Concussion Management: What you need to know.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that causes a temporary disturbance in brain cells. A concussion is sustained when there is a sudden acceleration or deceleration of the brain inside the skull. The most common cause of a concussion is a direct impact to the head. A significant hit elsewhere in the body can transmit force to the head and neck and creates a whiplash effect. This type of impact can also result in a concussion.

Signs and Symptoms

• Nausea/Vomiting
• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Loss of Consciousness
• Sensitivity to light/noise
• Visual disturbance
• Neck pain
• Irritability/Mood changes
• And many more!

How are they treated?

When a concussion is suspected, the individual should be removed from play or activity. An immediate referral to a licensed health care professional with training in concussion management is crucial for early diagnosis and treatment. Once an assessment has been completed there are certain protocols that should be followed to ensure proper recovery. These concussion treatment guidelines may include:

• Relative cognitive and physical rest for first 24-48 hours
• Gradual return to normal daily activities
• Progressive exercise therapy
• Manual therapy of the neck
• Diet and nutritional recommendations
• Vestibular rehabilitation

Recovery

Roughly two weeks after a concussion is sustained, the brains energy levels return to normal. In this time span it is important to rest and prevent a second impact from occurring. This is especially important in younger athletes who may be eager to return to play. Signs and symptoms should continue to be monitored by a licensed health care practitioner.

 

For more information or questions about concussion management please contact drkyle@forwardhealth.ca.

 

Tips to Improve Your Running

Do you want to run farther? Run faster? Or simply run with greater ease? These tips are for you!

 

 

Cadence

• Try to run at a rate of 180steps/min. This will help decrease the force per stride on your knees, reduce risk of injury and minimize wear-and-tear on the joints.

Mid-foot Strike

• Leading foot should land under your center of mass. When you heel strike ahead of your center of mass it creates a backwards “braking force” that makes each stride less efficient and will slow you down.

Hip Stability

• The pelvis needs to be stable and hips should remain at the same level. If the hips are moving up and down with each stride, this may be an indication of glute weakness and poor muscular control.

Rotation

• Core should be stable and prevent rotation through the torso. Arms should swing straight back and forward and not side-to-side across the body.
TIP: your feet will follow the direction you swing your arms.

Bounce

• The force you generate should be propelling you forward and not upward. Reducing vertical oscillation will limit wasted energy.
TIP: less ground contact is optimal.

Hip Extension:

• Hips must be mobile enough to extend the leg back past your body. Proper glute activation will help extend the hip back and save the stress on your low back.

Try to incorporate one tip at a time into your daily or weekly run. If you have any questions on proper running technique feel free to email me at drkyle@forwardhealth.ca!

Rick’s Black Bean Quinoa Burgers!

These black bean quinoa burgers are packed with protein and fiber!

Ingredients:

1 Can (540 ml) Black Beans
2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Medium Carrot Shredded
3 tbsp Chopped Cilantro
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Clove Garlic Minced

Instructions:

 

Rinse and drain black beans.

  • Cook and cool quinoa.
  • Mash black beans in a large bowl.
  • Stir in quinoa, cheese, mayo, bread crumbs, carrot, onion.
  • Stir in salt, cilantro, garlic.
  • Shape into 8 patties (1/2 cup each). If needed add a tbsp more bread crumbs to help hold the patties.
  • Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet (medium-high heat).
  • Add burgers to the skillet and cook, turning once until golden brown (about 10 minutes).
  • Garnish burgers as you please.

Dr. Laura: Epstein Barr Virus Linked to Several AutoImmune Diseases

The Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) we know mostly as “mono” yields connections to several autoimmune diseases.

Who Gets EBV?

More than 90% of the world’s population is infected with EBV. The age of contraction varies and for many it lays dormant for years. Like other human herpes forms of virus (EBV is HHV4), it reactivates in times of stress or trauma. Typical symptoms are what you hear from the college student and their “kissing disease” – tired, sleep a lot, muscle aches and pains, swollen glands/lymph nodes, altered sense of taste and the list goes on.

