Restore/Thrive Turns 1

The year that was. And what’s to come.

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74 blog posts. 32 YouTube Videos. 2,178 visitors.

363 days ago (the blog’s official b-day is 5/28/2016) we launched this site with one goal in mind: to speak directly to you, internet reader, and help guide you on the path to a better life. Whether you had an injury to rehab or were looking to get bigger, faster, and stronger, we’ve been putting down work to help you achieve your goals.

Year 2 promises to be bigger and badder: The gym opens. The first self-assessment and performance guide goes live. We can’t wait to share it all with you.

In the meantime, we thought it would be fun to link to a couple of our most popular posts from year one. If you’re a new reader, consider this a primer on what we’re all about. If you’ve been following all along, feel free to share with friends and family who you care about.

#1: “Why We Train”-Be Strong to Be Useful.

#2: “Are You Ready to Run:?Part VII”-Whether you run or not, if you sit more than 3 hours per-day, master this standard.

#3: “Treating Concussions”-The new standards for treating concussions.

#4: “Why I Hate Physical Therapy”-The genesis of the blog and the gym.

#5: “Research Update”-A convincing case for personalized medicine and hope for those of us trying our best to avoid dementia-related illnesses.

A big “Thank You!” is owed to all of you who’ve read, watched, and subscribed to our blog and YouTube channel. We hope you all have a great holiday weekend and spend a moment or two in silence to remember and be thankful for the good men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who paid the ultimate price for us to make the most of every day of freedom they purchased on our behalf.

Vision Therapy

A new vision exam for the 21st Century.

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Last weekend I had the opportunity to sit down for some continuing education from one of my favorite providers on my recommended post-concussion rehab team, Dr. John Metzger and the rest of his staff at Kansas City Vision Performance Center. Though I went into the event hoping to further hone my skills as a Post Concussion Syndrome rehab provider, I walked away with much more. Put simply, my knowledge base on vision development, assessment, and therapy exploded. If you or someone you know has visual issues, difficulty reading, focusing, following directions, poor hand-eye coordination, were born by C-section, or motion sickness, it’s a good bet that you may need some vision therapy.

Let’s dig in a little here and talk about why visual skill is important and why functional optometry is the wave of the future (even though it’s a profession over 70 years old).

When you go in for your standard eye exam, your provider is looking at two things: eye sight and eye health. Though important, these are just two of a multitude of factors that determine the true fitness of your eyes and vision. However, even if eye health and sight check out, there are several other factors that are equally if not more important. Generally categorized those factors are as follows:

  1. Eye coordination
  2. Eye tracking
  3. Focusing
  4. Visual Processing

In the medical community, we have been consistently taught that sight is one of our five senses (along with hearing, smell, taste, and touch). What has been largely ignored related to vision, is that this “sense” is actually more of a key factor in motor development than we previously thought. Think about it, what would poor visual skills do to your ability to learn to walk, talk, write, and perform math? The Optic Nerve, the nerve connecting your eyes to your brain, has more sensory fibers than all of your other senses combined. Another True Fact: 20-percent of Optic Nerve Fibers go to areas in the brain outside of the visual cortex in your Occipital Lobe. Meaning, your eyes do a lot more than tell your brain what’s in front of you.

Dr. Metzger and his staff gave several examples of pediatric patients who have struggled academically, behaviorally, and even in sports, who benefited tremendously from the in-depth vision screening and treatments they perform at their clinic. Kids who were previously diagnosed with learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD, or dyslexia, were found to have fundamental vision skill problems that were hindering their learning and behavior.

Take Aways

So what are you to do with this info?

First if you have children who struggle behaviorally, physically, or academically, I urge you to schedule an appointment at Kansas City Vision Performance Center as soon as you can. They offer screens for kids as young as Pre-K to make sure they start off on the right foot as they reach school age. What’s my angle? I get absolutely no kickbacks, I just want all of our kids to feel better and do better. This is a big step in the right direction to feeling and performing your best, regardless of your age.

For you do-it-your-selfers, I’ve got some goodies for you, too.

Check out Bal-a-Metrics (www.balametrics.com) for a variety of products you can use at home to promote better visual skill and sensory integration.

This 30-question predictive checklist, from the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, can give parents a quick view of a potential vision problems that would be appropriately treated with vision therapy.

Do yourself (and your family) a favor, and go a little bit deeper to assess your true eye fitness. The difference vision therapy could make could be life-changing.


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

 

Treating Concussions

Current treatment approaches for treating Post-Concussion Syndrome.

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This probably doesn’t sound like the post you’ve been waiting for. This is, however, a post I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time. As the only PT at my clinic who treats patients suffering from Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) I want to write about this topic for a few important reasons:

  1. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreational activities every year. You probably know someone (or are someone) who has sustained a concussion.
  2. We spend, directly and indirectly, over $60 billion per-year treating concussions in the U.S. on a yearly basis.
  3. Many folks who sustain a concussion don’t seek immediate medical advice or treatment.

