Post-concussion syndrome can consist of many debilitating symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea and difficulties concentrating. While medicinal techniques are most often used to manage these symptoms, many natural remedies for post-concussion syndrome have proven to be helpful.
When exploring natural remedies, it’s important to look for methods that are evidence-based and therapist-approved. Lucky for you, this article is full of both! Before we dive into the list, let’s quickly discuss the benefits of natural remedies for post-concussion syndrome.
Benefits of Homeopathic Remedies for Post-Concussion Syndrome
When an individual experiences a mild blow to the head, they may sustain a concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury. Symptoms of a concussion can last for weeks or months. When symptoms last longer than this, it’s called post-concussion syndrome.
Some of the most common symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include:
- Headaches and/or migraines
- Depression, anxiety, and/or irritability
- Problems with memory and/or concentration
- Sensitivity to light and/or noise
Medication can be used to treat many of these symptoms, but not all individuals desire to take it due to unwanted side effects, such as fatigue and mental fogginess. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies for post-concussion syndrome that can help relieve symptoms.
Furthermore, many natural remedies offer benefits that conventional medicine cannot. For example, some of the natural remedies listed below help boost the production of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), which is a key regulator for neural survival, repair, and growth.
BDNF plays an essential role in rebuilding neural connections, which promotes neuroplasticity for an optimal recovery. Natural remedies also tend to be more cost-effective than conventional medicine.
There are many benefits to alternative treatment. However, it’s important not to use them as a replacement for your doctor’s advice. Often, a holistic approach is most effective, and it’s important to talk to your doctor before adding any new supplements or treatments to your regimen.
The Best Natural Remedies for Post-Concussion Syndrome
If you or a loved one have sustained a concussion and want relief from the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, the following evidence-based natural remedies can help.
Acupuncture is a method used to relieve many symptoms such as migraines and dizziness, which are common after concussion. Furthermore, acupuncture also boosts the production of new brain cells by promoting BDNF. Natural remedies that promote neuronal repair are great options for individuals with post-concussion syndrome. Plus, acupuncture is non-invasive and low-risk, making it an attractive alternative treatment.
2. Fish Oil
Another remedy that has been clinically proven to help with post-concussion syndrome is fish oil. Fish oil contains omega-3s which, like acupuncture, promotes BDNF. Note: fish oil is a blood thinner and should only be used if you are not on blood-thinning medication and once intracranial bleeding has been ruled out. Before adding any new vitamins or supplements to your regimen, it’s very important to speak with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you.
A different way the production of BDNF can be promoted is by consuming flavonoids which are found in most brightly colored foods such as blueberries, cranberries, red kale, and strawberries. Flavonoids not only stimulate BDNF but are also rich in antioxidants which help reduce inflammation in the brain. After a concussion, the brain often experiences inflammation, making flavonoids an attractive remedy for post-concussion syndrome.
Inflammation and brain swelling after a concussion can increase the severity of the injury and exacerbate post-concussion syndrome. A natural remedy often used to combat swelling is saffron.
Saffron is a plant whose dried stigmas (thread-like part of a flower) are used as a spice, food coloring, or medicine. Since it is rich in both antioxidants and flavonoids, saffron can help to reduce any inflammation or swelling. It has also been used to treat depression and anxiety, which are sometimes associated with post-concussion syndrome.
Another remedy that is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory is turmeric, which is commonly used to help with the swelling and pain associated with arthritis. Curcumin, which is a component of turmeric, has been shown to improve neuroplasticity and reduce inflammation following concussions. Although there are no studies that specifically look at the benefits of turmeric for post-concussion syndrome, it could be worth trying because it’s a simple, natural spice.
6. Essential Oils
Headaches and migraines are common symptoms of post-concussion syndrome that can make daily activities more difficult. Researchers have found that diffusing high-quality essential oils, such as lavender, can be a safe and effective remedy for migraines. Essential oils can also help lessen anxiety and nausea symptoms.
Fueling the brain with adequate energy is important after a concussion as the brain works to heal from the trauma. Natural remedies that help extend the body’s energy capacity can be helpful for post-concussion syndrome, which makes creatine an attractive solution.
Creatine helps increase the body’s energy capacity. While this is helpful for post-concussion syndrome, it should be used in moderation. The body’s creatine is stored in the form of phosphocreatine in the muscles, liver, kidneys, and brain.
When creatine supplements are used, phosphocreatine storage is increased, allowing cells to produce more energy. Too much creatine, however, can damage the liver, so be sure to use it in moderation and talk to your doctor before taking it.
8. Light Aerobic Exercise
While creatine is a popular work-out supplement, particularly with weight lifting, exercise can be beneficial even without supplementation. In fact, light, aerobic exercise specifically can help in reducing post-concussion syndrome symptoms.
Exercise increases blood flow which allows the brain to receive more nutrients to function adequately. It also increases neurotransmitters – chemicals in the brain that transmit messages between neurons – aiding in processing information faster. Light aerobic exercise can also improve mood and memory.
9. Cognitive Rest
The brain is constantly working hard, especially after a concussion. Since the brain devotes most of its energy to healing itself after an injury, it leaves fewer resources to perform other actions. Just as the body needs physical rest to heal, the brain needs cognitive rest to heal after a concussion.
To practice cognitive rest means to simply avoid all mentally taxing activities such as studying, reading complex books, or using electronics. Some activities to do instead may include listening to soothing music or sleeping in a quiet, dimly lit room.
Resting involves your whole being, both mind and body, and thus is a great natural remedy for treating post-concussion syndrome.
Treating Post-Concussion Syndrome Through Natural Remedies
Post-concussion syndrome usually resolves on its own but taking a proactive approach can help boost your chances of recovery. Finding the right natural remedies may help relieve your symptoms so that you can return to normal daily activities as soon as possible.
Of course, if you want to add something new to your regimen, be sure to run it by your doctor first. Some supplements, such as fish oil or creatine, can interact with medication or exacerbate preexisting health conditions. Be safe, double check, and you’ll be well on your way to recovery.