• Dr. Nathan Keiser

The day you took control of your concussion symptoms.

The day you took control of your concussion symptoms.

If you are like most people, the symptoms of a concussion fade from the center of your life within the first two weeks and become a distant memory within a month. Cheers! this piece is not for you. There is another group of people that have a different experience. The symptoms linger but the treatment becomes more vague. At the onset, the directions were clear and easy. Rest. Mentally and physically rest. If all goes to plan the body will rally the troops make the necessary repairs and get you back online. Generally speaking this is a good strategy in so far as it works for about 80% of people diagnosed with a concussion. At this point you are probably thinking, “Yeah great, but that didn’t work for me.” If that thought is swimming around in your head, welcome to the party. You are my people.

I imagine that you have a lot of questions, most of them centering around “What can I do to get my life back?” That is the right question, and needs some context. Starting from the beginning, it is important to remember that when you are diagnosed with a concussion, what is broadly being said is that you have injured some part of your brain, and you probably have some symptoms. You can imagine that if you were an oncologist with the job of curing cancer, a simple “this patient has cancer, fix them.” May not be enough information to do an adequate job. You would ask questions like; what type of cancer, where is it, what stage, what is this patient’s response to medications, how old are they, what is the status of their immune system and on and on? Regardless of your medical training, you know these data points are vital to providing the right treatment for the specific cancer, for the specific patient. The more relevant data the doctor has, the more specific the treatment can be —The more measurements you take, the better the dress fits. Step 1 for healing from the concussion that has overstayed its welcome, is to get a clearer damage report. This is fundamental. Everything else feels like purgatory. An accurate assessment shows which types of treatments will be useful and which ones will be useless or even harmful. In my early training, I was fortunate to learn that there is a danger to becoming married to any single treatment or analysis. Flexibility improves precision. Imagine that you are a fly on the wall in my facility. On paper you may see a dozen people all with the same complaints, the same diagnosis and maybe even the same symptoms. Now think of all the different variables involved in successful treatment. What part of the brain is injured? What OTHER areas will that impact? How old is the person/injury? How did it happen? How long have they had symptoms? Was this the first concussion or the 10th? How healthy was their brain when injured? What other treatments have they tried, etc, etc, etc. You can see from this short list that it would be an advantage necessity to look with more precision. It is also a necessity to have the abundance of treatment flexibility needed to address these factors. Precision is empowerment. Step 2 can occur in many different directions that depend on what you uncover in step 1. When you open google maps to get directions to a new restaurant, there are two pieces of information you need to start: #1 Destination, #2 Starting point. You already know your destination—“feel better.” The starting point must then be getting a clear analysis of what is wrong. Once you have that, a clear strategy can be revealed and the journey to feeling better begins. If this made sense for you, see more blog posts below, or click to learn about becoming a patient.

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