Concussions: 5 Must Know Things That Interfere With Recovery

By Shawn VanWinkle, D.C., D.A.C.N.B

Whether it is from athletic injuries, motor vehicle accidents or falls that result in hitting your head, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a serious health problem in the United States. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, every year at least 1.7 million TBI’s occur either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries. The effects of a TBI can be devastating to those who suffer one, not to mention the enormous impact they have on loved ones. In most cases, many will recover from a TBI within a year. Those who don’t are left with little to no answers for their chronic condition and are often told the damage is permanent. Research has been heavily centered on understanding immune and autoimmune mechanisms, inflammation and energy production damage in the brain. Despite their best efforts to understand TBI’s, their results have yielded little if any treatment options. Once serious complications such as a bleed in the brain have been ruled out, the current medical paradigm is typically a “wait and see” approach. Because of the intricate interconnectedness of the pathways in the brain, surgery and medications have very limited effectiveness when it comes to treating TBI’s.

5 Things that Interfere with Recovery:

  • Multiple or repetitive head injuries
  • Absence of adequate rest post-injury
  • Severity of the injury
  • Stress
  • Poor nutrition

We know that trauma can result in injury to the brain. One of the biggest complicating factors of a brain injury is the inflammation it causes. During the initial stages of a head injury, this inflammation, while unpleasant, is beneficial for us. The presence of any of the 5 things that interfere with recovery can lead to a delay in the brain calming down the inflammation, creating a potential to spread to other areas of the brain. Allowing recovery time, reducing stress and eating well have a significant impact on reducing brain inflammation. One of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation is to slowly, carefully and frequently activate the injured areas of the brain. When this occurs, the nerves that are activated will release chemicals to tell the immune system to calm down.

Finding a specialist to help you recover your health after a concussion can be very challenging. Therefore, it is important you find a functional neurologist who can assess the following areas:

  • Balance & coordination
  • Eye movements
  • Sensory changes
  • Motor changes
  • Mood or cognitive changes
  • Vestibular function

The good news is that the brain has an amazing ability to heal itself when given the right conditions to do so. Cleaning up your diet and reducing potential inflammatory foods is a great way to start. In addition to this, doing exercises that are very specific to rehabilitating the damaged areas of the brain will have a profound impact on your recovery outcomes! Even if the injury occurred years ago, there is still hope for restoring function.

Copyright © 2017 Colorado Integrative Neurology. All Rights Reserved. Shawn VanWinkle, D.C., D.A.C.N.B. is a Doctor at Colorado Integrative Neurology. To learn more about how we can help you with your health goals visit our website at or email us at A free initial consultation can be scheduled by calling our office at (720) 328-5076.