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Chiropractic Care for Concussions

Published Date: 
October 12, 2022
Categories:
A doctor is doing tests to diagnose a man for a concussion.

Concussions are one of the most common injuries people face during labor, sports, practice, or play. Learn why chiropractic care has been used successfully to treat patients who suffer from concussions.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help with Concussions 

Head trauma can cause complex injuries that require prompt care. Concussion, commonly referred to as mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), can occur especially after a fall, auto accident, sports injury, or knock to the head. Concussion symptoms can wear off in a couple of weeks or several months.

In some cases, post-concussion syndrome (PCS) can cause long-term effects. Chiropractic care for concussions involves targeted approaches to alleviate the symptoms and prevent long-term adverse effects. Before we delve into how chiropractic care can treat concussion, let's learn what a concussion is and how to spot it early on.

What Is a Concussion? 

A concussion is a brain injury that occurs after trauma to the head or violent shaking of the brain, resulting in temporary alteration of brain function. As previously stated, some medical practitioners refer to concussion as mTBI. However, in recent years medics have proven concussions can occur across varying degrees of brain injury, not just mild. Falls and sports-related blows are the common culprits of concussions. Over 300,000 concussions that occur yearly are football-related.

Symptoms of a Concussion 

Symptoms of a concussion can be subtle or severe depending on the shearing forces on the axons of the neurons. Initially, people with concussions enter into a state of unconsciousness and forgetfulness. Patients usually "see stars," which is a state of confusion. Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Sleep problems
  • Tinnitus
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Memory loss

Symptoms may take days to appear and usually subside in a week. A cause of alarm for concussion is increased confusion, seizures, repeated vomiting, and symptoms persisting past ten days. 

A chiropractor is treating a man to alleviate symptoms of a concussion.

Can Chiropractic Care Help Concussion Treatment?

Chiropractic care is a non-addictive, non-invasive complementary treatment that involves spinal adjustments to treat concussion. Chiropractic care involves three main stages to confer relief. Below are the three stages chiropractors employ.

The Initial Visit

After an accident, fall, or sports-related injury, the first visit should be to a medical provider to ensure you have no critical injuries. Afterward, you can visit a chiropractor who will take your medical history and assess your eligibility for chiropractic care. There are no adjustments during the first visit, and the chiropractor will run you through what chiropractic care for concussion entails while liaising with your insurer to cover the bills.

The Physical Exam

A physical exam is imperative to diagnose a concussion. Imaging tests such as MRI and CT scans can detect structural deformities in the head but cannot accurately diagnose a concussion. Concussion injuries are microscopical, and the symptoms may be caused by internal head bleeding.

The chiropractor will employ a range of motion tests, lab work, and general body posture to gather enough data. Afterward, the chiropractor will pinpoint the cause of the concussion and tailor an effective treatment plan that suits you.

The Adjustment

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to chiropractic treatments. Each concussion case is unique, and so are the treatments. After the chiropractor accurately diagnoses you with a concussion, they will tailor a plan that involves adjustments to the upper cervical region. 

Since the adjustments treat the neck region, you will need to lie on a specialized table. The treatment is an in-office procedure and does not require much preparation, but you will need to wear loose clothing that allows for free movement.

Usually, concussions occur after subluxation of the vertebrae and can involve the C1 vertebrae. On the specialized table, the chiropractor will realign your vertebrae to reduce symptoms of concussions. An added advantage of the chiropractic adjustment is that it confers other benefits, such as alleviating neck pain, treating whiplash, and reinstating the range of motion in the joints. Discuss the best treatments that will confer fast relief for concussions with your practitioner. 

You may not be ideal for chiropractic care for concussion yet, especially if you take blood-thinning medication or have a history of cancer. The adjustments vary from subtle to intense, but approved chiropractors from the American Chiropractic Association mitigate risks associated with chiropractic care. 

What Causes Post-Concussion Syndrome Symptoms?

Post-concussion syndrome or PCS occurs after concussion or head injury symptoms persist for weeks or months. PCS symptoms manifest as personality changes, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, excessive drowsiness, increased confusion, and unexplainable fatigue. It is imperative to seek early treatment, especially if you notice increased irritability and declining cognitive abilities, such as the inability to concentrate.

PCS occurs mainly in individuals with a history of concussions or those who previously reported headaches after an injury to the head. However, it does not mean everyone who sustains a head injury can develop PCS. Older individuals and women show a greater prevalence of developing PCS than other groups. Athletes who suffer concussions are at greater risk of developing PCS. Sports medicine doctors advise against participating in activities that could cause second-impact syndrome and recommend taking preventive measures such as wearing helmets. If you suspect you have PCS, you can visit a qualified practitioner to diagnose you and leverage chiropractic adjustments to expedite recovery.

A chiropractor is discussing treatment options for post concussion syndrome with a patient.

How a Chiropractor Can Help with Post-Concussion Syndrome

When the spine is misaligned after trauma, it negatively impacts the central nervous system and lowers general brain function, which manifests as the symptoms you experience if you have PCS. 

Chiropractic care involves spinal adjustments in the neck region, reducing inflammation, balancing the autonomic nervous system, restoring the proper flow of cerebrospinal fluid to the brain, improving brain function, eliminating headaches, and conferring general body wellness. Every PCS case is unique, but qualified chiropractors tailor effective solutions to ease post-concussion syndrome symptoms.

Conclusion

Most concussion symptoms subside after a few days. However, it is imperative to seek treatment to avoid the symptoms inhibiting your day-to-day operations and causing long-term effects such as neurodegenerative diseases. Chiropractic care for concussions is an alternative medicine treatment that reduces concussion symptoms through chiropractic adjustments. Consider chiropractic concussion management if you don't want to pop pain pills. In the meantime, protect yourself in high-intensity sports by wearing protective headgear.

Dr. Eric Neumann D.C.

Dr. Eric Neumann grew up in Alberta, Canada where he majored in Chemistry at the University of Calgary. During his time at University, he obtained licensure as a Massage Therapist. It was clear that hands-on healing would be his calling. After suffering multiple sport-related injuries he became interested in Chiropractic. Dr. Neumann graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in 2009. He has since specialized in the treatment and management of acute spinal injuries.

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