Featured Body Part: Head

By: Cori Cameron and Katie Varnado, ATC for ATI Physical Therapy

Featured Body Part: Head

The brain is one of the most important and powerful organs in our body. It’s also one that we may often take for granted; forgetting the fact that it’s responsible for everything from our movements to our thoughts. According to the Brain Facts from Medical Daily, 85 billion neurons must complete upwards of five trillion chemical reactions each second, at speeds of over 260 miles per hour to keep us going. That’s crazy impressive! With all of this power and responsibility, comes the fact that we need to be able to protect our head and brain. The more we know about prevention and the cause of injury, the better the chances are of avoiding an injury in the future.

Common Conditions

  • Hematoma – A collection of blood outside the blood vessels. This can cause pressure to build inside your skull, causing loss of consciousness or even permanent brain damage.
  • Hemorrhage – Uncontrolled bleeding can occur in the space around your brain or there can be bleeding within your brain tissue.
  • Concussion – A brain injury that occurs when your brain is jarred or shaken inside the skull. Loss of function is typically temporary, but repeated concussions could lead to permanent damage.
  • Skull Fracture – A break in one or more of the bones in the cranial portion of the skull. When the skull is broken it is unable to absorb the impact of a blow, which makes it more likely that there will be brain damage as well.

Common Causes
Head injuries can be broken into two categories:

  • Blows to the Head – Injuries are typically caused by:
    • Motor vehicle accidents
    • Falls
    • Physical assaults
    • Sports-related accidents
  • Shaking – While this is most common in infants and small children, they can occur any time one experiences violent shaking.

Injury Prevention
Katie Varnado, ATC, Midwest Director of Sports Medicine, gives us some tips to help prevent and rehabilitate head injuries:

  • Appropriate Equipment – Make sure to wear the appropriate protective equipment for your sport.  This could include helmets and mouthguards.  Equally as important as having the correct equipment is making sure it is fitted appropriately (not too loose).
  • Use Proper Technique – Make sure you have learned and practice proper technique for the sport you play. Do not lead with your head and do not use your head as a “weapon.”
  • Neck Strengthening Exercises – Some scholars believe that strengthening the neck musculature allows forces dissipate during a head collision or rapid rotation, thus reducing the force the brain sustains and lowering your risk of concussion.

Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation after a head injury is important and recognition of an injury is key:

  • Know the Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion – Headache, dizziness and nausea are just a few.
  • Discontinue Physical Activity – If you suspect you have sustained a concussion, it is important to immediately remove yourself from further physical activity.
  • Seek Appropriate Medical Evaluation – See an athletic trainer, physical therapist or a physician for a full evaluation.
  • Rest – Physical and cognitive rest are crucial to allowing the brain to heal. Follow physician instructions regarding gradually returning to taxing activities.
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation – If you have symptoms that do not resolve in a relatively short time span, vestibular therapy may help reduce symptoms.

When weighing your treatment options for head injury rehabilitation, consider physical therapy. Physical therapy offers a wide variety of treatment options including strengthening, stretching, and sustainable home exercise programs. Stop in or call any ATI location for a complimentary injury screen or to learn more about how physical therapy can help you overcome your pain.

Get your head in the game with ATI!

Donor Family Shares Story of Hope; Zach Miller Knee Injury; Cheerleader Injuries

Episode 17.30 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.

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Segment One (01:30): The Healing Process of Donor Parents Lori and Rob Chana.

Cameron Chana (2)Cameron Chana was a born leader who focused on making an impact in lives of others. He was very involved in volunteer work, his church, and went on mission trips across the world. No matter where he was, he encouraged positivity and spread his caring, upbeat energy.

The Chana family’s world was turned upside down when twenty-two-year old Cameron was killed in a bus accident in 2009. During a time of unimaginable grief, his parents and three siblings honored his wish to be a donor.

Cameron’s legacy of hope and love lives on through the gift of organ and tissue donation. He saved five lives through organ donation and impacted as many as 50 lives through tissue donation. Learn more at AllowSource.

