Traumatic Brain Injury Albuquerque

TBI: Managing Symptoms, Treatment & Recovery

A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a severe fall, blow or shock to the head. The sudden impact causes the brain to move abnormally and can leave a person in an altered state of unconsciousness. If you participate in impact sports or have recently been in a motor vehicle accident then you could potentially be suffering with a concussion. If you’re wondering about traumatic brain injury in Albuquerque then Southwest Brain Performance Centers is here to educate you on managing symptoms, treatment and recovery.

TBI Symptoms

TBI symptoms range from mild to severe and can begin immediately, develop after hours, days or weeks following an injury. The following are common TBI symptoms to look out for:

  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Urge to vomit
  • Headache that won’t go away
  • Loss of memory
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste

Treatment at SWBPC

Southwest Brain Performance Centers takes a neurological approach to therapy. Our experts take a deep dive into looking multiple facets, some including:

  • Head rotation
  • Neck and body positioning
  • Muscle and joint impulses
  • Mental apprehension
  • Structural evaluation
  • Assessment of mental strengths and weaknesses (brain activity)

These evaluations are completed to create a comprehensive treatment plan suitable for you. Every patient is treated differently based on past medical history and type of injury. Treatment and recovery will rely heavily on allowing your body and brain to heal.

Tips to Recover Faster

Rest is very important when managing and recovering from TBI symptoms. At Southwest Brain Performance Centers, we encourage our patients to get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day. Tips to help you recover quicker include:

  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs
  • Only taking prescribed medications
  • Limiting strenuous activity
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Icing the injury
  • Being patient with the treatment process

Recovering from a traumatic brain injury can take time. Patients are advised to be very careful to avoid a second head injury and to continue to protect themselves in the future. Learn more about TBI symptoms Albuquerque by contacting SWBPC today.

Traumatic Brain Injury Albuquerque

How to Trick your Brain into Motivation Instead of Procrastination

Lack of motivation plagues even the brightest and most ambitious at times, especially when we have so many digital distractions these days. But you can trick your brain into becoming more motivated and it will hardly even notice. You simply need to know a little about the neurology of motivation and procrastination.

A key brain chemical, or neurotransmitter, involved in motivation is dopamine. It also happens to be the key neurotransmitter involved in bad habits and addiction, including digital addictions to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. We need plenty of dopamine to stay motivated and feel good about our accomplishments and ourselves. Otherwise we lapse into procrastination.

Every time you check your Facebook (or smoke a cigarette, gamble, take a drug, or engage in any other addiction), the pleasure center of the brain, called the nucleus accumbens, is flooded with dopamine and hence feelings of pleasure. Dopamine also encourages motivation to continue that feel-good behavior.

This system doesn’t exist simply to sabotage us with Netflix binge watching addictions. We are designed to find pleasure in certain activities that ensure survival of our species, such as eating, love, sex, and having fun (positivity is good for immune and brain health). However, these rewarding pleasures require, to varying degrees, a certain amount of work, attention, and time for modest releases of dopamine.

An addictive habit, however, can release two to 10 times the amount of dopamine a natural one does. In other words, jumping on to Facebook is going to give you a quicker and easier dopamine “high” than, say, building a fire so you can hang out with your tribe and cook that day’s catch.

In an attempt to maintain balance, the brain’s receptors lose tolerance to dopamine so that you get less of a high. However, dopamine has also wired your brain to connect the stimulus with the feelings of pleasure. As a result, compulsion builds with tolerance.

Southwest Brain Performance Centers

As the compulsion for the bad habit grows, the increased dopamine demand saps your motivation to engage in more positive but less extreme dopamine-boosts. If you have ever gotten sucked into binge watching a Netflix series over taking a walk on a sunny day, you know what I’m talking about.

You also probably know that willing yourself into better behavior often fails you and makes you feel even worse about yourself — dopamine is tied to self-esteem and when yours is running low, so is your sense of self-worth.

It’s not as hopeless as it sounds. The key is to redirect your brain’s dopamine system with baby steps that develop new pathways of communication so you think, feel, and behave differently. This is called plasticity.

How? Pick a positive action small enough you know you can accomplish it. Trouble sticking to an exercise routine? Commit to one pushup a day. Wish you would work on that book? Write one paragraph, or even one sentence a day. Want to meditate? Start with one minute, or maybe a few minutes of reading.

