Use your Brain – Finding effective treatment for chronic concussion (mTBI) symptoms

According the the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), concussions are serious. They state, “Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury (mTBI) because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, the effects of a concussion can be serious.” In this 30 second video produced by the CDC  a concussion is described.

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine position statement says, “It is estimated that as many as 3.8 million concussions occur in the USA per year during competitive sports and recreational activities; however, as many as 50% of the concussions may go unreported.” In addition, it goes on to say that “While the majority of concussions resolve within 7–10 days, in some cases symptoms persist for weeks, months or years beyond the initial injury.”

Additional evidence of this was just published, June 3, 2019, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Neurology  Recovery After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Patients Presenting to US Level I Trauma Centers A Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury (TRACK-TBI) Study  This study came to the following conclusion: “Most patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) presenting to US level I trauma centers report persistent, injury-related life difficulties at 1 year post-injury, suggesting the need for more systematic follow-up of patients with mTBI to provide treatments and reduce the risk of chronic problems after mTBI.”

Optometry’s role and neuro-optometric vision rehabilitation can be a key in patient recovery after mTBI along with other rehabilitation professionals. Unfortunately, too often patients who are living with the “after effect” of chronic symptoms following a concussion (mTBI) are told, by some doctors, to just “wait it out” and symptoms will go away on their own.

But, along comes Anne Ruh Clauss, graduate from Princeton University with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, MBA from Harvard Business School and Fellow 2018-2019 Swarthmore College Athletic Department and author of the new book: Use your Brain – Concussion Therapy An Active Call to Action.

Throughout her book she uses a story based narrative of concussed individuals and how mTBI affected their lives woven in with facts and available online resources to help the reader find help. She outlines three key questions for those individuals and family members who are dealing with the impact of  chronic symptoms following a mTBI. They are:

  1. What just happened?
  2. What can I do about it?
  3. Who can help? Where do we go?

In chapter 4 entitled: “The eyes have it: Check them out”, she gives a nice overview of neuro-optometry and vision rehabilitation. It was my honor to be cited as a resource in addition to Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda, Dr. Michael Gallaway, Dr. Mitch Scheiman and sports pediatrician Dr. Christina Master.

She also emphasizes the importance of finding an optometrist dedicated to neuro-optometric vision rehabilitation with the following resources:

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD)

The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA)

The VisionHelp Concussion Project

This is an excellent book for the public as well as professionals to share with patients who are dealing with chronic post concussion symptoms.

Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D., FCOVD

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