MY HEALING CRISIS and A CONCUSSION PROTOCOL

As many of you know, I was in a car accident late in 2016 that resulted in my having to take a break from social media and many other activities that are normal and central to my life.  I was not prepared for the humbling and steep learning curve that would result through the healing process.

Healing, it turns out, is hard work.  

Although it is a natural process within the body, healing needs support from you and medical professionals, particularly when it relates to a concussion.  

Concussion is currently a heavily trending topic, thanks to the many such injuries, athletes like hockey great, Sidney Crosby, have sustained. In Ontario, Rowan’s Law was recently passed.  It is named for a beautiful 17-year old girl who died from a receiving a fatal concussion while playing rugby. 

Closer to home, my sister-in-law sustained a serious concussion while performing the everyday task of taking the garbage out.  She did not know she had a concussion and went to the gym the next day to do a cross fit workout.  She lost consciousness while hanging from the chin bar.  It has been a slow and steady struggle for her ever since.

After my brain injury, I went to my chiropractor, Dr. Scott McCrimmon, who specializes in the treatment of concussion.  Dr. Scott wasted no time in placing me on a strict concussion protocol when I reported symptoms including mild confusion, disorientation, headache, irritability, sensitivity to light and nausea.

His recommendation, because he knows my Type-A personality very well, was to put myself on a two-week minimum, hiatus from exercise, computer work, television, reading and any other activity that overtaxed my brain.  I accepted the challenge grudgingly and would have fought back harder if not for the fact that I lacked the energy to do it.  I was not feeling myself at all.

I further added twice daily meditation sessions, twice-weekly deep tissue massage treatments, acupuncture, heavy hydration and plenty of rest.  It felt like I was heading into a dark cave to hibernate.

Deep tissue massage sessions were also mandatory.  Let me be the first to say that the word “massage” is misleading if you think you are in for a languid rest.  Deep tissue massage is extremely painful because the goal is to hit the deepest layers of muscle tissue to release chronic muscle tension. When your therapist is also a Reiki practitioner, get ready for a massive detox.  

The first treatment session took two hours, in which every muscle in my body was subjected to the firm and often painful pressure of my therapist’s fingers.  I had twisted my back in the accident, injuring the psoas muscle and all the muscles in my hip and groin area on the right-hand side.  DTM facilitates the movement of toxins from the muscles and helps to stretch tight and twisted muscles.  

To enhance muscle release, I also visited a naturopathic doctor who administered acupuncture needles and the dry needling technique.  This is not for the faint of heart.  I have no issue with acupuncture.  In fact, I find it very relaxing.  However dry needling is painful – worse than having a baby!  Also known as myofascial trigger point dry needling, the technique is used to dig deeper into injured or chronically painful soft tissues.  

I endured an hour of it and got enormous relief from the process.  When I arrived back at home, however, I felt nauseous and faint. Everything in my body wanted out! I was having a healing crisis.  As explained to me by my naturopath, a healing crisis is a temporary worsening of symptoms that occurs when the body is going through the process of healing itself through the elimination of toxins.  

The treatments I was receiving, including chiropractic, DTM, and acupuncture, were accelerating the healing crisis.  For those who are not well enough to handle it, it can be debilitating. Fortunately, I have an excellent foundation of wellness so although the symptoms were unpleasant and uncomfortable, they were temporary.  

I followed up each treatment with an Epsom salts bath and plenty of hydration and rest.  In fact, I have been sleeping a lot.  I think I must have needed it.

As a final strategy for healing, I used the healing arts of a Homeopath who administered Arnica and Ruta in a specific healing protocol.  Arnica is a wonderful treatment for treating pain and inflammation and Ruta is used to treat pain in sprains, injuries, strain, bruises and pulled ligaments.

If you have hit your head and suspect you have a concussion, DO NOT hesitate! Go directly to an Emergency Facility to be assessed. If you hesitate and go back to working out or heavy work, you can prolong the healing and even suffer Post Concussion Syndrome, which is far worse and can last for years.  

Here is the concussion protocol I followed. Supplementation is courtesy of Dr. Scott McCrimmon.

CONCUSSION PROTOCOL:

  1. EPA & DHA from fish oil

  2. B Vitamins

  3. Vitamin D

  4. Magnesium

  5. InflaCalm

  6. Protein

  7. L-Glutamine

  8. Probiotics

  9. High antioxidant intake

  10. GABA

  11. Vitamin C

DIETARY ADJUSTMENTS:

  1. Protein consumed with every meal. Does that sound familiar to you? My Eat Clean® lifestyle recommends consuming protein at every meal.

  2. Avoid sugar and processed foods.  Again, a principle of Eating Clean®.

  3. Avoid gluten.

  4. Increase antioxidant intake to 3 servings of ½ cup or more dark colored berries. Once again, Eating Clean® recommends eating plenty of berries.

  5. Increase hydration to a minimum of 3 liters/day. I am drinking 4 liters per day.

LIFESTYLE ADJUSTMENTS:

  1. No exercise initially, followed by very light exercise, mostly consisting of walking and Hatha yoga.

  2. Epsom salts and Magnesium flakes baths, daily.

  3. Dramatically reducing exposure to TV screens, computers, cell phone.

  4. Little to no reading.

  5. Meditation sessions, twice daily.

  6. Dim lights in home and on screens when using.

  7. Sleep and rest.  I often went to bed at 8:00 pm.

  8. Twice weekly deep tissue massage.

  9. Twice weekly chiropractic treatments.

  10. Twice weekly acupuncture treatments.

EMOTIONAL ADJUSTMENTS:

  1. Give yourself permission to NOT DO.  For Type-A people like me, this is very difficult to do but it is a must and very humbling.

  2. Accept where you are now, and visualize where you want to be. I did not wish to have post concussion syndrome, so I followed the advice of my medical team, to the letter.

  3. Ask for and accept help.  When it comes to the brain, you can’t be casual.  There are things that are impossible with TBI’s.  

  4. Accept that it is okay to take care of yourself.  Take the time needed to heal, properly.

THE BIG LEARNING?

Wellness is not just Eating Clean® and exercising.  It is doing the hard work of healing and committing to everything that means to support wellness.  This takes time.  It takes medical assistance from a group of professionals.  It takes your commitment to your own wellness. This is a monumental learning for me and confirms what I already know about the value of Eating Clean®. It really really matters!  

Won’t you join my Membership Programs or any one of Strike Sugar, FitCommit and FitBoost? This is about your wellness.  Everything you do matters.

With my best wishes for wellness,

Tosca Reno