It’s that third point that I intend to address now. Reducing concussions is, to a certain extent, a fool’s errand. Accidents happen. People are going to play sports, run around and have fun, and occasionally slip/fall/run into something leading with their heads. The most important component in a traumatic brain injury situation is that the victim of the injury receives immediate treatment. Sitting in a dark room and waiting to feel better is a recipe for disaster. Seeking professional help and restoring your normal day to day functional abilities should be priority number one.

Let’s talk briefly, and as plainly as possible, about what happens when you sustain a concussion in terms of physiology. I’ll start with a diagramConcussion Pathophysiology

This is your brain when it becomes concussed. For those non-science majors, note point #3 in the diagram “Calcium in the cell impairs ATP production in the mitochondria, worsening energy crisis”. Put more simply, your brain is running out of energy to perform it’s normal functions. ATP, the energy produced by your body for everything from sprinting performance to recalling your daily chore list in your brain, isn’t produced at adequate levels when you have sustained a concussion.

To the left of the diagram you see a description of the depolarization and neurotransmitter release. Hang in there with me. In a nutshell, this means your brain gets really incompetent at using glucose (sugar) for energy.

And here’s where we start with our current methods for treating PCS. Lifestyle modification is key. If you are suffering from a concussion, start with these modifications:

  1. Avoid any screens with blue light (that means computers, tablets, TV’s, cell phones, and the like). Blue light heightens brain activity (read: energy consumption), something an injured brain can’t spare.
  2. Sleep in a pitch black room. We’ve discussed the ins and outs of the importance of sleep here. It’s doubly important when you’re trying to set the stage for your brain to heal that you optimize your sleep hygiene.
  3. Modify your diet. Reduce your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates are not the friend of an injured brain (carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugar in your body, and simple sugar are broken down into glucose-the fuel your brain can’t use when you’re concussed).
  4. There is considerable research demonstrating that an alternative fuel source can fuel the brain for all of the functions it requires energy for. That fuel source? Ketone bodies. Ketones are produced in the liver during bouts of intense exercise (not recommended if you are concussed), low carbohydrate intake, low calorie intake, or untreated Type 1 diabetes. Initially I recommended that my PCS patients consider a ketogenic (low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat) diet to supply the necessary fuel substrates (ketones) needed for their brains to heal. I still support that recommendation. Within the last year, though, there have been several companies that have started making exogenous (synthetic) ketones that you can mix as a drink to derive the same cognitive benefits that previously only came about when following a strict ketogenic diet. There are a host of brands if you do a simple search on Amazon, but I would recommend one of the following three brands in particular: Keto O/S, Kegenix, or KetoCaNa. These supplements are not cheap, but they are a small price to pay compared to the lost earnings from missed work time and myriad of medical expenses you will incur after a concussion if you decided not to take personal responsibility for optimizing the healing environment for your brain. (Side Note #1: Please contact my favorite dietician, Robyn Johnson, here, if you need help sorting out the nutrition component)

After you accounted for your light exposure, sleep, and nutrition, it’s time to get to work in restoring the normal function of your brain. This can be a multi-disciplinary process. I have been trained to administer vestibular rehab (restoring the normal function of reflexes that occur between the eyes, the brain, and the 5 canals in each of your ears that gives you sense of your body’s position in space). Sometimes vestibular rehab isn’t enough. If a concussed patient has a particular vision deficit, I refer them out to a neuro-optometrist to address the visual changes they have sustained. (Side Note #2: If you live in the Kansas City area, I highly recommend Dr. John C. Metzger at Kansas City Vision Performance Center if you have any visual deficits after a concussion).

Each concussion patient has a different experience. Though an estimated 80-90% of cases “resolve” in two weeks, if you’re part of the 10-20% of cases that don’t get better, you need to seek treatment ASAP. Even if you’re “recovered”, if you haven’t had a thorough vetibular-ocular exam, it is entirely possible, if not altogether likely, that you still have some deficits that are effecting your physical and mental capabilities.

Don’t wait to get the help you need. Find a qualified professional to help point you in the right direction to recovery.

One last side note (#3, for the record): if you have sustained a concussion, or even if you haven’t sustained a concussion and participate in a contact sport such as American football or ice hockey, you should seriously consider avoid the consumption or administration by injection of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NDAIDS). This class of drugs has been shown to increase blood-brain barrier permeability. If you’re already concussed, receiving one of these drugs (Aleve and Toradol are two common forms) you’re making the problem worse. If you’re not yet concussed but taking these drugs, you’re opening the door for a more severe traumatic brain injury should you become concussed. Think long and hard about how much you enjoy your current mental capabilities before heading down the pharmaceutical pathway.


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!