lynn Flanagin — September 15, 2021 @ 6:07 AM

  6. I like to set an appointment with Dr Amén, do you charge for a consultation?

    Comment by Rocio Armendariz — September 15, 2021 @ 6:22 AM

  7. I like your pointing out 37 reasons in the past you have injured your brain. I having two brain tumors back to back first one 8 years ago second one 4 years later. Least half the occurrences for brain injury occurred in my life time. I’m 67 years old now and still recovering from my second brain tumor awake craniotomy. It was reassuring to know what caused or the causes of my malignant brain tumors

    Comment by Keith Howarth — September 15, 2021 @ 6:25 AM

  8. Gives me so much Hope, Dr A says it’s Not too late. Interesting that even NOT learn new stuff…hurts. Thk u v much for this.

    Comment by teresa baumgartner — September 15, 2021 @ 8:49 AM

  9. Where is your nearest clinic to Lubbock, Texas.
    My Mom had Dementia and I’m concerned since it is hereditary.

    Comment by Melanie Fortenberry — September 15, 2021 @ 10:19 AM

  10. Hello Melanie, thank you for reaching out. Amen Clinics currently has 9 locations (including one in the Dallas Metro Area): https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/. For more information about scheduling, pricing, insurance, and financing options, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — September 15, 2021 @ 11:03 AM

  11. Hello Rocio, thank you for reaching out. We would be happy to contact you directly with more information regarding pricing, insurance, financing options, and scheduling an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — September 15, 2021 @ 11:25 AM

  12. Hello Lynn, thank you for reaching out. Amen Clinics currently has 9 locations: https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/. For more information about scheduling, pricing, insurance, and financing options please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — September 15, 2021 @ 11:28 AM

  13. Is there a clinic in the NH area

    Comment by PATRICIA L HILL — September 15, 2021 @ 12:39 PM

  14. Where’s your nearest location to Excelsior Springs, MO

    Comment by Brittany Macy — September 15, 2021 @ 3:10 PM

  15. Hello Patricia, thank you for reaching out. Amen Clinics currently has 9 locations: https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/. For more information about scheduling, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — September 15, 2021 @ 4:39 PM

  16. Hello Brittany, thank you for reaching out. Amen Clinics currently has 9 locations: https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/. For more information about scheduling, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — September 15, 2021 @ 4:40 PM

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