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Concussion

What is a concussion?

A woman looks distraught because she was diagnosed with a concussion.
A concussion is a very common type of traumatic injury to the brain with more than 3 million cases per year being related to a sports injury. Though this type of injury is the most common type of traumatic brain injury, it is often the least severe and does not always require extensive medical treatment. People who play contact sports are at an increased risk of experiencing a concussion. However, using protective equipment like a securely-fitting helmet can reduce the risk of injury.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, often mild, that occurs after a hard impact injury to the head or a type of whiplash injury where the brain is forcibly shaken back and forth. The severity of a concussion varies from person to person and is greatly depending on how hard the impact on the head is, however, it is not usually a life-threatening injury.

What causes a concussion?

The brain is encased in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which is responsible for protecting or cushioning the brain in the event of injury. If an impact to the head is hard enough, the brain is propelled through the jelly-like fluid and bounces off of the skull, causing damage to the brain’s tissue.

Common causes of a concussion include:
Contact sports (football, baseball, boxing)
A hard impact on the head
A fall
Automobile accidents
Whiplash injuries
Injury from an explosion
A bullet wound or shrapnel entering the head             

How is a concussion diagnosed?

The brain is encased in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which is responsible for protecting or cushioning the brain in the event of injury. If an impact to the head is hard enough, the brain is propelled through the jelly-like fluid and bounces off of the skull, causing damage to the brain’s tissue.

Common causes of a concussion include:
A physical exam to evaluate the affected area      
A vision test to assess pupil size, light sensitivities, and eye movement
A balance test to determine postural stability 
An MRI or CT scan to assess brain tissue damage or the possibility of a skull fracture in severe cases

Risk factors

Young children and the elderly falling
Playing football, hockey, baseball, or other high-risk sports
Not wearing protective gear
Automobile accidents, especially without wearing a seatbelt
Physical abuse
Previous concussions
Experiencing combat as a war soldier
A man is being evaluated for concussion therapy.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

Symptoms that occur after a concussion-type traumatic brain injury vary from person to person and depend greatly on how hard the impact on the head was. Some people experience minor symptoms while others report a complete loss of consciousness following the traumatic injury. It is highly recommended to seek medical attention, whether through an emergency room visit or a scheduled appointment with your primary care provider, following an injury to the head.

Concussion symptoms are often broken down into four main categories: somatic, emotional, cognitive, and sleep-affecting.

Somatic or physical symptoms

Increased sensitivity to light
Blurred vision or difficulty seeing
Dizziness
Fatigue or extreme tiredness                             
Headache
Nausea
Vomiting

Somatic or physical symptoms

Increased anxiety
Irritability
Mood swings
Extreme feeling of sadness                          

Cognitive or thinking/remembering symptoms

Decreased attention span
Difficulty paying attention or staying on task          
Feeling groggy
Short or long-term memory loss 

Sleep symptoms

Difficulty falling or staying asleep              
Sleeping too much 
Not sleeping enough

Emergency symptoms of a concussion

The brain is encased in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which is responsible for protecting or cushioning the brain in the event of injury. If an impact to the head is hard enough, the brain is propelled through the jelly-like fluid and bounces off of the skull, causing damage to the brain’s tissue.

Common causes of a concussion include:
Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
Difficulty waking
Vomiting that is unchanged with medication            
Seizures
A history of concussion

What is the treatment for a concussion?

Treatment Options

Treatment for a concussion through conventional medicine focuses primarily on community awareness, prevention, and management of symptoms through medication, whereas chiropractic care focuses on the root cause of symptoms, as it is often a dysfunction within the nervous system or musculoskeletal system.

Chiropractic treatment for a concussion may include:

Spinal decompression

This type of treatment involves stretching the spine using a traction table to relieve pain and pressure felt within the back, improve flexibility, and relieve pressure on spinal discs.

Manual manipulation

Manipulation of the spine through manual traction by a licensed chiropractor helps to relieve concussion-induced headaches following an injury.

Physical therapy

This type of therapy helps a person regain strength, range of motion, and balance. For a person experiencing a severe concussion, physical therapy can help them with physical skills they are having difficulty with, such as walking and balance.

Can a chiropractor help with a concussion?

Chiropractic care is a medical specialty focusing on diagnosing, treating, and preventing disorders involving the musculoskeletal system. At Accident Care Chiropractic, our doctors specialize in automotive accident injuries, whiplash chiropractic care, and physical therapy.

Have you recently been involved in an accident that did not produce physical signs of injury? Chiropractic care, even without symptoms present, can help treat undetected injuries as well as prevent future or long-term injuries and pain.

Our team strives to provide individualized care for each patient based on a detailed medical history and the symptoms they are experiencing. During the initial visit, you will meet the chiropractor assigned to your case and better learn the connection between chiropractic care and concussions. We ask you to complete paperwork that includes a detailed medical history, current medications you’re taking, and a bit detailing the injury and symptoms you are experiencing.

Your doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination to determine a baseline musculoskeletal health assessment including the range of motion, flexibility, and balance. Once completed, we present a plan of care is presented detailing your chiropractor’s recommendations based on their findings.

Accident Care Chiropractic focuses on alleviating concussion-related headaches

We offer many services at our 15 locations throughout Oregon and Washington, including massage therapy, chiropractic care, physiotherapy, physical therapy, x-ray imaging, and nutrition counseling. This allows us to treat a large variety of injuries, aches, and pains involving the musculoskeletal system and provide ample counseling and education on the prevention of injury.

We treat back or neck pain, and other physical symptoms involving the musculoskeletal system. If you or a loved one have recently been involved in an automobile accident, whether you are experiencing symptoms of an injury or not, contact us today to see how our licensed chiropractors can help!

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