B. R. AND HIS CONCUSSION BATTLE
History of Head Trauma and Treatment
While living in Cincinnati, OH, B.R suffered a concussion on November 30th, 2014 playing ice hockey. He was wearing the best helmet available; however, he was fouled and hit his head (center of forehead) at a high rate of speed on the ice. He did not lose consciousness but was removed from play. He was checked for concussion per protocol and did not show any symptoms. However, symptoms did appear after 2-3 days (sensitivity to light, sounds, confusion, headache, dizziness).
B.R. began seeing a concussion specialist at a hospital in Cincinnati, OH. We were advised to follow the standard protocol of “rest and wait” and were told once B.R.’s symptoms started to subside, we could re-introduce stimuli. After a period of few weeks, B.R. began vestibular therapy.
Having our children participate in numerous sports for years, we had heard of the horrors of concussions. This was our family’s introduction to the world of concussions. As parents, we knew very little and trusted the care of B.R. to the professionals. We were told to “wait” so that’s what we did. B.R. participated in a post-concussive study where he was placed into a control group that was involved in stretching (versus a group doing physical exercise). As part of the study, B.R. had an MRI which was deemed normal by the doctors.
Under the care of the concussion specialist, B.R.’s concussion symptoms were not improving, and after six months, the concussion specialist referred us to the doctor leading the concussion study in which B.R. had participated. This doctor was also a concussion specialist and department head at a major hospital in Cincinnati. B.R. was diagnosed with Post Concussive Syndrome and prescribed Amitriptyline for the headaches; pressure point therapy; and continuation of vestibular therapy. We were advised that all concussions are different; patients heal at different paces; and adolescents take longer to heal when compared to adult patients.
We were hopeful at every milestone that B.R. would improve. The first milestone was at two weeks; then a month; then it was the end of school (as the headaches were worse during the week compared to the weekend); then it was seeing a new specialist; then the end of summer vacation (surely the time off studies during the summer would help him heal). All milestones came and went with no improvement for B.R.’s symptoms. During this entire time, B.R. was amazing. He did not lose hope or become frustrated.
After relocation to Virginia Beach, VA in August of 2015, B.R. was under the care of his third concussion specialist, who prescribed both vestibular & physical therapy. That doctor then referred B.R. to a neurologist in the same institution, who performed neurological assessments and prescribed Topamax and later Gabapentin to relieve the severe headaches. None of the prescriptions helped with his symptoms. During the last office visit with the neurologist, he stated that “there is no neurological issue” with B.R. – our hope for B.R.’s healing was fading. We were attending multiple appointments per week, but nothing we did helped with his symptoms.
While continuing physical therapy, it was recommended that we try dry needling to relax muscles in B.R.’s neck and upper trapezius muscles. We also restarted chiropractic care at the same time (B.R. was a regular at chiropractic care prior to the injury but we stopped because adjustments seemed to increase his symptoms). Our chiropractor suggested we do muscle therapy in conjunction with adjustments. B.R. was attending one physical therapy, one physical therapy with dry needling, and two muscle therapy/adjustment appointments per week.
We discontinued the vestibular and physical therapy after a time without seeing changes in the headache severity and due to the overwhelming number of appointments. Also. it was thought the tight muscles were limiting B.R.’s ability to move his head which contributed to his headaches. The dry needling, muscle therapy, and adjustments helped with the stiff muscles and range of motion (head left to right), but B.R. was still suffering from his debilitating headaches and missed school regularly. B.R. began seeing an acupuncturist once a week as well as continuing the chiropractic and muscle therapy sessions. The acupuncture treatments focused on increasing the blood flow to the brain. We were becoming frustrated with the number of appointments again and still no relief from headaches.
Our Chiropractor suggested he could contact a chiropractic neurologist who might be able to help. A few days later, we were referred to a chiropractic neurologist located in Charlottesville, VA. The chiropractic neurologist recommended that we could temporarily relocate to Charlottesville, VA for three months, or attend Plasticity® Brain Center in Orlando, FL for a week.
After we attended Plasticity® Brain Centers, we saw an immediate improvement in B.R.’s symptoms after only one therapy! At the end of the week, Dr. Antonucci (Director, Neurological Performance and Rehabilitation at Plasticity® Brain Centers of Orlando) was able to graphically show us that B.R.’s symptoms improved 50%! While the foggy brain and headaches are the last of the symptoms to resolve, we are confident we are on the right track after 15 months of treatments and doctor’s appointments. B.R. will continue three at-home therapy sessions per day and will follow-up with a Chiropractor trained in functional neurology closer to home. B.R. has also discontinued use of any prescription medication.
AFTER WE ATTENDED PLASTICITY BRAIN CENTERS, WE SAW AN IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENT
We were so happy to be a part of Plasticity® Brain Centers in Orlando…it really felt like family after we completed the week of treatment. Everyone at the center was caring and concerned that we have the best possible experience and truly concerned about B.R.’s well-being. After returning to our home in Virginia, we couldn’t wait to share our positive experience with our Chiropractor. In addition, we have contacted all of B.R.’s doctors with an update to his recovery and our wonderful experience at Plasticity® Brain Centers in Orlando.
Below is a chart showing the timeline of treatment for B.R.