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  • Arianne Gosselin

Osteopathy and Concussions: The Importance of Blood Supply


Medical doctors will recommend rest to let your brain heal from a concussion. This makes sense when you consider the body’s ability to self-heal and self-regulate. The issue is that your body’s self-healing ability largely depends on whether or not the area that needs to heal has a good blood supply and adequate drainage through the venous and lymphatic systems.


If drainage and supply to the head are not adequate, the recovery time can be quite lengthy. This is where osteopathy can be very helpful.


Healthy joints that move as a result of healthy muscles and ligaments will create an unobstructed pathway for nutritious blood. That way the blood can get to an injured area, such as the brain, and provide the building blocks for repair.


The importance of blood supply goes even further. Waste products in the injured area must enter the bloodstream in order to be carried away. In a review article published in the American Journal of Medicine, author William J. Mullally explains how these waste products are created. For example, one of the results of changes in neurotransmitters and ionic concentrations after the head injury is an influx of calcium in the brain cells. Getting rid of this calcium requires energy and the process of creating energy produces lactate. Lactate impairs neuronal function which means it must be eliminated through the bloodstream. The problem is that a head injury will also lead to a reduction in blood flow. This altered blood flow may last for weeks, long after the 7-10 day average recovery time (Mullally, 2017).


So how do we get better blood supply in order to heal faster?


Any type of abnormal force acting on a blood vessel will alter blood supply. This abnormal force could come from anywhere in the body. For example, it could come from a local muscle spasm, which in turn can compress the vessel.


Osteopathy addresses the structural cause of a functional issue. In the previous example, the structural cause would be the muscle spasm and the functional issue would be the alteration in blood supply. In other words, Osteopathy can increase blood supply and allow the body to self-heal, getting you back to the things that matter most.


References:

Mullally, William J. “Concussion.” The American Journal of Medicine 130, no. 8 (2017): 885–92. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2017.04.016.

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