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Acupuncture for Concussions


Posted by Joe Downer |  | Posted in Acupuncture, Concussion, Sports Injuries.

A concussion can occur when there is a blow to the head.  When the brain is jarred heavily against the skull it can cause a temporary loss of function in a portion of the brain.  Bruising is not always evident.  Moreover, the usual symptoms of concussion vary with the extent of the injury and are not always immediately evident.  The injured person may not necessarily lose consciousness even if the concussion is severe.  Often the injury seems innocuous at first but the person knows they aren’t thinking or performing like they used to.

Mild concussion may produce sensitivity to light or sound, but most often produces a dazed feeling, which may shortly leave, giving the impression that there is no injury to be concerned about.  This is not necessarily a wise assumption.

More severe concussion will produce more intense symptoms of those just described.  Loss of consciousness is common, and a return to an apparently normal state may take some time.  Headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, or nightmares are usually experienced, as are changes in personality, such as stubbornness, irritability, or unwarranted suspicions.

More serious still is severe brain damage, called traumatic brain injury (TBI).


Conventional Treatment of Concussion 

The American Academy of Neurology, in 2004, outlined the standard treatment for concussion, which is little more than rest.

Medical recommendation for symptom reduction is usual for Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS).  These are medications to relieve headache, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, and pain.

Rehabilitation is recommended for physical/cognitive symptoms resulting from severe concussions.


Acupuncture Treatment of Concussion

Acupuncture is well known for treating headache, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, and pain.

Acupuncture can help reduce and eventually eliminate the leakage of blood or other fluids from their normal vessels, which obstructs the flow of fresh, nourishing blood to the injured area.

Nerve blockages may result from a concussion, which acupuncture often relieves, restoring the movement of electrical signals along the affected nerve.

Acupuncture treatment has shown good results whether the concussion occurred recently or even several years before.


U.S. Military Experience with Acupuncture for TBI

Experience with acupuncture at the ConcussionRestorationCareCenter at CampLeatherneck in Afghanistan has been encouraging.  Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Keith Stuessi, former director of the Center, in 2010 described his treatment of 320 concussion patients.  He reported on marked improvements in their sleep, anxiety levels and frequency of headaches.

The use of acupuncture has continued under his replacement, Commander Earl Frantz.


Sources; Post-Concussion Syndrome — Symptoms; September 2009


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