Traumatic Brain Injury: The Invisible Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury: The Invisible Injury

What do you think about when you hear Traumatic Brain Injury?

For anyone who has experienced a TBI (mild traumatic brain injury), it may bring back memories of a concussion in sports, a bad car accident, a military explosion, or a terrible accident on the ski slopes. While most people think of brain injury as just a one-time impact to the head, TBI can occur from more repetitive, less severe forces taken to the head and neck over time.

A Traumatic brain injury is often considered an invisible injury because patients that have experienced them often live the rest of their lives in chronic pain. That pain may be in the form of terrible headaches, dizziness or vertigo, and constant fatigue despite not having any noticeable scars or abnormal findings within a medical exam or test.

Research states that in 2013 alone, 2.5 million traumatic brain injury-related visits to the emergency room occurred in the United States. The study estimated that 75-90% of these injuries would be classified as mild. Since many of these folks do not go to the emergency room or seek any medical treatment at all at first, these numbers likely underestimate the accurate amount of TBI that occurs year after year. Especially in our Colorado Springs community that is home to 6 military bases and plenty of mountainous outdoor recreation, it’s no surprise why TBI is so common in Colorado.

In severe cases of traumatic brain injury, doctors usually try to rule out or manage any serious bleeding in the brain such as intracranial hemorrhage or serious neurological damage causing seizures.

Traditional western medicine does a great job at managing these cases when it is a life or death situation. However, since most of these injuries are considered “mild”, the typical form of care for these people is to be told to go home and rest until they feel better.

Unfortunately, most of these mild cases will not improve by simply rest, and will go on to have migraines, dizziness, and fatigue consistently interfering with their quality of life. Living with these chronic symptoms makes it difficult to focus at work, enjoy time with family, and continue an active lifestyle. Often these folks are told they will live like this for the rest of their lives.

While most doctors look to the brain to manage a patient who has suffered a TBI, subsets of doctors are looking just below the brain as an effective solution for those chronic symptoms. Let’s look at what happens in a traumatic brain injury to understand why.

Originally it was thought that a brain injury, like a concussion, only happened when there was a direct impact to the skull. Current research explains how there actually doesn’t even need to be a direct impact to the head for the TBI to occur. The injury can happen due to the acceleration motion that the head and neck go through when experiencing a brain injury such as a motor vehicle accident or an IED explosion. When the head and neck are thrown forward and back or side to side, the brain itself hits the inside of the skull and is deformed causing a tearing of nerve fibers known as axonal tearing and an increase in pressure in the skull as fluid rushes through the circulatory system of the brain.

So why is just below the brain so important? Just beneath the base of the skull is the connection point to the spine known as the craniocervical junction. This area consists of the atlas bone which is where the brain stem becomes the spinal cord and ultimately every nerve in the body. The atlas is also in direct proximity to some of the major blood vessels that transport blood and spinal fluid in and out of the brain such as the vertebral artery and internal jugular vein. When the body sustains enough force for a Traumatic Brain Injury to occur, there is almost always a concomitant neck injury. This is because injuries like concussions or TBI happen at around 60-120 G forces, whereas a whiplash injury happens at about 7-10 G forces. Can you see now that when someone experiences a brain injury they have also suffered a whiplash?

That whiplash that occurs during the brain injury causes a foundational shift in the upper bones in the neck, specifically the atlas bone. Diagnostic imaging by Dr. Scott Rosa, a leading expert in head & neck trauma has shown when the atlas bone misaligns in a rotational manner; the bone can compress and obstruct the important blood vessels in and of the brain. These blood vessels play a crucial role in the brain being supplied with oxygen and the waste clearance mechanism out of the brain.

When a traumatic brain injury occurs, one of the most common results is a buildup of toxic proteins and inflammation in the brain. The foundational shift in the upper neck can permanently block optimal circulation leading to a backup of waste and inflammation in the brain that must be cleared for the brain to have the potential to fully heal again. As time goes on, the blockage of
fluid flow wreaks havoc on the brain, causing long-term symptoms of headaches, brain fog, fatigue, and cognitive decline among many others.

This foundational shift can be managed by a unique type of doctor known as a NUCCA chiropractor. These doctors are trained to locate, analyze, and correct the misalignment to the atlas that occurs following a traumatic brain injury using state-of-the-art imaging and corrective procedure. To learn more about how a TBI may be helped with NUCCA, schedule a complimentary consultation at Balance Chiropractic in Colorado Springs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5575625/

To learn more about Foundational Correction in Colorado Springs call 719-265-0115 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

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