Are you Brain Aware?
By Vesna Cestaric, CHN, RMT
March is Brain injury awareness month and Brain Injury Awareness week was held from March 14th to 20th. Awareness week and month was launched to draw more awareness to this most vital organ and highlight the advances in brain science and gain support for funding more research into therapies and treatments that can help individuals dealing with any kind of brain injury, impairment or illness. Even though the week has past, we can continue to promote awareness and better understanding when it comes to brain science and health.
Concussions are one the areas of brain research that has exploded over the last 20 years due to public interest leading to a change in concussion treatment and management from rest in a dark room to early therapeutic intervention and exercise. Concussions are a type of mild traumatic brain injury that can vary in severity. When it comes to concussion treatment and prevention of post concussion syndrome, new research has shown that early intervention with focused treatment of massage therapy, physiotherapy, vision therapy, exercise and other rehabilitative approaches are keys to ensuring recovery and proper management of symptoms. Early treatment interventions have also shown to reduce the risk of cervicogenic headaches which could then develop into chronic post concussion headaches if not addressed. Cervicogenic headaches are headaches that can be caused by the muscles, joints and nerves in the neck that refer pain into the head.
It’s also important to consider the inflammatory response that gets activated when there has been any kind of injury to the brain. Inflammation in the brain has been termed neuroinflammation. The brain contains its own unique immune cells that get activated in response to any injury or illness in order to promote recovery and healing. However, these immune cells can produce an excessive inflammatory response by triggering the production of other chemical mediators that can hinder brain repair and neurological functional recovery. This is another reason why early intervention and treatment is important as it helps to calm the nervous and immune systems so that they can correct and properly adjust the inflammatory response preventing it from becoming chronic and maladaptive. It’s important to dampen this neuroinflammatory response before it becomes chronic and excessive. In addition to manual tissue therapies and exercise, nutritional support has been shown to offer healing and anti inflammatory benefits.
The active ingredients and the foods that contain them to dampen neuroinflammation:
-Reservatrol – grapes
- Curcumin – turmeric
-Apigen – celery, parsley, basil, artichoke
- Rutin – citrus fruits
When it comes to brain health a multifaceted approach is best – eat good food and take good care!
Burns S. L. (2015). Concussion Treatment Using Massage Techniques: a Case Study. International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork, 8(2), 12–17.
Xiong, Y., Mahmood, A., & Chopp, M. (2018). Current understanding of neuroinflammation after traumatic brain injury and cell-based therapeutic opportunities. Chinese journal of traumatology = Zhonghua chuang shang za zhi, 21(3), 137–151. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cjtee.2018.02.003