TAMPA (BLOOM) Functional Neurology, and Craniocervical Specialist Chris Slininger, DC, DCCJP, joined Gayle Guyardo the host of the global health and wellness show Bloom with new ways to treat mild traumatic brain injury, especially for our military members who often don’t have access to the most cutting-edge treatment.
“Many of these military members end up having lasting headaches, neck pain, brain fog, dizziness, and more.”, said Dr. Slininger.
He went on to say, “Unfortunately, the current DOD protocols for dealing with my traumatic brain injury, essentially only have a watch and wait methodology. They literally just give you some pain medication for the symptoms and see if your symptoms subside. If the symptoms don’t subside, the patient is just told to rest more, and they are given more medication. There is no clear intervention that is showing a substantial change in the outcomes.”
Dr. Slininger believes the current protocol basically leaves military members wondering if they’re going to be one of the ones that recover or not.
“I served in the military for 9 years and I saw this firsthand. I saw many military members who encountered blast injuries, were in proximity to IED’s, or got injured through the rigors of training, and never fully recovered. Unfortunately, I couldn’t become an upper cervical specialist within the military, so I had to get out of the military to try to help those who are in the military and the veterans.”, said Dr. Slininger.
He went on to say, “Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked with many people who have encountered MTBI’s and concussions, both in sports and military. The greatest majority of these cases had a serious misalignment in their upper neck that affected their brainstem, as well as the blood flow going into and out of the brain. Many of them also had disruptions with the cerebral spinal fluid that nourishes the brain. For many of them, the flow of this fluid was being blocked in the upper cervical spine.”
Dr. Slininger said instead of dealing with concussions and MTBI’s like brain injuries, he dealt with them as neck injuries and began to see his patients’ brains start to heal on their own. “By correcting the alignment of the upper cervical spine using a technique called upper cervical care, their headaches reduced, their brain fog dissipated, their neck and back stopped hurting, their dizziness reduced, and they were able to more successfully get back to their work. For many who were currently serving, this means preserving the longevity of their career.”, said Dr. Slininger.
Dr. Slininger and his team are working to get the word out and provide learning opportunities to military medical staff and the VA medical staff through continuing education opportunities. This includes an upcoming MTBI and Concussion Summit this winter.
“The military needs to know about the current models that work so they can probably help preserve our military forces, their careers, and their families.”, said Dr. Slininger.
Dr. Slininger also talked about how food can impact how a patient heals.
“When someone encounters a mTBI, especially from a blast injury like many military members do, it can cause a breakdown of the brain’s defense barrier called the blood brain barrier. This means that the brain can no longer keep chemicals or unwanted substances from entering the brain tissue.”, said Dr. Slininger.
He went on to stay, “If someone who has had a mTBI eats unhealthy, processed, or pesticide laden food, it is common that these chemicals will enter the bloodstream and eventually head to the brain. Because the brain’s defense barrier is broken down, these harmful substances can enter into the brain tissue causing inflammation and slowing down the healing process and affecting the ability for the brain to keep the gut healthy. This is where the entire gut/brain axis breaks down. The brain negatively affects the gut, allowing more harmful or inflammatory material into the blood, which in turn makes the brain even more unhealthy.”
Dr. Slininger. said eating unhealthy foods while recovering from a recent or past mTBI can prolong or stunt the healing of the brain and nervous system.
“So, one of the first necessary steps to recovery is to eat a clean, natural, unprocessed diet. The second important side of recovery is to identify the root cause of any nerve signal interference.” Dr. Slininger.
Dr. Slininger pointed out that very often in mTBI’s, the upper neck will misalign from the force of the head injury, causing nerve interference and blood flow issues to and from the brain. Dr. Slininger said there is a very specialized type of care called Upper Cervical Care that addresses these complex spinal misalignments. “By realigning the upper neck, it is possible to reduce nerve interference, improve brain blood flow, and help the brain filter out any material that should not be in there.” Dr. Slininger.