Concussion Treatment and Prevention

Hurray, it’s ski season!

If you or your kids ski for fun, or more seriously in the many amazing race programs in our area, this post is for you. (Hockey players, we haven’t forgotten you either!)

Dr. Maggie, a former nationally competitive skier, and StoneTree Clinic’s resident sports performance guru, wants to make sure you know how to manage the inevitable bonks on the head that come when you “hit” the slopes or the ice.

Bruising Your Brain

Your body has evolved a great system for protecting the brain. On the outside, you have a hard bony layer—the skull—to shelter your soft brain tissue from the outside world. Under the skull, fluid and protective membranes allow your brain to “float” inside your skull, protecting it from damage.

In the case of a serious whack, however—say, falling while skiing, or piling into the boards—your brain can move in unexpected ways, and can actually hit the inside of your skull. We call that a mild traumatic brain injury. There are several kinds, but we often generalize and refer to them collectively as a “concussion”.

While your brain has a remarkable knack for self-healing from damage, it can only do so much. Here are three key strategies for protecting this vital organ.

1. Prevention. Did you know that there are things that you can do before impact to minimize the negative repercussions of a head injury? When you suffer a concussion, you trigger an immune response in your body–your immune system creates inflammation to help protect your brain. If you’ve managed and supported your inflammatory pathways, you can get a jump on minimizing damage and maximizing healing. Remember: if you’re involved in a sport with a head injury risk, there are things you can do in addition to wearing a helmet.

2. Early Treatment – The early days of a head injury are the most vital in terms of neurological and inflammatory changes. The sooner you can begin to get help, the more you speed up and support healing and recovery. Seek help as soon as you can after a head trauma.

For those who are competing competitively:

3. Set up your concussion health care team. Your best support comes from a combination of healthcare practitioners who can help you to a full recovery! Chiropractic, physiotherapy, exercise therapy and naturopathic care are all important components of complete care. In this regard, health care is a lot like sports: the better the team, the better the results.

We use a combination of tools to help support concussion recovery, including a specialized brain recovery diet, targeted supplementation, IV therapy, and acupuncture. For questions and care, Dr. Maggie is in the clinic during the holiday season and beyond. You can book online here, or call the clinic at 705-444-5331.

Shingles: Causes and Prevention

Herpes zoster is the virus that causes the chickenpox. Most of us experienced this infection as kids–a very itchy rash, that can show up over the entire body.

Once chickenpox is resolved the herpes zoster virus can “hide” in a little pocket in our nerves called the dorsal root ganglia. It can hide there, dormant, for years, with a healthy immune system keeping it where it can’t cause any trouble.

But, like a gift that just keeps on giving, the virus can reemerge.

As we age, or if we are in a situation where our immune system is run down, that little virus can poke it’s head out and start causing trouble. That trouble is called shingles, and anyone who has had it can tell you it’s no fun.

This painful rash typically appears as a single “strip” of blisters that wraps around either side of your torso.   These blisters can be itchy and/or burny. They can cause numbness or tingling and result in intense sensitivity to touch. Some people also experience fever, headache, fatigue, and sensitivity to light. Overall the experience is extremely unpleasant.

Wore still, as you age, chances increase that you can develop a complication like post-herpetic neuralgia, which is continued pain even after the blisters have resolved that can result in months of discomfort.

So what to do?

1. Keep your immune system strong and healthy.

Immune boosting is the key to prevention. You want to keep that dormant virus right where it is! Eat right, exercise, get lots of rest when you feel tired and lots of laughter whenever you can.

2. Treat early.

Getting an antiviral within 72 hours of the onset of shingles will decrease the duration of the disease. If you don’t want to do conventional anti-virals, some research supports using IV Vitamin C to decrease both disease duration and post-herpetic neuralgia. We’ve seen this work in practice in many patients. Vitamin B12 injections have also been shown to decrease post-herpetic neuralgia.

