What Happens After the Coma?

Many people who have acquired a brain injury tell a similar story.  They gradually awaken from a coma.  They have to relearn aspects of life that were once simple tasks, like balance, walking, speaking, socializing, and tempering emotions.  Weeks pass, exhausted from math and reading classes, speech and physical therapy.  The process challenges the very deepest aspects of the individual, often instigating feelings of frustration, hopelessness, and depression.  After a period of rehab, they leave the hospital with limited options with regard to therapy, relationships, housing, financing and work.

Local support groups are often great resources to steer people towards the help they need.  The Brain Injury Association of Oregon (www.biaoregon.org) offers an excellent resource guide to help those with TBI navigate the assistance available.  Communities are coming together to enhance this network for those recovering from TBI.  Many people in the TBI community, however, are unaware of the options offered by complementary providers such as naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, yoga therapists and nutritionists.  I’d like to share a brief overview of some of the treatments we provide at Nature Cures Clinic that may be of help in the recovery from TBI.

At Nature Cures Clinic we offer individualized health care focused on addressing not just symptoms, but also the underlying causes of imbalance.  For example, I treated a patient for a year and a half for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis that started following brain injury.  The treatment plan focused on balancing the thyroid while simultaneously providing the central nervous system with the building blocks for healing.  A generalized TBI treatment would have missed the thyroid imbalance.  Even if it is clear that the majority of symptoms are related to TBI, it is absolutely necessary to consider other systems of the body that may be operating below optimal function.  At Nature Cures Clinic, we treat each person according to the needs of their body.  This is determined by a complete physical exam, a detailed history of illness, and any labs and imaging necessary to accurately assess ongoing internal imbalances.

A brief summary below introduces you to the three modules of the TBI program at Nature Cures Clinic.  There may be concepts here that you are unfamiliar with.  In the coming weeks, I will provide more information on how we use these therapies in the treatment of TBI.

IV Nutritional Therapy offers a unique way to offer the body nutrients to heal following injury.  We have a standard multivitamin formulation we use for many health conditions.  These nutrients help enhance mood, energy, and immune function.  Other formulations specifically target the brain, and these I find particularly useful to accelerate healing post-TBI.  These include nutrients such as alpha lipoic acid and glutathione.  I will discuss this further in future posts.

Nutrition matters.  What you eat directly impacts how you feel and how well your body heals following injury.  Even though food is a very sensitive area for many people and dietary changes are challenging, it can be the pivotal change that decides whether or not the nervous system heals.  I will discuss this further in future posts.

Chinese Medicine provides a fresh approach to working with many symptoms of TBI such as chronic pain, muscle spasms, forgetfulness, and mood disorders.  Through the lens of Chinese Medicine we often encounter underlying imbalances in the body that may have been overlooked by modern medicine.  Addressing these underlying imbalances removes potential obstacles to healing, and thus can speed up the recovery from TBI.  At Nature Cures Clinic, we incorporate three aspects of Chinese Medicine as part of the TBI program: Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, and Qi Gong.  I will discuss each of these further in future posts.

The three modules above, IV Nutritional Therapy, Nutrition, and Chinese Medicine offer a thorough complementary approach to the treatment of traumatic brain injury.  The program is not intended to replace the current model of care, but rather to augment a medical model that falls short in providing options for continued outpatient care for post TBI syndrome.  It is my belief that the brain can always do better, regardless of how much time has passed since injury.  Please feel free to give us a call with any questions you have regarding supporting your ongoing healthcare.