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Darcy Dane, DC,
Dana Brindisi, DC,

6404 Falls of Neuse Rd., #201
Raleigh, NC 27615

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A Week at “Brain Camp” Changes Lives

Carter was a competitive boxer in his twenties. Like many in his sport, he endured countless repetitive injuries to the head. While he never experienced a single, classic movie-moment knockout, the accumulation of blows to the brain began to manifest in symptoms of post-concussion syndrome during college—symptoms that had become severe by the time he sought care at Carolina Brain Center in North Raleigh.

Dr. Dana Brindisi, left, and
Dr. Darcy Dane

Dr. Darcy Dane and Dr. Dana Brindisi offer an array of unique treatment therapies for issues stemming from the brain. As functional neurologists, their goal is to restore or establish proper function of a failing or struggling system.

“When Carter walked in the door that first day,” Dr. Brindisi recalls, “I’ll never forget—he was wearing sunglasses, headphones, a hat pulled down low, and his hands shoved in the pockets of his jacket. All these things were basically protective gear—he really couldn’t tolerate any kind of sensory stimulation. Carter had headaches, light and sound sensitivity, fatigue, muscle weakness, full-body pain, and muscle spasms.”

“And he was also dealing with other cognitive issues,” Dr. Dane adds, “including depression, anxiety, and difficulty with memory and concentration. He had dropped out of college and was living back home with his parents, really unable to function independently.”

So, Dr. Brindisi put Carter into their “brain camp” the very next week.

Brain Camp

“Brain-Camp,” explains Dr. Dane, “is what we call an intensive, week-long program to address brain rehabilitation in a way that is completely unique to each patient, while also enabling us to meet the needs of virtually every person who may walk through our door. We work one-on-one with a patient, four hours a day, for five days. This approach offers the fastest results due to the frequency and intensity of the treatment; it is based entirely on the premise of neuroplasticity.”

Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to make new neuronal connections and thus change or regain functions, is an important concept in the treatment of diseases that destroy or alter neuronal connections. Examples of such conditions are post-concussion syndrome, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, vestibular related balance issues, visual problems, sensory hypersensitivities, and Parkinson’s disease.

“In order to create neuroplastic changes,” Dr. Brindisi explains, “neurons require a specific frequency of firing, intensity of activation, and duration of activation. Further, all of this must happen within someone’s metabolic capacity.

“And that takes a lot of one-on-one time,” she adds, “because we’re constantly monitoring the process—which is to neurologically push them to their limit in terms of what they can handle from stimulation without exceeding it. It’s a delicate balance between pushing and reaching overload.”

“Brain camp,” says Dr. Dane, “is a focused, accelerated version of the process we engage in with all our patients. It offers the fastest results due to the frequency and intensity of the treatment. But, for those patients who cannot participate in a week-long intensive program, we offer flexible treatment schedules to fit their needs; the results are the same, it just takes longer to achieve them.”

“The biggest piece of what we do,” adds Dr. Brindisi, “is therapy that integrates all of these pieces. No one part of the brain functions in isolation, so it’s imperative that we don’t rehab specific areas of the brain in isolation. The goal is to help put all the pieces back together, so that our patients regain comprehensive, daily functions.”

And while many journeys will last longer than one intensive week, as Carter can tell you, one week can produce huge changes when it comes to brain function.

“At the end of the first week, we saw Carter’s personality come back,” Dr. Brindisi recalls. “He walked into the office like a normal 20-something man, without the sunglasses and headphones and hat. He’s now back in school, no longer has headaches or muscle spasms. And he’s driving again; he still isn’t 100 percent in every way, but driving—that’s huge.”

A Holistic Approach

“The Carolina Brain Center is a holistic practice,” Dr. Dane points out.  “Which means we treat the whole person—body and brain. We are functional neurologists and we are also chiropractors. One of the advantages of that training is that, having addressed brain function we can then augment that treatment with biomechanical adjustment.

“For example, Carter had an associated whiplash injury from his years of boxing, so we are working on some of his biomechanics now, which contributed significantly to his whole-body pain along with the symptoms from his concussive injuries.”