Misconceptions About Cognitive Health

Is your brain working at optimal? You'll probably recognize that the brain is one of the most important organs in the body responsible for 40% of the energy consumption. And when your brain doesn't work well, it's hard to be productive, focus and feel positive.

Many people don't recognize the signs and symptoms of sub-optimal brain function, including brain fog, moodiness, migraines, anxiety and “senior moments”.

In fact, people associate cognitive impairment more with traumatic brain injury such as concussion or stroke but don’t recognize the more diffused symptoms which are often attributed to stress or “normal signs of aging” which isn’t true. Sadly, conventional medicine doesn’t track these subtle signs either and they don’t offer clear treatment options either when you experience the symptoms.

Typically when patients complain of these symptoms, doctors will offer advice like “take a vacation” or “manage your stress better” then send patients off to manage on their own, allowing these symptoms to worsen.

The Link Between Headaches and Brain Health

Though many people experience the occasional headache, some suffer from chronic headaches that can be debilitating. If you suffer from chronic headaches, you may be wondering what causes them and whether or not they could be indicative of a bigger issue.

Chronic headaches can be caused by a number of factors, including nutritional deficiencies, stress, muscle tension, hormones, and certain foods or beverages. However, one of the most common causes of chronic headaches is an underlying health condition.

Migraines are a type of headache that is characterized by severe pain, light sensitivity, and nausea. Migraines are often caused by changes in hormone levels, food intolerances and gut dysbiosis which can cause disruption in the gut-brain communication system.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. They are often caused by muscle tension, stress, or skeletal misalignments. Symptoms of tension headaches include dull, throbbing pain in the head and neck.

Cluster headaches, a more rare form of headache, are characterized by severe pain on one side of the head. Cluster headache attacks usually last for 15 minutes to 3 hours and are attributed to an issue with the hypothalamus gland, hormone or gut imbalances or even food intolerances as well.

Suffering from chronic headaches or migraines is typically a sign that your body can be in a pro-inflammatory and oxidative state. But how did this happen? Inflammation can be caused by toxins but often it is a product of unbalanced gut health. Most likely you may be dealing with some gut health issues, even if you don’t exhibit any GI symptoms or perhaps you have been struggling with a gut condition, like IBS, for quite some time.

In some cases, mitochondrial dysfunction can be to blame as well as environmental toxins such as mold (mycotoxins) or undiagnosed food allergies or sensitivities. Hormone imbalances, another factor that conventional medical doesn’t also associate with headaches and migraines, can be a root cause especially for women in perimenopause and menopause.

We do advanced testing to get to the bottom of any issues that could be impacting your inflammation levels. Then we can finally pinpoint headache and migraine triggers to give you the best guidance and care to finally be free from pain but also bring down inflammation levels that are at the root of some many illnesses.

Concussions

A concussion is a type of brain injury that occurs when the head is hit with enough force to cause the brain to bounce around or twist inside the skull. You can also suffer from a concussion without impact, meaning the brain can knock against the inside of the skull causing a concussion. Generally, concussions happen during contact sports, car accidents, or falls. Although concussions are usually not life-threatening, they can still cause long-term problems if not properly treated.

Symptoms of a concussion may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Balance problems
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or confused
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Slurred speech

Drowsiness

Traditional treatments for a concussion usually involve rest and limiting mental and physical activity until symptoms go away. Unfortunately, some people don’t heal well from concussions and need further support for healing to take place. In functional medicine, we take a much more proactive approach. A brain injury, no matter how severe or mild, should always be taken seriously. So if you are experiencing symptoms even months post-concussion, you may want to consider treatment.

Checking for inflammation levels can make all the difference to your healing. The brain doesn’t operate in isolation and so many things in your immediate environment can escalate inflammation. This can range from diet to toxins (like heavy metals and pesticides) to poor sleep patterns and even nervous system dysregulation. Along with our standard care in these areas, concussions may require additional healing modalities like hyperbaric oxygen therapy, right eye brain therapy and other therapies that can realign neural pathways and brain regrowth.

As with all our treatments, concussion care is personalized, based on the needs of the individual. We do testing and assessments to gauge what can speed your recovery and where your body and brain may need the most support.

Neurodegeneration

Neurodegenerative diseases are a group of disorders that affect the nervous system and result in the progressive deterioration of motor function. These diseases can lead to a decline in cognitive function and memory, and eventually, death.

The most common neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). There is currently no cure for any of these diseases, and treatments are limited to managing symptoms. However, there are steps that you can take to protect your brain health and reduce your risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease.

One of the best things you can do for your brain health is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You have probably heard this before, however we provide very specific guidance in the areas that most people don’t realize have the biggest impact on your brain. One of our focus areas is gut health and helping you to understand the gut-brain axis. Often people have gut dysbiosis which can impact the brain-blood barrier, cause neurological symptoms like depression, anxiety and memory loss, and cause the immune function residing in your brain to be on high alert. Gut dysbiosis not only inflames your whole body but can also cause your brain to be inflamed and even minor gut issues can create low moods and other red flags that shouldn’t be ignored.

Protecting your brain is so much more than just getting more rest and eating healthy. We go much deeper on specific nutritional strategies to upgrade your gut health therefore upgrading your brain health at the same time. We also look at your toxin burden and help you to understand where the thousand of toxins you are exposed to daily are coming from that damage brain tissues and impact function. Having a deeper understanding of sleep stages and upgrading your circadian rhythm as well as instituting better sleep hygiene is another key tactic to protecting your brain. You will learn how to allow for better brain detox, which only happens during certain phases of sleep that most people are lacking in.

Manage Chronic Health Conditions That Impact The Brain

If you have any chronic health conditions, it is important to manage them effectively. Conditions such as diabetes (Alzheimer’s is often called diabetes type 3), high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can all contribute to the development of a neurodegenerative disease.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to preventing neurodegeneration and preserving brain health; however, we can provide the roadmap that everyone can take to reduce risks. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing chronic health conditions, and safeguarding your brain health are all good ways to keep your brain healthy as you age.

Take The First Step Today On Your

Journey Back To Health

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About Infinite Wellness

Known for her successful approach towards chronic wellness issues, Dr. Francine Woods and her team at Infinite Wellness combine an integrative, functional medicine approach informed by advanced lab testing.

Our unique approach to diagnosing and resolving chronic health issues recognizes that lasting health depends on resolving the underlying root causes of your symptoms . Click here to learn more »

Your Next Steps

After you have reviewed the information on our website and in our downloadable guides, we’d love to hear from you – to answer more specific questions about our approach and track record.

Simply apply for a free discovery consult with our patient coordinator at 222.333.4444 or via our online appointment scheduler.

Areas Served

Infinite Wellness is located in Boston, Massachusetts, and serves patients throughout the Greater Boston Area and Eastern Massachusetts. These areas include but are not limited to Suffolk County, MA, Norfolk County, MA and Revere, MA, Chelsea, MA, Somerville, MA, Cambridge, MA, Brookline, MA, Watertown, MA, Arlington, MA, and Medford, MA.

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