The use of trans cranial low level laser therapy for the management of mild traumatic brain injury.

By: Daniel J. Bourassa, DC

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and concussion syndromes have been a subject of increasing interest in both medicine and the media. As neuromuscular specialists, chiropractors see a significant percentage of a patient population with a history of traumatic head and neck injuries resulting in mTBI. These practitioners are uniquely positioned to diagnose and treat this health problem. In cases of mild TBI, the term “mild” refers to the severity of the consequences of the injury. Secondary symptoms include chronic headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, social withdrawal, seizures, and other indications of CNS dysfunction. The WHO report recommends that DCs only “facilitate a path to good recovery for mTBI patients through early education and positive reassurance as well by providing treatments aimed at reducing associated spine and headache-related pain.”


Early symptoms:

  • Any loss of consciousness up to 30 minutes.
  • Any loss of memory of events immediately before of after the accident (up to 24 hours).
  • Any alteration of mental state at the time of the accident (e.g., dazed, disoriented, or confused).
  • A Glasglow Coma Scale score falling below 13 after 30 minutes (review ER Records).
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Lack of awareness of surroundings
  • Nausea with or without memory dysfunction
  • Vomiting

Later symptoms:

  • Persistent low-grade headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Poor attention and concentration
  • Excessive or easy fatigue
  • Intolerance of bright light or difficulty focusing
  • Intolerance of loud noises
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Anxiety and depressed mood
  • Irritability and low frustration tolerance

Research has demonstrated low level laser therapy (LLLT) delivered thranscranially to be both safe and effective in the treatment of mTBI and other conditions of the central nervous system. Current research is a wake-up call for chiropractic physicians to consider transcranial LLLT in mTBI cases.