The moment you hear the doctor say you have a brain injury your life stops, no different than if you were told that you have Cancer. Your first reaction is numbness, and then fear sets in. I know personally, for I was diagnosed with both!
Prognosis after Concussion (mild traumatic brain injury)
The first question that you ask is, “Am I going to get better?’ And most PCPs, neurologists and rehabilitation clinicians will say, “Wait and see.” The usual prescription for a concussion is to go home and rest, limit your activity, especially TV, electronics and sports. Nothing is said about changing your diet, or treatments such as water therapy which can actually help you heal your brain. Since this advice is typically not given, most people who sustain a Concussion, a mild traumatic brain injury, are sent home. Without proper treatment, these symptoms not only don’t go away, they worsen, leading to Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS).
In my previous blog, I mentioned both a patient who fell off a horse and her symptoms were dismissed, and the Customer Service Representative, who has had symptoms for 8 years, without any help or relief. Because concussions are generally misdiagnosed, undiagnosed, and misunderstood, there are unfortunately many more people out there with experiences like theirs who are living with PCS.
Help and Hope! – There is a Way!
Long before my brain injury on March 5, 1990, I opened the first integrative health team in New England in 1979. The practice was called Lafayette Counseling, Inc. We had three locations and over 256 patients at the time of my accident. Our integrative team was unique because it included conventional, complementary and alternative approaches to treatment for trauma, educational, health issues and sports. We treated many issues were from chronic pain, chronic illness, including Cancer, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD, incest, rape, abuse, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Also, we did hypnosis for Pain Control during Childbirth, which I’m published in the field, and for work in Cancer, along with methods for Peak Performance Training.
The team worked seamlessly together, promoting the welfare of each person who came to the practice the team. We consulted each other and conducted team meetings for every one of the 256 patients we served. We had a psychiatrist, neuropsychologist, psychologist, neurologist, gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, physical therapist, speech and language pathologist, polarity therapist, massage therapist, acupuncturist and homeopathic practitioner as well as psychiatric nurses and social workers. It was during this time I developed Dr. Diane®’s 5 Prong Approach to treatment. It was a thriving practice… until my accident occurred.
After My Brain Injury
During the four years following my accident, I was not offered any services or treatments to help me progress in my rehabilitation and to help me regain my life. In 1991, I had to close my practice since I could no longer manage it. In 1994, I was told by one of the neurologists that I needed to see a psychiatrist to help me deal with the fact I was permanently brain damaged and that I would never walk or talk properly every again. I remember initially wishing I had died in the accident. I even contemplated suicide. I was no longer the wife or mother I wanted to be. I had 3 young children at home, and I could not function. It was a dark and lonely place. Then after a period of grieving, I decided, “Doc, you are going to heal yourself”. It was then I realized the amazing professionals that once made up the integrative team at my practice. I contacted the various team members and engaged them in my own rehabilitation, starting with polarity and acupuncture. Prior to my brain injury I had gone on a 6-month elimination diet to deal with food allergies. From this information, I realized after my brain injury that if I ate certain foods that my symptoms would get worse. I realized that changing my diet was improving my symptoms. Yet, no doctor could have given me that advice. I followed those same guidelines from the earlier elimination diet. I started with one food and noted, along with the family members, who were living with all my symptoms, if that food made my symptoms better or worse. After 6 months, it was extremely clear that certain foods only made my symptoms worse, while others truly did help. With this knowledge, I developed my brain food diet, which to this day has helped every single patient.
During this period, I was introduced to Dr. Igor Burdenko, Ph.D., the founder and chairman of the Burdenko Water and Sports Therapy Institute. Dr. Burdenko developed The Burdenko Method, a practical application of water and land exercises based on holistic approach to rehabilitation, conditioning, and training. The Burdenko Method changed my life, as did being on my brain health diet and being introduced to neurofeedback.
I learned about neurofeedback through a presentation given at a brain injury support group by Janet Bloom, who trained with Dr. Margaret Ayers. I had been trained in hypnosis and biofeedback, yet I had never heard of neurofeedback. I am so grateful I attended that brain injury support group and discovered neurofeedback. These three methods were the vital forces integral to regaining my life.
