Did Your Symptoms Start After a Head Injury?
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to be in a car accident or get concussed on a football field to injure your brain. A brain injury may result from a hit to the head from a seemingly innocuous fall. Brain injuries can also occur from the sudden, jarring movement of the head and neck (like whiplash).
This is Your Brain
Your brain is incredibly soft and is housed in a really hard skull with multiple sharp bony ridges, making it easy to injure. Think of a consistency between Jell-O and egg whites on the softness spectrum – that’s your brain. Jolting motions and hitting your head can cause the brain to slam into the hard interior of the skull. Such hits to the head can force brain cells to twist and stretch – resulting in brain injuries that can ruin lives.
Ask the Right Questions
If you don’t already have your own set of questions for assessing a history of head injury, consider using these:
• Have you ever been knocked unconscious? If so, for how long?
• Have you ever temporarily “blacked out?”
• Have you ever gotten your “bell rung?”
• Have you ever fallen down or been hit and felt disoriented, confused or nauseous afterward?
• Did you play sports such as football, rugby, soccer, lacrosse or ice hockey?
• Have you ever crashed while skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, cycling, or skating?
• When you were a child, did you ever fall out of a tree, off the jungle gym, off a porch, or out of a window?
• Have you ever been in a car accident, even a minor one and even if you didn’t hit your head? If so, how many?
Undiagnosed Head Injuries
It’s estimated that there are about 2 million emergency room visits for traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the U.S. each year, in addition to hundreds of thousands of unreported incidents of head trauma, including undiagnosed concussions.
Often, brain injuries that don’t result in a loss of consciousness go unnoticed and are never treated. Research shows that undiagnosed brain injuries are a major cause of ADD/ADHD, depression, panic attacks, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, divorce, homelessness and suicide. Untreated brain injuries can also lead to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Some symptoms of TBI overlap with those of other conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) where sleep problems, irritability or anger, concentration problems and social isolation are commonly found in both. Because of this, people can be misdiagnosed and given the wrong type of treatment if no one actually looks at their brain.
Two research studies published in 2015 by the research team at Amen Clinics, in collaboration with scientists from UCLA, Thomas Jefferson University, and the University of British Columbia, were able to differentiate PTSD from TBI with high accuracy using SPECT imaging. This achievement was recognized by Discover Magazine as #19 of the top 100 science stories of 2015. This research paves the way for people suffering with one or both of these conditions to get the correct treatment.
And the good news is that it’s possible to rehabilitate the brain! You truly are not stuck with the brain you have.
If you or a child have suffered a concussion or TBI, don’t delay in implementing these 3 tips for protecting your brain:
Practice Brain Safety
Always wear a helmet and make sure your children wear helmets during contact sports, bike riding, horseback riding, skateboarding, snowmobiling, skiing or snowboarding. Also, to reduce the risk of head injury, wear a seat belt in vehicles, don’t climb ladders, stay off the roof and don’t text while driving or walking.
Balance Your Blood Sugar
Keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day with healthy snacks, green tea, and the vitamins and nutrients you need. Low blood sugar levels are associated with lower overall blood flow to the brain, poor impulse control, irritability, and bad decisions.
Take a Look
How can you really know if you have a head injury unless you get an image of your brain? Brain SPECT imaging is the best tool for determining if your brain has suffered functional damage from a concussion or TBI.
Brain SPECT imaging can:
• Help identify if there has been brain trauma
• Show brain blood flow deficits NOT visible in anatomical studies, such as CT or MRI
• Identify affected brain systems
• Help determine if there could be co-occurring conditions that need treatment
• Increase treatment compliance by showing pictures of results
• Provide scientific documentation that may help with special services or legal issues
Our Full Evaluation includes two SPECT images (concentrating and resting states), a detailed clinical history, neuropsychological testing and comprehensive evaluation with one of our doctors to target treatment specifically to your brain, using the least toxic, most effective means.
If you or a loved one have suffered a concussion or TBI and are experiencing anxiety, depression, aggressive behaviors, or memory loss, call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule a visit.