The magic isn’t in how much you do, but through the feeling of accomplishment. This sends rewarding dopamine boosts to the areas of your brain that need it the most so positive plasticity can develop. After you have been doing that one pushup or that one minute of meditation, increase it to two, and so on. The goal is to feel a rewarding sense of accomplishment and continue building on that in small, achievable ways.

Symptoms of low dopamine activity include lack of motivation, struggles with procrastination, inability to find pleasure in things you used to enjoy, fatigue, mood swings, memory deficits, addiction, feelings of low self-worth, bouts of rage, and other symptoms.

Low dopamine can have its roots in chronic health imbalances (gut, immune, hormonal, etc.) or in neurological imbalances, such as brain development disorders, brain degeneration, brain injury, or other brain-based mechanisms.

Ask my office – Southwest Brain Performance Centers for functional neurology strategies to help you improve your dopamine activity so you can get stuff done, enjoy life more, and feel better about yourself.

Concussion Albuquerque

The Challenges of Concussion Diagnosis & Treatment

The brain is a mysterious structure and one of the most complex organs in the body. Therefore, our understanding of how the brain works and functions is limited in scope. If you’re left tangled when searching concussion treatment Albuquerque, you’re not alone. However, the experts at Southwest Brain Performance Center specialize in the challenges of concussion diagnosis and treatment.

The Invisible Challenge

Concussion diagnosis and treatment is difficult because of the fact that it cannot be seen. Unlike a broken bone or dislocated bone that can often be seen visibly. Doctors and brain experts still emphasize that it is difficult to diagnose concussions. X-rays and additional imaging of the brain often cannot detect signs of a concussion. Areas of blood clots or bleeding can sometimes be detected using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, MRI’s are not given to every patient as they are expensive and challenging to do.

Diagnosing A Concussion

Concussion testing should be performed on anyone who has suffered an injury to the head. At Southwest Brain Performance Centers our experts don’t take head traumas lightly. We run a series of concussion testing that checks the following:

  • Ocular Motor (eye movement)
  • Balance
  • Memory
  • Cognitive Function
  • Neurological Function

We also rely on the information given by clients. Including symptoms, sensations or any abnormal signs that are experienced.

Some serious concussion symptoms include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Foggy or confused feeling
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Southwest Brain Performance Centers has the technology and experts to comprehensively assess any injury. At SWBPC a complete neurological examination is conducted on each patient and baselines are established in the following areas to establish concussion treatment.

  • Vestibulo-ocular Reflexes
  • Vestibulo-spinal Reflexes
  • Proprioceptive Reflexes
  • Motor Coordination and Reaction Time
  • Cognitive Processing
  • Auditory Integration
  • Structural Integrity
  • Autonomic Stability
  • qEEG Brain Mapping and neurofeedback

If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury, there is a risk of concussion. If you’re searching for concussion treatment Albuquerque Southwest Brain Performance Centers will help support treatment and recovery.

Traumatic Brain Injury Albuquerque

Core Exercises are a Great Way to Improve your Brain Health

Back pain complaints are often met with instruction to build up your core strength, and indeed this is important for better stability and protection for your back. But building core strength helps in another important way — it activates areas of the brain that can enhance stability, reduce pain, and naturally improve posture.

When many people think of the core, they think of six-pack abs we see on gym posters. But the core is basically the entire trunk of your body. The core includes the:

  • Abdomen, home to the fabled six-pack.
  • Back extensors, which run along your spine.
  • Obliques, which wrap diagonally around your waist.
  • Transverse abdominis, which allows you to suck in your stomach.
  • Multifidi, which connect the vertebrae to each other.
  • Quadratuslumborum, which connects your pelvis to your spine.
  • Iliopsoas muscles, which connect the spine to the legs.

Many people develop chronic back pain because of an undiagnosed brain imbalance. The brain coordinates with the eyes and the inner ear to perceive where it is in relation to the environment.

When that information is incorrectly interpreted due to a brain imbalance, the brain may believe the body is falling forward or backwards. To compensate, it adjusts the posture to leanin the opposite direction of the perceived fall. This all happens without a person’s conscious awareness, and can start in infancy.

This constant over correcting creates not only bad posture, but also areas of muscular weakness and tension that affect the spine and other parts of the body, often resulting in chronic pain. These people may also find standing for a short length of time causes fatigue and back pain.