It seems that if such a large percentage of the population has EBV, it’s easy to pin it to any disease. Recent research at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital sheds some light on how EBV affects our genome.

What Diseases Link to EBV?

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Celiac Disease
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Graves and Hashimotos thyroiditis

“This discovery is probably fundamental enough that it will spur many scientists around the world to reconsider the role of this virus in these disorders,” said John Harley, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology (CAGE) at Cincinnati Children’s.

How does EBV Increase Risk for Autoimmunity?

EBV alters the human DNA in ways that weaken the immune system’s ability to combat certain diseases. We all have imperfect genes with variances called SNP’s (pronounced “snips”) that may give us advantage or risk over others in certain situations. EBV tends to change the genetic transcription of DNA to suit its own vitality and puts us more at risk for certain diseases.

What Can Increase the Risk of EBV Sickness?

  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Poor nutrition
  • Eating the wrong foods
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor  sleep
  • Lack of spiritual connection

More research is required in this area of science for our full understanding of how to combat this detrimental virus. A Naturopathic Doctor like Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can help balance lifestyle, diet, nutrition and immune boosting profile to keep the Epstein Barr and other forms of Human Herpes Virus (warts, shingles, cold sores) dormant in your system. Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can also order and inert genetic tests to help you evaluate your risk for certain autoimmune diseases. Knowing your risk factors can contribute to proactive wellness plan that is tailored specifically to you.

 

Rick’s Borscht Recipe


Beets are an excellent source of vitamins, fiber, folate and iron!

Ingredients:

1 Onion chopped
1 lb. Beets peeled and chopped
2 Stalks of Celery chopped
1 Large Carrot chopped
1/2 Red Pepper chopped
1 Small Can Beets
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 litre Stock or Water
1 tsp Dill
1 Pinch of Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
Juice of ¼ of a Fresh Lemon
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Sour Cream to garnish

Instructions:

 

  • Sauté chopped vegetables in a sauce pan with butter and olive oil.
  • Add stock or water, thyme, bay leaf, dill, salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  • Bring mixture to a boil.
  • Cover mixture and turn heat down to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Strain Vegetables and reserve liquid.
  • Process vegetables and can of beets in food processor.
  • Return processed vegetables to stock and heat thoroughly.
  • Serve with dollop of sour cream on top.

The Role of Physical Therapy Postpartum

Concerned about post-pregnancy recovery?

 

 

During and after pregnancy, many women experience abdominal muscle seperation caused by stretching and thinning of the inter-abdominal connective tissue. This condition is known as Diastasis recti and is characterized by a >2cm separation of the rectus abdominis muscles at the level of the umbilicus. Many women will describe that they are able to feel a 2-finger width separation in their central abdominal muscles.

What causes abdominal muscle separation?

The most obvious contributor to this condition is increased abdominal pressure due to a small human growing inside you. This is compounded by pregnancy related changes in hormones that increase ligament laxity throughout the body. Weak abdominal muscles and insufficient tension in the network of connective tissue will increase the risk for developing diastasis recti.

  • intra-abdominal pressure
  • hormonal changes
  • weak abdominal muscles
  • strained fascial tissue

How do you treat abdominal muscle separation?

Do not be alarmed! This condition is relatively common and usually resolves on it own. For some women, separation of the abdominal muscles can last for months and even years postpartum. In rare instances invasive medical procedures are required to resolve the condition. The good news is, physical therapy before and after pregnancy can greatly improve patient outcomes.

  • nothing
  • breathing exercises
  • physical therapy
  • pre-pregancy exercise

I will let you in on one important exercise that is easy to perform in the privacy of your own home. This exercise is known as belly breathing. While keeping the rib cage down, push the belly button out as you inhale. This is done by contracting the parachute-like muscle known as the diaphragm.  This muscle pulls the lungs down and allows them to expand. Feel free to pause for a moment at the peak of your inhale and notice the fullness of the lungs. Next, draw the belly button in towards the spine as you exhale. Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach so you can feel your belly rise and fall with each breath.