With all the information I acquired from these methods and with the help of my previous integrative team, I set out to write a book to help other like myself to regain their life again. I co-authored, Coping with Mild Head Injury that was later changed to Coping with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. The entire focus of this book was and is about the integrative approach that helped me rebuild my life. The book contains Conventional, Complementary and Alternative approaches to taking back your life after brain injury. The book was released in 1997, the same year I was able to resume my practice, as a solo practitioner. I still was not ready cognitively to resume all of the responsibilities of having an integrative team of experts working with me.
From 1997 until 2007, I worked alone, yet was gradually meeting and working different practitioners developing a new integrative team with the current brain health experts.
Major Difference with Integrative Brain Injury Team
Just as the previous integrative team prior to my brain injury, this new team of brain health experts works seamlessly together, in true integrative fashion. One of my biggest complaints own with medical team treating my brain injury was they never spoke to one another. I can’t tell you how many times I was informing a specific doctor on what the other doctor had said or was doing. They did NOT communicate with one another. There was NO joint documentation of my files. And often there was disagreement of methods of medication or procedures.
Having had this awful experience, I vowed that this would never happen to any patient we consult with or treat in our practice. The Dr. Diane Brain Health team each has their own private practice, and are throughout the US. Also, I’m extremely fortunate that since 1997, I met and personally know a network of national and international practitioners that we work with. Hence, where ever you are located in the world, we can either refer you to a specialist in your area or we can provide remote, virtual, now called (tele-health) services.
COPING WITH CONCUSSION AND MILD TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
In 2011, Penguin Publishing asked me to write another book. I agreed if the book’s focus was on the integrative treatment approach that was working so well in my practice. They agreed. Thus, Barbara Albers Hill and I set out to write a book with the main focus of an integrative approach of treatment for brain injury. The book came out in 2013.
Susan Connors, the president and CEO of the Brain Injury Association wrote the following review which appears on the back cover of the book: “Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” is a long-awaited prescription for the millions who experience a so-called mild TBI and for their families and care providers. Incorporating detailed information, practical suggestions and personal insight, Dr. Stoler, has compiled a must-have encyclopedia for managing life after a Concussion.”
DR. DIANE®’S 5 PRONG APPROACH TO TREATMENT
My 5 Prong Approach evolved as part of my own journey in regaining my life after my brain injury, and with working with the brain injury patients and consult clients upon my return to active practice. What I realized is that even though there are common symptoms related to injury to the brain, each person is unique. Because of this, each treatment program for similar symptoms has to be different in order to achieve an excellent outcome. I believe the key to healing is to view and treat each person from the five distinct views that make up our approach: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and energy while looking for the core issue. Often these areas are connected and each needs to be addressed to ultimately reach your goal, Each integrative team member brings their own specialty and together we develop customized treatment programs based on the individual’s unique needs and goals and symptoms, using a wide-range of traditional, alternative, and complementary methods.
LIST OF INTEGRATIVE SERVICES
- Neurofeedback, Biofeedback, and QEEG
- Nutrition Education and Nutrition Response Testing
- Physical Therapy/CranioSacral Therapy
- Water Therapy/Burdenko Method
- Speech-Language Pathology
- Cognitive Remediation Therapy
- Energy Psychology
- Energy Healing
- Other Energy Healing Treatments- Tom Tam, Evan Pantazi
- Hypnosis and Relaxation Techniques
- Massage and Muscular Therapy
- Psychiatry and Psychopharmacology
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Bach Flower Essence
- iListen Therapy™
- Interactive Metronome
- Irlen Method
- Light Therapy + Photonic Modulation
- The Tomatis Method®
- Care Management
MEET THE DR. DIANE INTEGRATIVE TEAM OF BRAIN HEALTH EXPERTS
In the following weeks, my blogs will be focused on introducing you to the various individual team members, their background, beliefs and philosophy about specific treatment and the importance of being a part of an integrative team. Here is a brief introduction of the team members. For more detailed information about each member and the services they offer, please click on the links.
Dr. Diane® is a Neuropsychologist, Board Certified Health Psychologist, and Board Certified Sports Psychologist with a focus on brain fitness and brain rehabilitation. She has worked with amateur, professional and Olympic athletes to help them achieve Peak Performance and be in “The Zone”.
Certified Speech-Language Pathologist with over 19 years’ experience working with acquired brain injuries, learning disabilities and other social and communication disorders. Amy’s approach emphasizes understanding what someone needs to improve quality of life, task efficiency and effectiveness and maximizing independence.
