I am not a physician. I am writing from my own research and experience. This is not meant to take the place of medical care. If you have or suspect you have a traumatic brain injury, seek the appropriate medical care.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a sudden injury that damages the brain. It may happen when there is a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. The most common of those injuries are concussions. It is estimated between 1.7 and 3 million sports- and recreation-related concussions happen each year. In the case of mild TBIs and concussions 80 percent of individuals will recover quickly with no long-term impact. However, about 20 percent of patients will have some persistent symptoms including headaches, depression, anxiety, memory loss, and sleep disturbances. More severe brain injuries can have profound life altering impacts.
The amount of information available on how to recover from a brain injury can be overwhelming. I sifted through the research to find simple ways to assist with the brain's recovery. I wanted the suggestions to be easily accessible, easy to integrate into daily life, and affordable. Even if you have not suffered a brain injury these suggestions are beneficial for overall brain health.
Sleep The most important component in recovering from a brain injury. During sleep the brain restores and repairs itself and it clears out built up toxins. Paradoxically, sleep disturbances are a commonly overlooked side effect of traumatic brain injuries. A study from the journal Neurology reports that quality of sleep and brain recovery occurred in tandem. It suggests basic lifestyle changes to improve the quality of sleep, including early morning exposure to daylight, reducing exposure to bright light in the evening, and sleeping in cool, dark rooms. Poor sleep results in poor brain function recovery.
Exercise After the initial recovery period, moderate exercise, especially weightlifting, is helpful for brain injury recovery. How does it help? One way is by increasing blood flow and oxygenation to the brain. Another way it the repetitive motion involved in exercise helps to reestablish damages neural pathways. Exercise also improves neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize neurons in response to learning or experience. Long story short, the better your brain's neuroplasticity the faster your recovery.
Diet Consuming high quality omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve cognition, plasticity, and recovery of neurons after traumatic brain injury. Other fats helpful for brain recovery are choline, found in the yolks of eggs and medium-chain fatty acids, found in coconut oil. Coffee drinkers rejoice, new evidence in animal models shows regular consumption of caffeine protects the brain against injury. One more reason to enjoy your morning cup of joe.
Breath Work This is an often overlooked tool useful for brain injury recovery. Breath work is helpful for increasing oxygenation and blood flow to the brain. It is also helpful at calming an anxious mental state. In my practice I teach my clients breath work that helps stimulate the pituitary and pineal glands. It helps with their recovery and elevates them out of a negative mindset.
Biomagnetism This is an especially powerful and underutilized therapy for brain injury recovery. A skilled therapist can locate areas of the brain affected by an injury. Through the placement of magnets, the bioenergetic balance and normal pH of the damaged area can be restored. That restoration encourages increased blood flow and oxygenation and promotes faster healing. You can learn to use Biomagnetism at home to encourage brain health. The Professional Plan in my Resource Gallery has an easy to follow, three part video protocol for Brain Health.
The road to recovery from a traumatic brain injury can be long and winding. The suggestions above are all simple ways to improve your quality of life and support your recovery. If you have suffered from a traumatic brain injury, what have you found helpful for recovery?