Lori & Rob Chana with Steve and Dr. Cole

Chana family with Cameron on the Left

Cameron’s heart recipient


Segment Two (14.12): Steve and Dr. Cole talk with former Chicago Bear Otis WilsonUSP NFL: CHICAGO BEARS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS S FBN NO CHI USA LA about Zach Millers horrific knee injury in the recent game against the New Orleans Saints. Chicago Bears Zach Miller had emergency surgery last week to repair a torn popliteal artery in his left leg, an injury that has resulted in amputation in some previous instances involving other football players. The 33-year-old dislocated his left knee while trying to catch a touchdown pass, which subsequently damaged the artery.


Segment Three (21:04): Dr. Kathy Weber from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush talks about the prevalence of catastrophic injuries and concussions in cheerleaders. Cheerleading is by far the most perilous sport for female athletes in high school and college, accounting for as much as two-thirds of severe school-sports injuries over the past 25 years, according to a new report. Yet cheerleading remains one of the least-regulated sports, despite more than 95,000 high school girls and 2,000 boys signing up for spirit squads nationwide each year.


kathleen weberDr. Weber’s reputation as a leading sports medicine physician is enhanced by her remarkable activity in the treatment of high-level professional athletes. She serves as the head primary care sports medicine team physician for the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox and the head team physician for the Chicago Force Women’s Football. She also serves as co-head team physician for the DePaul Blue Demons and the physician for the Hubbard Street Dance and the River North Dance Companies. In addition, she is a member of the LPGA Medical Advisory Board. She is on numerous committees including the NBA Team Physicians Executive Committee, NBA Research Committee, MLB Concussion Committee, and MLB Research Committee. Dr. Weber has been involved with the MLB Medical Advisory Board for multiple years and is the first women elected President of the MLB Team Physicians Association.

Exercise Has Real Benefits for the Brain

The brain has similar needs to other organs. It needs glucose, oxygen and other nutrients. There are very real concrete benefits to exercising that directly affect the brain.

“I like to say that exercise is like taking a little Prozac or a little Ritalin at just the right moment,” says John J. Ratey, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of A User’s Guide to the Brain.

“Exercise is really for the brain, not the body. It affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being” according to WebMD.

The benefits of exercise on the brain include the following:
– One of the most exciting changes that exercise causes is neurogenesis, or the creation of new neurons. The new neurons are created in the hippocampus, the center of learning and memory in the brain, according to Oregon Health and Science University.

The course I am taking on Optimizing Brain Fitness
cites the following benefits:
– increased blood flow, oxygen and increased capillaries around neurons
– increased production of new neurons and more interconnections between them.
– protection of dopamine neurons from toxins in the environment
– leads to elevations in nerve growth factors.
– affects prefrontal executive processes, preferentially enhanced.
– brings about a positive balance in neurotransmitters just like in anti-depressants.

The Franklin Institute says that walking is especially good, because it increases blood circulation and the oxygen and glucose that reach your brain. Walking is not strenuous, so your leg muscles don’t take up extra oxygen and glucose like they do during other forms of exercise. As you walk, you effectively oxygenate your brain. Maybe this is why walking can “clear your head” and help you to think better.

Studies of senior citizens who walk regularly showed significant improvement in memory skills compared to sedentary elderly people. Walking also improved their learning ability, concentration, and abstract reasoning. Stroke risk was cut by 57% in people who walked as little as 20 minutes a day.

The Brain Optimizing course said that three walks of 45 minutes a week are enough to reduce chances of dementia by 50%.

An article in American Academy of Neurology Magazine stated that walking six to nine miles a week may preserve brain size and consequently stop memory deterioration in later life.

A study reported by The Franklin Institute said that in a four month trial the cognitive abilities of the participants were measured in four areas, memory, executive functioning, attention/concentration and psychomotor speed.