It’s also not uncommon for people with this issue to struggle with anxiety — the constant sense of falling is a source of chronic stressor that can manifest as anxiety, fatigue, and mood swings.

People often report a reduction in back pain and better posture when they take on a core strengthening program. Although strengthening and stretching the core muscles is a vital part of that rehabilitation, it also exercises the midline cerebellum, the area of the brain responsible for, among other things, movement, coordination, and posture. By repeatedly activating the core muscles, you are stimulating this part of the brain.

core exercises brain

How do you know if brain imbalances play a role in your back pain or posture, and whether core exercises can help you?

The best way is to conduct your own field sobriety test — that’s right, the same one cops give to suspected drunk drivers. This is because being drunk also affects the cerebellum. It’s not uncommon for people with posture and back pain issues to also have poor balance due to a cerebellar issue.

A core strengthening program should emphasize good form so you don’t risk injuring yourself. It should also include attention to stability and alignment. A brain imbalance will often cause a person to stand or lie crooked when they think they are straight because the brain is incorrectly perceiving the body’s position.

Pilates is one excellent core strengthening technique that incorporates these strategies along with mindfulness and breath work, which are also great brain rehabilitators.

If you have back pain, poor balance, anxiety, mood issues, gut problems, a previous brain injury, or other symptoms, a functional neurology rehabilitation protocol may be the vital boost you need. Many times when people get stuck on a functional medicine protocol, it’s because a brain-based issue is promoting inflammation and metabolic imbalances.

Visit Southwest Brain Performance Centers or call my office @ 505-888-6800 for more information on how we can help you achieve better brain health.

Concussion Albuquerque

How Concussion can triple the Risk of Suicide

Perhaps you’ve hit your head really hard. You ice it, rest, and you think your fine. Or maybe you’ve suffered from a severe concussion, you feel dizzy for a few days and the symptoms diminish gradually. Is that the end of the risk? Studies show that a person who has had a concussion is triple the risk for suicide.

Even mild injuries to the head can have long-term risks. Even though you may seem fine physically after a short period of time after an injury, lingering damage to neurons in the brain (skull) over-time can lead to depression, insomnia and even harmful behaviors.

There has been lots of research and studies on the harmful effect of brain trauma and injury. But there is still many aspects that medical professionals are not aware of. Ultimately, it is vital to pay close attention to behaviors of someone who has had a concussion or numerous traumas to the head.

Suicide is not a direct risk factor for someone who has had a concussion. However suicide-prone behaviors need to be monitored after-the-fact. The brain is so complex, we have no way of defining and detecting specific problems before they occur.

In the meantime, doctors and family members of individuals who have suffered from concussions should be watching for warming signs, similar to depression, substance abuse, mood swings, etc.

Everyone needs to educate themselves about the risks of suicide in people with a traumatic brain injury, especially if you’ve have a loved one hurt. A doctor needs to be notified immediately if they see changes in behavior or mood, including irritability, loss of happiness, and or loss of hope.

Family members and doctors need to ask clarifying questions to understand what is really going on and to get help for their loved one sooner rather than later.

It is crucial that patients who have suffered from previous head trauma make the injury part of their medical record. This is so doctors in the future can have an accurate understanding of that individual’s medical history. Visit Southwest Brain Performance Centers for details!

Traumatic Brain Injury Albuquerque

Hormones out of Whack since your Brain Injury?

Although brain injury symptoms may subside enough for you to return to daily life, trauma to the brain can continue to subtly wreak havoc on how your body functions and feels for month and even years later. For instance, many people notice their hormone function isn’t the same after a brain injury.

Your hormonal command center — the hypothalamus and pituitary gland — is in the brain. Although a head injury may occur in an isolated area, the vast networks of communication across the entire brain mean that damage to one area affects the entire brain. And because the brain runs the body, it only makes sense daily operations of the body take a hit too.

Estimates on how many people suffer from hormone disorders caused by brain injury vary, however, one study of 1,000 patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) found almost 30 percent had compromised pituitary function.

The hormonal systems most impacted are the sex hormones, growth hormones (which adults need for bone and muscle strength), and adrenal, or stress, hormones. Symptoms range from mild to severe and can surface immediately or months or even years later.

Common hormone symptoms related to brain injury include fatigue, weight gain, low blood pressure, low libido, loss of muscle mass, and amenorrhea. Children may have growth problems later.

