TBI / Concussion

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Concussion / Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

There is no such thing as a tough brain.

Neurofeedback is quickly becoming the preferred treatment to reverse the signs and symptoms of single or multiple concussions or TBI's.

Some people are much tougher than others, but there is no such thing as a tough brain. If the brain is allowed to heal itself after a concussion or TBI, about 80% of people resume normal functioning within 7-10 days. Another 10% return to normal functioning within 90 days. 10% of people will develop life-long symptoms which can wreak havoc on your internal and external world.

If the brain is re-injured before it regains physiological balance, the chance of long-term symptoms and functional decline is raised exponentially. Some call this "Second Hit Syndrome" the proper term is Overlapping Concussion Syndrome, and the effects, although sometimes immediate, usually take multiple years or more to fully surface.

Traditional concussion management is ideal for the 80-90% of cases that return to normal functioning within 90 days. If you are still experiencing symptoms 90 days or more after a single or multiple injuries, we may be able to help.

Single and multiple TBI's lead to an increased chance of Alzheimer's and other dementias as well as lower Heart Rate Variability, higher stress, chronic inflammation and many other markers for poor cardiovascular health.

You have an option other than living with your brain injury. It's Neurofeedback.

Concussion, TBI, Post Concussion Syndrome, CTE... What’s the difference?


A concussion is categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), and is usually a closed head injury rather than an open one. Head injuries in sports are usually referred to as concussions rather than Brain Injuries because it sounds less damaging. A concussion can occur from a blow to the head or body, or sudden cease in movement causing the brain to “shake around inside the skull.” There is an immediate metabolic reaction with normalization from minutes to 10 days (see image). There is also a physiological reaction in both brainwave connectivity and power, which usually returns to normal functioning within 45 days. You do not need to lose consciousness to sustain a concussion.

As of 2015, Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS) is now referred to as “Mild Neurocognitive Disorder via Head Trauma.” However, you will still hear PCS being used inside and outside the medical community. The condition is defined by the persistence of symptoms initiated by the TBI for weeks or months after the initial injury. Traditional treatment methods are aimed at maintenance of specific symptoms. Neurofeedback, treats the core of the problem which is the remaining brain imbalance in both connectivity and power.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy has been all over the news recently because of the high percentage of former NFL players who have been diagnosed with the disease after autopsy. CTE is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease which develops after repetitive brain trauma. CTE is not only found in former NFL players. It has been found in children as young as 17 years old. The disease is characterized by a set of clinical criteria as well as the presence of P-Tau tangles in various brain networks. Currently the disease is only diagnosable via autopsy. Symptoms from CTE can develop years or even decades after the last injury and can be both cognitive and behavioral. General symptoms include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression and irritability. Although there is no FDA approved treatment for CTE, we have found with individuals who display CTE like symptoms that Neurofeedback can help reduce the severity of associated symptoms and increase functional connectivity, repairing cognitive function, and increasing quality of life.

How many per year?

According to one of the leading sources - brainline.org - of the 1.7 million who sustain a TBI each year in the United States:

  • 52,000 die;
  • 275,000 are hospitalized; and
  • 1.365 million are treated and released from an emergency department.

The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown.

What are the causes?

The leading causes of TBI are:

  • Falls (35.2%);
  • Motor vehicle-traffic crashes (17.3%);
  • Struck by/against events (16.5%);
  • Assaults (10%); and
  • Unknown/Other (21%).

Blasts are a leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel in war zones.

What are the costs?

Direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity of TBI totaled an estimated $60 billion in the United States in 2000.

What are the long-term consequences of TBI?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 5.3 million Americans currently have a long-term or lifelong need for help to perform activities of daily living as a result of a TBI.

Rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury has included a number of procedures to reduce symptoms and improve cognitive functioning. Although these procedures have led to some improvement after the brain has healed, there remains disruptions in its’ functioning. It is common for patients with TBI to be told that after a maximum of two years, they have obtained all of the improvement they can expect.

DISPLAYTBI or any continuation of the symptoms from a single or multiple concussions may look like an invisible disease, but for those suffering with the symptoms it could not be more real and debilitating. Traditional treatment involves rest, vestibular therapy, physical therapy and medications to treat the symptoms. In many cases, this does not approach the core of the problem.

The core problem is an ongoing brain imbalance, seen through functional imaging such as a qEEG. Slowed connectivity and power imbalances correlate to cognitive and behavioral symptoms and can be rebalanced through Neurofeedback.

What's Really Happening

  • White and Grey matter move across each other at different speeds and twist or tear neuron connections. May cause micro-hemorrhaging.
  • Inflammation occurs. General slowing in high brain wave activity, and an increase in slow brain wave activity (all bad).
  • Hormone levels drop. Information processing and memory slows.
  • Heart Rate Variability and Total Heart Power drops significantly.
  • Neurometabolic rates do not return to normal for at least 10 days.
  • Long-term symptoms such as sleep issues, anxiety, depression, decreased motor and verbal skills start to develop.

Our Approach

  • We specialize in helping people who still have cognitive and behavioral symptoms 90 days after their injury. Up until that point, a traditional route should be followed to give the brain a chance to repair itself.
  • Measuring the power and connectivity of your brain using a “Brain Map” or qEEG, can show the core imbalances from injury far longer than any other measure. Those with long-term symptoms even decades after injury show distinct patterns of imbalance.
  • We use comprehensive Neurocognitive performance testing to establish a baseline of brain health from which to improve.
  • We track objective measures and subjective symptoms throughout treatment to stay on track towards your goals.
  • Usually within 12 weeks, patients feel a massive reduction in symptoms and improvement in quality of life. Even if they have been dealing with issues for years.

How is this accomplished???

  • Rebalancing of hormone levels and reduction of inflammation.
  • Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback to reduce stress and shift towards parasympathetic dominance.
  • Passive Neurofeedback to encourage the brain out of the "stuck patterns" and movement towards balance.
  • Active Neurofeedback to rebalance targeted network brain wave activity and train towards re-optimization.

Regardless of the onset of injury, Neurofeedback can help.

Advanced Studies and Treatment:

At present, there are 27 peer-reviewed studies showing Neurofeedback’s efficacy in the treatment of TBI of various forms with various populations. We are currently involved in a Multi-Site study of the effectiveness of a new type of Neurofeedback on the rehabilitation of former NFL athletes with symptoms from repeated head injuries. If you would like to know more about this project, or sports related concussions specifically, visit our NFL study page.

Selected research and abstracts:

Neurofeedback in a population with TBI & ADHD

Neurofeedback in a population of Veterans with both TBI & PTSD

Our goal is to safely and effectively optimize your health in the most efficient manner using trusted and advanced solutions.

Your outstanding experience at Carolina HealthSpan Institute is at the center of our healthcare model. Experience the benefits that 30 minutes or more with a physician can mean for your health.

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