Lately I have been focused on reading a lot about brain health and the effects of trauma on the brain. Sometimes it makes me cringe to think about the number of times that I took a hit to the head while playing rugby and never even considered coming out of the game. I often wondered why our white uniform shorts would suddenly turn green for a few moments…unfortunately now I know and it’s a little bit scary!
It is likely that in the moment of these head traumas, I sustained a concussion. Concussive forces involved between the soft brain tissue and the hard skull. Based upon immediate and more medium term symptoms, it would appear that I was fortunate compared to others, since I only had mild issues after my head injuries. Never can I remember a trip to the ER, headaches that lasted for weeks or any signs of neurological damage like memory loss or movement limitations.
What I do know however, is that it is highly likely that there will be some form of damage from these multiple injuries in the past, and a KEY POINT THAT I’D LIKE TO MAKE, is that I am not going to sit by idly (and nor should you) and wait to see what happens. I’m going to focus on brain health as a primary means for helping with repair and general maintenance so that my super computer is wired and working properly.
So what am I going to do? Here are a few ideas that I feel support good brain health:
- Use my brain – I believe that the “Use it or lose it” principle applies to the brain just as it applies to muscles. If in the end you lose it, I would have to suspect that you weren’t using it. Stimulate your brain by learning new things, applying the knowledge you have to critical thinking problems or read some books!
- Care for my spinal alignment – I am biased as an Upper Cervical Chiropractor, but I believe that past traumas alter head and neck alignment. I see it all day long in my office where the brain has a tougher time when it is not positioned straight over top of the neck. Visible head tilting to the side, a neck that leans to one side or un-level shoulders can all be indicators of alignment. It’s never too late to get your head on straight!
- Nourish my brain – I want to make sure that I’m taking in and providing the best support for the brain on a daily basis to ensure that repair and growth can occur uninhibited. A couple of staples for me are a Ketogenic diet and plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids. Elimination of sugar (as much as humanly possible) is also a key as sugar is likely a major contributor to neuro degeneration.
Ultimately, I think often about how I want to have a fully functional brain in my later years. There’s no guarantee that I make it to my 90’s but if I do, I want to be “with it”, sharp as a tack and still able to engage and live life to it’s fullest.
Keep an eye out for an upcoming talk focused on the nourishing side of things, and if you have any concerns about alignment, get in for a consultation and we’ll take a look at your alignment.
Dr. Matthew Kittleson