The Five Pillars of ConcussionAug 31, 2022 10:01AM ● By Carol L. Henricks
2. Attention / Concentration / Memory / Cognitive Function: These are higher intellectual functions and they are not easily separated into separate tasks. In order to remember something, we have to pay attention to it, concentrate and try to remember. It is common after concussion for injured persons to have short-term memory problems and need to make notes and use reminders and alarms to get through their day. Information processing such as complex decision making and understanding ideas is difficult. Post-concussion injured persons are easily overwhelmed in situations where there is a lot of stimulation to process. Cognitive functions involve coordination of different areas of the cortex, thalamus, cingulate gyrus and other brain structures.
3. Sleep: Post-concussion sleep, particularly the sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm) is disrupted. It is hard to fall asleep, stay asleep and typical to wake up early in the morning and not return to sleep. Nightmares and night terrors (especially for military members and veterans) are common. Injured brain structures include the hypothalamus, thalamus and reticular activating system.
4. Balance: Problems with balance and dizzy spells are typical. Balance involves coordinating the activity of many areas of the brain including the vestibular system (inside the ear) proprioception (the body’s way of localizing us in space), vision, frontal motor cortex, basal ganglia, brainstem and cerebellum. An injured person may experience dizzy spells, feel off balance when changing positions and find themselves walking to one side or the other or into walls or worse. They might start to feel “clumsy” and uncoordinated. Episodes of sudden “spinning” and feeling like they may pass out are not uncommon.
5. Emotions: Anxiety, depression and irritability are the most common emotional symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. As the underlying brain injury remains untreated, an injured person may manifest clinical symptoms of manic-depression, rage or suicide. There is a biological sadness as a consequence of concussion that may be present that is not a situational response. Emotional symptoms may include pseudobulbar affective (PBA) disorder or emotional incontinence: once someone begins to feel an emotion, they cannot stop the full expression of that emotion. Emotions and the expression of emotion are all brain functions. We don’t have a thought, a behavior or a feeling that does not come from the brain. Brain areas controlling emotion include pre-frontal cortex, limbic system, hippocampus and amygdala.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) saturates the body with oxygen, reducing inflammation and enhancing recovery from central nervous system injury including: traumatic brain injury, post-co... Read More »