More severe repercussions can include Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency), diabetes insipidus (which causes intense thirst and heavy urination), or hyponatremia (abnormally low sodium).

204 TBI and hormonesHow functional neurology and functional medicine can help restore hormone function

Why will two people with the same TBI have two wildly different responses hormonally? In functional neurology and functional medicine, we know one reason is the health of the brain prior to injury. For instance, one person eats a healthy diet, avoids inflammatory foods, isn’t already struggling with depression or anxiety, does not have advanced brain inflammation, and exercises regularly. This person may experience a good and swift recovery after a TBI.

However, take the the person who lives on a pizza and mac-and-cheese, unaware that a gluten and dairy sensitivity are causing immune attacks on the brain. They also drink soda every day, sit gaming or working for hours instead of getting any exercise, and work or live in a stressful, toxic environment. This person likely already has hormonal imbalances and a highly inflamed brain. A brain injury is going to be much more devastating as a result.

Also, hormonal status in midlife can play a big role in how the brain responds to injury as the sex hormones are highly protective of the brain. For the woman or man who experiences a steep decline in hormone production in midlife, their brain is much more vulnerable to damage and slower recovery after a TBI.

You may think hormone replacement therapy is the answer, and in some people it may be, but in functional neurology we look at the various dietary and lifestyle conditions that create hormonal imbalances and work to address those.

We customize rehabilitative functional neurology strategies based on the type of damage a patient’s brain received and pre-existing metabolic health.

We also examine and address the function of related systems, such as the vestibular system, or inner ear; the vagus nerve, an information highway that connects the brain to the organs; and the visual system.Working with these systems, which are so integral to brain function, is a vital to rehabilitation.

If your hormones have been out of whack since your concussion, or brain injury, ask my office how we can help.


Effects of Trauma can be Passed Genetically on to Children

We are increasingly learning the effects of traumatic experiences on the brain, and now, newer research shows these effects can be passed on to children’s genes. Research of Holocaust survivors showed that compared to control groups, their children exhibited genetic changes that increased the likelihood of stress disorders.

Other research shows post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can be passed on to offspring.

Plus, most trauma survivors are coping with the neurological effects of PTSD as they raise their children, which greatly shape a child’s environment and responses to stress.

In functional neurology, we frequently work with the neurological fallout of PTSD, which can include not only being triggered to re-experience the trauma, but also heightened stress response, sensitivity to light, sound, and crowds, emotional instability, depression and suicidality, anxiety and insomnia, disassociation and numbness, and addiction.

How PTSD manifests depends on the person, and women’s symptoms differ from men’s. Men are more prone to anger and addiction whereas women struggle more with depression, anxiety, and health ailments.


Trauma turns on and off genes in offspring

In the Holocaust study, researchers discovered genetic differences in offspring of survivors. This finding upended traditionally held notions that environment and experience don’t affect DNA in sperm and eggs of parents.

Although it has long been believed conception delivers a genetic “clean slate,” newer science on epigenetics shows that our environment and experiences constantly modify genes, even in egg and sperm.

They found chemical tags on the DNA that regulates stress hormones in Holocaust parents and their children that were not found in the control group. However, they are not sure how those tags get passed on.

Is PTSD inherited?

Studies on whether PTSD is genetically inherited are not yet conclusive, although one study found genetic links in almost 30 percent of European-American women with PTSD.

Understanding how big a role genetics plays in trauma would further understanding of why some people get PTSD when others don’t, and how best to treat it.

Also, researchers point to the fallout for children raised by adults with PTSD, which can perpetuate the disorder.

Functional neurology and PTSD

PTSD causes structural changes to the brain. The disorder shrinks some areas of the brain while enlarging others, keeping a person trapped in a neurological prison of hyper arousal, stress, and fear.

For instance, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex shrinks, predisposing one to extreme fear and anxiety. PTSD also shrinks the hippocampus, the area responsible for learning and memory. On the other hand, the amygdala, the area that governs the fear response, enlarges.

Compromises in these and other areas of the brain result in an easily triggered and over exaggerated fear response that can be exhausting and debilitating to the sufferer.

Fortunately, the brain is very responsive to rehabilitation and PTSD sufferers can find considerable relief without drugs.

In functional neurology, we use specific exercises and activities to dampen areas of the brain that are over responsive to stress and stimulate those areas that can help control the fear response. Visit Southwest Brain Performance Centers for more information.