This group was compared with a group on medication. Compared to the medication group, the exercisers showed significant improvements in the higher mental processes of memory and in “executive functions” that involve planning, organization, and the ability to mentally juggle different intellectual tasks at the same time.

“What we found so fascinating was that exercise had its beneficial effect in specific areas of cognitive function that are rooted in the frontal and prefrontal regions of the brain,” said a researcher. “The implications are that exercise might be able to offset some of the mental declines that we often associate with the aging process.” (Emphasis mine.)

A short time frame is all that is needed to establish improvement
– just 6 months of exercise increases brain volume
– thus a decreasing brain volume with aging is really not normal, according to the Brain Optimizing course.

https://guysandgoodhealth.com/

Concussions: Fact vs Fiction; ACL Repair; Chicago Sports Summit

Episode 17.25 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.

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Segment One (01:25): Dr. Tad Seifert, Neurology, Sports Medicine from Norton Concussions: Fact vs. fictionHealthcare talks about concussions and relationship to migraine headaches; prevalence in the lay athlete and elite athletes; fact vs fiction; management of concussions and migraines.

Dr. Tad Seifert a graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He completed his residency in neurology at the University of Texas-Houston and a subsequent fellowship in headache & facial pain at the renowned Houston Headache Clinic. Dr. Seifert currently serves as Director of Norton Healthcare’s Sports Neurology Program in Louisville, Kentucky.

Tad D. Seifert, M.D.

Dr. Seifert is an Independent Neurotrauma Consultant for the NFL and serves as Head of the NCAA’s Headache Task Force.  He is currently the Team Neurologist for a number of Kentucky and Indiana-based colleges and universities and is Chairman of the Kentucky Boxing & Wrestling Commission’s Medical Advisory Panel.

His research interests include post-traumatic headache in athletes as well as combat sports medicine.  Dr. Seifert cares for athletes of all ages and levels – from youth sports to professional leagues.

Related Articles:

Cuncussions: Fact vs Fiction

Counsel patients, parents on concussion risks in football


Segment Two (12:50): Steve talks with Dr. Cole about ACL repair in NBA athletes: description, causes, using grafts to rebuild the ACL, recovery and prognosis for rehab and return to play.

Image result for acl graft


Segment Three (21:00): Grant Koster from Athletico Physical Therapy and Dr. Cole talk about the Chicago Sports Summit to be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on October 4th from 8 AM to Noon. Grant will be one of the speakers from a list of prominent leaders in the community and sports. Watch the video about last year’s Summit and be sure to sign up for the 2nd annual Chicago Sports Summit.

Founded in 2016, the Chicago Sports Summit brings together several prominent politicians, business leaders and celebrities to discuss sports topics that impact the city of Chicago.

This year’s panels include:

  1. Curbing the Violence in Chicago: Empowering youth to participate in sports/activities, develop confidence and cultivate leadership skills. The panel will feature Chicago sports celebrities who are making a difference in the lives of Chicago teens.
  2. The Business of Sports Marketing: How the world’s largest and most recognizable brands leverage sports marketing to grow their business.
  3. The Science Behind Sports: The latest advances and how they play a role in endurance, performance, injury prevention, and recovery for athletes.

Chicago Sports SummitThe Sports Summit Foundation was formed as a continuation of a successful event held in 2016 called the Chicago Sports Summit. Part of the events promotion was that all net proceeds after direct expenses would be donated to a charity. At the conclusion of the event, over $30,000 was raised for After School Matters. After School Matters is a public charity that provides educational and recreational programs for Chicago area teenagers. The Foundation plans to continue it’s partnership with that organization and those similar for future contributions from the event.

This event attracted a wide range of sponsors and patrons to listen to a panel of professional sports executives, physicians, players and coaches who discussed both the business component of their sport as well as prevention and care of sports injuries. In addition to funding programs for youth education, The Sports Summit Foundation intends to also contribute toward non-profit research activity surrounding Orthopaedic care.

Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush is the main sponsor of this entity and we hope to add to our existing partners in future years as we award more donations and fulfill our mission.