Shingles is no fun. If you develop symptoms, see your health care provider as soon as possible!

Your Cold and Flu “GO-KIT”

It is not uncommon for the ND’s at StoneTree to get emails or messages over the weekend, after hours, or when they are away from home, from patients who are coming down with cold or flu symptoms and want to get on top of them right away. No one wants a full-blown cold or flu!

Of course, the first thing we always recommend is to get in as soon as you can for in IV Vitamin C drip.

(To learn more, check out this “60 Minutes” documentary on the benefit of Vit C in resolving infection, or this interview with Dr. Marik, MD on the value of vitamin C and sepsis.)

When patients can’t get into the clinic for the “big guns” the first question we ask is, What supplements do you have at home?

As you might imagine, not everyone has a fully stocked cold- and flu-fighting pharmacy at home, and most people didn’t have the best tools at their disposal when they really needed them.

Here is what we wish you had:

  • Zinc. Studies show that taking zinc at first sign of cold symptoms can decrease the duration of the illness. We have definitely seen evidence of this in practice. It’s important to note, however, that more zinc is not always better. Taking too much for too long can create trouble, but taking it acutely for a short period is okay.
  • Oil of oregano. It tastes like a spaghetti monster exploded in your mouth, but this herb is AWESOME at killing all things microbial!
  • Echinacea and Goldenseal. These two herbal medicines together are a double threat to winter illness! Echinacea is the immune booster and goldenseal is anti-microbial. Taking them at first sign of symptoms can often stop a cold before it even starts.
  • Vitamin C. Can’t get in for an IVC? Taking Vitamin C orally can help, too. Taking a 1000mg every hour to bowel tolerance is the way to go. Some people may get an upset tummy but for those who tolerate it, get a chewable option–it feels like you are popping like sweet treats all day.
  • Castor Oil. This magical oil moves lymph, which means it helps the immune system move around. Sore throat? Apply cast0r oil and cover with a scarf. Ear infection? Castor oil to the neck, topped with a gentle heating pad, gets the lymph moving and moves the congestion out.

Now You Can Have the Wishlist On Hand!

For the cold and flu season, we’ve put together a cold and flu “GO-KIT”. It contains:

  • Zinc
  • Oil of oregano
  • Echinacea-Goldenseal tincture
  • An immune booster called Pascoleucyn that is safe and effective for all ages

You can pick up your “GO-KIT” at the front desk for $74.99 + HST. (Bought individually the kit works out to $104.81.)

Questions? Stop by to pick up your kit, or contact the clinic at 705-444-5331.

‘Tis the Season…

…to be stressed?

…to be sick?

…to have interrupted sleep?

…to be cranky?

…to have tummy troubles?

The holiday season can be a lot of fun, but it can also be pretty hard on our physical and mental health!

That makes December a great time to check in with your ND.

We can help support your immune system
No one has time to be sick over the holidays. Preventing illness is ideal, but in the event that a virus is starting to take hold, try getting on top of it with an immune-boosting IV and/or supplements as soon as symptoms show up. When you feel the onset, kick that critter fast!

We can help support your digestive system
The holiday season is filled with over-indulging. Sugar, booze, and late nights are fun, but they can wreak havoc on your tummy. ND’s have many tools in our tool-box to help you manage these symptoms over the holidays so you can enjoy the season!

We can help you cope with the stress
There’s a lot to do over the holidays–parties, shopping, cooking, wrapping. At times, it can be overwhelming. Add those “challenging” family relationships and it can lead to many sleepless nights. ND’s are pros at helping you rebalance and support your stress hormones.

This season is also a great time of year to get started with an ND if you have unused benefits. Naturopathic care is covered by most extended benefit plans–that lets you save your money for presents. 🙂

Booking on-line makes it easy to book that IV or visit when it is convenient for you. If you can’t sleep – get in the next day for help. If your throat feels a little scratchy when you wake up, you can book that IV right away.

Welcome to December!