Concussion Recovery and Bodywork

youngBoyOnce a person has experienced an unexpected impact, such as a car accident, fall or a hit, the body instinctively processes it as a trauma/danger and goes into a protective guarding reflex to keep all the internal organs safe. The Dura (fascia) tissues contract through out the entire body, compressing all joints and sutures, impeding their natural movement and rhythm. As long as the body is still interpreting danger, it will not integrate into a natural state of relaxing, rather it will remain in a fight or flight loop. If this high state of aroused energy is prevented from being discharged out of the muscles/fascia, it remains trapped in a bio-neural-physical loop. Meaning, it still thinks it is in danger and will remain guarded. The subconscious body does not know that the incident has passed and all is well. It only knows to protect and stay safe.

This “protection mechanism” also contributes to the structure (bone) remaining in an unbalanced position. Remember, bone follows muscles and if the muscles are instinctively charged with “protection” mechanisms of contraction, repositioning remains difficult for the body to do on its own. This is why dizziness, headaches, light sensitivity, exhaustion and other symptoms can remain long after the incident has occurred.

concussion recoveryAn easy example of this would be, the Chinese Finger Torture Toy kids play with. Once your fingers enter both ends, the toy will tighten down and remain that way until you figure out the release! You try and move, wiggle, and pull but it remains tight! Your body can’t figure it out and now you need assistance to learn how to disengage the tightening mechanism from a friend!

This is the premise for receiving bodywork with reflex integration. I use gentle techniques to re-integrate the Guarding Reflex into a state of relaxation and out of its fight or flight loop. With the body’s natural guarding reflex re-integrated, I then use fascia unwinding; cranial sacral and lymphatic movements to help the muscles further disengage and relax, allowing structure (bone) reposition back to balance.  If areas of the body need re-education/ strengthening of their movements, we use more reflex integration exercises to bring the whole body back to center. This bodywork can enhance and compliment other modalities of recovery,  such as PT, OT, Speech, etc. All contributing to the greater good of recovery for the client.

The number of sessions needed depend on the trauma and length of time since the impact. I never want to elicit a further fight or flight response in anyone. Gentle movements in an easy flow is priority. An assessment would be necessary to further evaluate a treatment plan.