Concussions and Brain Training – “Drinking The Kool Aid”

Written By: David Burns

Silhouette of hiking man jumping over the mountainsMany people seem to have a great deal of difficulty “drinking the Kool Aid”, as it has been put to me. “It’s just that YOUR STUFF, is really so new”, is what I hear. I’ve been told by marketing people, “You can’t tell people it will do all of these things, because it sounds too good to be true”.

On my end, it is so common place to see the “magic” that is “too good to be true”, that I’m often dumbfounded that some people struggle to “get on board”. Recently, I watched a show about social psychology called “Head Games” and I was reminded of how unexpected and curious our minds can be. It becomes easier to ignore new information, dismiss objective evidence rather than disrupt our own mental “apple cart”.

Here is the truth of the matter; “my stuff” isn’t new. It isn’t magic. And for the most part, it isn’t mine. And in some respects, it really is simple. The brain needs food (i.e. substrate) and exercise. If the cells exist and the bridge is not out then the area can be strengthened. The health of our brains is a reflection of the input that is provided to it.

The concepts of functional neurology, the physical applications to drive the brain, are all around us; it’s just not recognized as such. There are optometrists, physical medicine physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, naturopathic physicians and yes even chiropractors that take a functional approach to medicine, rehabilitation and health.

The issue isn’t the science, there is plenty of that. The issue isn’t objective evidence of outcomes; I have before and after changes with objective measures every single day that the patient can see. Some abnormalities are so gross that once pointed out even the uninitiated parent can see what I’m talking about. The issue isn’t that it is novel information. “The Clinical Science of Neurologic Rehabilitation, 2nd edition” by the medical director of UCLA, a neurologist, was published in 2003 and some of the information was old news by that point. And the issue isn’t that the applications are a technique of a given “fringe” profession. So what is the issue?

For some the issue is who is the messenger? For others it is how the message is delivered, packaged, marketed. And for others it is about their belief system that is so rigid that anything that does not fit their paradigm is rejected. People in general like to hold on to their present beliefs of how they see the world. Change for some is uncomfortable; it creates a cognitive dissonance that can be too great. If they accept this new concept it may upset their world. The idea of having made “mistakes” is uncomfortable, particularly when it pertains to their patients or their children.

But the truth is, it wasn’t a mistake prior to having the information, we all operate on our best present “intel”. But ignoring the insurmountable evidence, once presented, is a huge mistake. Our brains need to be treated differently; traumatic brain injuries / concussions need to be managed from a functional standpoint. A purely symptom based perspective is antiquated.

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