Clara practices several forms of energy healing, including Reiki, HBLU, and techniques for emotional processing. She is a Reiki Master trained in the Usui Shiki Ryoho tradition by John and Lourdes Gray.
Specializing in Biofeedback, Brain Training, Listening Training, and Neurofeedback, Paul earned his certification in the first authorized Tomatis training in the US at Spectrum Center in Bethesda, MD, and was trained in neurofeedback and neuroscience at ESII and BrainMaster Institute.
Offering a muscle testing technique is used to choose the most appropriate specific nutrition products for each person. The specific nutritional program thus chosen enhances that individual’s immune system function which then helps the brain to function more efficiently.
Joan is certified in CranioSacral Therapy from the Upledger Institute. She has an intuitive and insightful approach to her work. She treats chronic pain, stroke, alignment disorders, and most orthopedic problems.
Wendy is a Nationally Licensed Massage Therapist and Muscle Release Therapist. Muscle release technique can break down scar tissue, lengthen a muscle, restore muscle memory and relieve pain.
With over ten years’ experience, Jennifer specializes in Deep Tissue, Swedish Eflurage and Sports Massage. Using Reflexology and Shiatsu in addition to traditional massage, she intuitively combines these techniques to release muscle tension and promote relaxation and wellness.
Care management can increase the quality of life for the senior or disabled adult, improve the quality of care, and to reduce caregiver stress. Karen specializes in care management working with seniors, adults with disabilities, and the families that love them.
Dr. Burdenko, founder and chairman of the Burdenko Water and Sports Therapy Institute, is one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of water for rehabilitation, conditioning, and training.
William specializes in TBI, Headaches/Migraines, chronic pain, chronic illness, sleep and insomnia issues. He is nationally board certified by the National Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and licensed in Massachusetts.
David founded a series of Integrative Medical clinics that pioneered the then uncommon practice of a combined conventional and integrative medical staff. Focus areas include: Breaking the Wellness Barrier with solutions for stress, anxiety and depression, Developing Patient Medical Leadership Skills, Healthy Aging at Home, Successful Engagement with Wellness at Work and Ancient Solutions for Modern Problems.
Paul obtained his undergraduate training in Biology at the University of Connecticut followed by graduate education at the National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois. He graduated cum laude, with a doctorate in Chiropractic in 1992. He complements his chiropractic education with an extensive postgraduate program in rehabilitation, which help patients manage some of the most complicated and/or chronic cases of musculo-skeletal pain.
Primary area of interest centers on head injuries, migraines, seizures, movement disorders, neuropathies, and the injection of botulinum toxin (botox) in the treatment of migraines, headaches, and similar forms of pain, muscle contractions and movement disorders, as well as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and epilepsy. One of the many qualities that set Dr. Gonzales apart from the rest is his acceptance of alternative approaches to migraine treatment and palliation.
Board Certified adult psychiatrist with over 25 years’ experience treating people with Brain Injury, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She is a graduate of Emory University School of Medicine, and completed her residency at the Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston, Massachusetts.
Dr.O’Neil-Smith is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston University Medical School. She completed an internship in pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital followed by an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. O’Neil-Smith has an extensive background in nutrition, applied physiology and sports medicine.
Tom is a licensed Acupuncturist who has also practiced Tai Chi and Chi Gong since 1975, specializing in Acupuncture, Qui Gong. Tom formed his own healing system, and wrote the Tom Tam Healing System (1995). Also, he wrote a Chinese healing book, An Zhen – The Palpation diagnose (2005). This book combined the west and east medical knowledge and formed a new theory for the understanding and healing the difficulty disease.
Evan has formulated a new and highly advanced method of Kyusho (Vital Point) for use in Health, Martial, Intimacy Enhancement and Law Enforcement. Based on the ancient understanding of acupuncture and pressure point massage methods, but adapted with modern science… the vital point is that all of us can easily rid the body of common ailments.
Integrative Brain Injury Consult
There are many practices that call themselves “integrative”. However, if you call and ask you will typically find the integrative team keep does not keep the same notes or meet to discuss your individual needs or treatment. This is norm at Dr. Diane Brain Health, not the exception.
Whether you are looking for help restoring your Brain Health and regain your life again……There is a Way! ®
GET HELP TODAY!
With over 30 years of experience as a Neuropsychologist, Board Certified Health Psychologist, Board Certified Sports Psychologist and brain injury survivor Dr. Diane can help you!
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Schedule a personal consult today with Dr. Diane®