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Over the years, Raleigh neurologist Dr. Darcy Dane has treated patients with all kinds of brain disorders. One of the problems she has seen almost more than any other is concussions. Dr. Dane believes concussions have been misunderstood and mismanaged in years past. After all, concussions quite often leave no external mark of their occurrence, and the treatment most often prescribed is simple rest.

Dr. Dane thinks more can always be done. New technology and research are driving better treatment options all the time, and those scientific advances mean that physicians must continue to learn. At the Carolina Brain Center, Dr. Dane and her team use the functional neurology approach to treat concussions. Let’s first discuss some basic facts about concussions. Then we’ll present how Dr. Dane helps patients overcome the often devastating effects of these injuries.

What Concussions Are

Concussions are traumatic brain injuries caused most frequently by blows or jolts to the head and less often by the forceful shaking of the head or upper body. The blows cause the brain to knock against the hard walls of the skull, thereby damaging parts of the organ’s soft tissue. Concussions are sometimes thought of as elusive conditions to identify because they usually don’t cause loss of consciousness, and people have been known to sustain concussions and not even be aware of them.

With this last fact in mind, let’s explore some telling symptoms of concussions so that you can recognize this potentially dangerous condition and get medical treatment if needed. Any of these symptoms can last for days or weeks following the initial blow and may be delayed in appearing at all.

Symptoms of Concussions

  • Headache
  • Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to stimuli such as bright lights or loud sounds
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss

Any of these symptoms may present themselves immediately following a concussion, but others might become known only after a few days, sometimes because it takes that long to notice their presence. These could include depression, difficulty concentrating, and mood alterations such as a noticeable increase in irritability.

The intensity of concussions ranges from mild to severe, with the worst cases involving loss of consciousness, if only for a few moments. Most individuals who sustain less severe concussions recover from them on their own. Any severe concussion involving loss of consciousness should be treated immediately by a doctor.

Dr. Dane’s Treatment Approach

Concussions are tricky because they can’t exactly be examined like a cut or bruise can. Concussions occur completely inside the skull and manifest as different symptoms on different schedules in different people. Dr. Dane believes these facts should encourage doctors everywhere to stay up to date on the latest discoveries in concussion treatment. This is especially important given that up to three million sports-related concussions occur every year in the United States, and about half of them are not reported to doctors, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

To this point: Dr. Dane has completed roughly 500 hours of concentrated training in concussion treatment. These 500 hours included both classroom time and grand rounds with Dr. Frederick Carrick, known as the “father of functional neurology.” It is this functional neurology approach that Dr. Dane brings to her Carolina Brain Center patients.

Functional neurology treats disorders of the nervous system through cognitive- and sensory-based treatments. At the Carolina Brain Center, Dr. Dane likes to call her approach “exercise for the brain.” In the same way that lifting weights can build arm muscles, so too can functional neurology increase the brain’s functional capacities.

Dr. Dane takes a structured approach to functional neurology to treat concussions. First, she examines a concussed patient using comparative subjective findings. These include patients’ answers to questions about their health and symptoms, videonystagmography (VNG) tests of the inner ear and parts of the brain, and exams of the brain itself.

All of this information together helps Dr. Dane identify which part of a patient’s central nervous system has been affected by the concussion. Once Dr. Dane has learned the severity of the brain injury and how it is affecting cognitive function, she and her team can begin designing effective treatment protocols for concussed patients.

In the case of a concussion, a functional neurological treatment might include having the patient participate in sensory- or cardio-based activities such as balancing themselves, tracking movements with their eyes, and performing aerobics. Concurrently, a doctor might use painless electrical currents to stimulate different parts of the body and brain.

Dr. Dane has seen this functional neurological approach help many patients recover fully from their concussion symptoms. At the Carolina Brain Center, we treat what is able to be treated and help patients increase function in areas that cannot fully recover.

The team at the Carolina Brain Center has treated patients throughout the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill areas of North Carolina–as well as patients from South Carolina and Virginia. If other concussion treatments in North Carolina have failed you, you owe it to yourself to see what Dr. Dane’s functional neurology approach can do for you. Contact the Carolina Brain Center at (919) 703-0207 to set up a consultation with Dr. Dane and start your road to recovery.

Why Carolina Brain Center?

Dr. Dane brings 20 years of experience to the Triangle and has helped many people achieve a healthier brain and body.


Ready For A Consultation?

Dr Dane is ready to talk when you are. We’ll need some information from you to get the process started!