Chiropractic and Concussions
We’ve all heard about concussions and we all probably know at least one person who has had one at some point, but what exactly is a concussion and how do you get one? A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury (or mTBI) that affects your brain function. Common causes of a concussion include motor vehicle collisions, falls, sports injuries, and bicycle accidents, although any exceptionally violent shaking of the head can cause one as well. Think of your brain like jello – it’s surrounded by spinal fluid that is designed to cushion it from minor trauma. However, when a violent and sudden movement occurs, it will cause the brain to hit the sides of your skull resulting in inflammation of the brain tissue. The force it takes to cause a concussion is pretty intense; it takes about 60g’s of force to concuss the average adult. Thankfully, every day activities won’t do it. You have to hit your head pretty hard to cause a concussion.
Common Symptoms and Length of a Concussion
The effects of a concussion are usually temporary, clearing up within 7 to 10 days; however for some people the effects can last longer. Common symptoms of a concussion are headaches, memory loss, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, sleepiness, dizziness, confusion, and lack of coordination. A person with a concussion may tend to repeat themselves, be slow to respond to questions, have a blank, vacant stare, or have slurred speech. That’s why cartoon characters frequently see stars when they get hit; it messes with your vision and perception. While the effects are usually temporary, in some cases it can cause lasting damage. There has been a lot of research lately on the long term effects of multiple concussions especially in people who play a lot of contact sports such as football or hockey. Some people lose consciousness when the concussion happens, but frequently they do not. This means you can get a concussion and not even realize it. Some symptoms show up right way; others can take several days to present themselves. It is important to get checked out immediately if you receive any sort of head injury. This also includes car accidents, as whiplash can also cause a concussion and throw your neck and spine out of alignment. Unfortunately, if a concussion is bad enough and left undiagnosed, it can lead to death from complications caused by the concussion so please seek medical attention right away, particularly if you are presenting with the more severe symptoms listed earlier.
Unleash Your Nervous Systems Natural Healing
While most people seek out their general practitioner, in this case a chiropractor might be a good choice as well. The typical medical practice is to prescribe rest and reduced activity while the brain injury heals and patients are often given pain killers for the headaches. This is where chiropractic care would be extremely beneficial. Pills just mask the injury to relieve discomfort temporarily; chiropractic treats the subluxations caused by the injury which unleashes your nervous system and allows healing to begin naturally . What is not widely known is that concussions can also injure the neck; this plays a major role in concussion symptoms. When the injury occurs, your head rocks; this puts strain on your neck as well as your brain. The muscles in the neck become inflamed and the vertebrae are most likely forced out of alignment, or subluxated. When this happens, your brain is bombarded by pain signals; your body is unhappy and it’s telling you the only way it knows how. By correcting the subluxation in the neck, it allows the proper messages to be sent where they need to go, and healing can begin. The inflammation in the neck will subside and the pain will decrease on its own.
A Case Study
There was a case study of a 15 year old girl that showed the symptoms of concussion after hitting her head with the trunk door of a van. She complained of constant pain on the top of her head, headaches, and had difficulty concentrating. She wasn’t diagnosed with the concussion until nine days after the initial incident. Two weeks after the official diagnosis, she sought out chiropractic care. After just 9 adjustments using a very specific adjusting technique, she actually started showing improvements! She was even tested using the ImPACT concussion test and her cognitive efficiency index improved from 0.28 to 0.43.
Don’t Wait Call Today
So what does this all mean? It means after being diagnosed with a concussion your chiropractor can use specific adjustment techniques unique to you that remove vertebral misalignments (subluxations) caused by injuries and may alleviate the symptoms of a concussion and also naturally shorten the time it takes to heal from one. By relieving the pressure on the nerves in the neck, signals sent from the brain can flow freely allowing the inflammation to subside which allows the body to heal on its own more efficiently. If you don’t have a chiropractor, we hope you don’t wait until you have a concussion to find one. Most of all, just bring awareness to those around you of the dangers of waiting to get diagnosed for concussion, and if someone you know does get one, please advise them to seek out a chiropractor to aid in their recovery! Call our office today to schedule a complementary spinal health screening (970) 377-3557.