As you continue to expand and contract your abdominal cavity you will start to exercise the inner muscular layers of the torso. By repeatedly activating these deep abdominal muscles the connective tissue will begin to retract and close the gap in the outer abdominal wall. As always these are only recommendation and a proper in-person assessment from a qualified health care professional should be completed before starting a physical rehabilitation program.

Dr. Laura: How does your thyroid function?

Feeling tired, loosing hair, bring fog, brittle nails, constipated,  periods heavy and cholesterol rising? Perhaps your thyroid is to blame.

What does thyroid hormone do?

Thyroid hormone keeps:

  • our metabolism humming
  • hair and skin smooth and silky
  • muscles and tendons well lubricated
  • mood bright
  • digestion moving along
  • brain firing on al cylinders
  • LDL cholesterol at healthy levels

How do you measure thyroid function?

General practitioners assess Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), and if it is out of range, T4 and T3 is measured. Sometimes an ultrasound is done to visualize the size and health of the gland, to assess nodules or help diagnose thyroid cancer.  Naturopathic doctors, functional medicine doctors and endocrinologists will be more likely the ones to run a full thyroid panel (freeT4, freeT3, TSH, TPO, Anti-Thyroglobulin and reverse T3).

How does the body naturally balance thyroid hormone?

T3 is the active hormone in the body and is made from T4. Although the T4 is made in the thyroid, conversion to T3 happens mostly in the liver and the gastrointestinal tract.   A normal functioning thyroid gland works with the hypothalamus in the brain using a negative feedback system to indicate when there is enough active thyroid hormone in the system.

How does the medical doctor balance thyroid?

Traditionally synthroid or levothyroxine is prescribed to treat inadequate levels of thyroid hormone and treatment is geared to reach a desired TSH level. Direct T3 therapy (Cytomel) is rarely prescribed due to lack of research and clinical experience. Typically the family doctor will  treat to normalize the TSH, but recent research, and numerous patient complaints may indicate that this is not enough.

More research is required to support T4 and T3 combination therapy, whether it is levothyroxine plus cytomel or natural desiccated thyroid, alone or in combination.

Research finds TSH monitoring is not enough to determine adequate thyroid functioning and some medical doctors agree a 4:1 ratio of T4:T3 predicts patient satisfaction and better health.

What does the naturopathic doctor do to balance the thyroid?

Naturopathic doctors seek to support the thyroid in making T4 and the body’s ability to convert the T4 to the active form of thyroid known as T3.   A naturopathic doctor offers support to people on pharmaceuticals like synthroid or levothyroxine, and is also able to additionally or solely prescribe advice for nutraceutical  support and natural desiccated thyroid.

A naturopathic doctor will:

  • look at the full thyroid panel
  • adrenal health
  • cholesterol panel
  • sex hormone health
  • the function of the liver
  • health of gastrointestinal tract,
  • nutrient balance of things like selenium, zinc, iron and iodine

How is cholesterol linked to thyroid function?

T3 levels are also inversely linked to LDL Cholesterol. When thyroid levels are low, LDL cellular reception is reduced, leaving more LDL in the blood stream.  Emerging research finds treatment with T4 alone (synthroid, levothyroxine) does not always correct the high levels of cholesterol induced by poor thyroid function. Rising levels of LDL cholesterol in peri-menopausal women with symptoms of fatigue should trigger an investigation into the balance of T4 and T3, not just TSH.

What drives T3 levels down?

  • Body shuttles T3 to reverse T3 in times of starvation and stress
  • Poor feedback function in the hypothalamus
  • Thyroiditis
  • High levels of natural and environmental estrogens
  • Epstein Barr Virus

T3 levels are increasingly challenged as xenoestrogens (environmental contaminants) rise in developed countries.  Peri-menopausal women also experience challenges. This is because estrogen (unopposed by progesterone as ovulation slows down), or estrogen mimickers like xenoestrogens (from plastics, pesticides and insecticides) have the ability to bind up Thyroid Binding Globulin and somehow affect the T4 to T3 conversion ratio. Some research points to Epstein Barr Virus impacting the genome and ultimately the function of the thyroid.

For more help optimizing your thyroid function, book an appointment with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.