Concussion Symptoms & Treatment
Concussions and Mild Head Trauma
Concussions and other mild head traumas are one of the most common injuries in America. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that causes the brain to move and strike the inside of the skull. This impact can cause swelling in the brain and a host of negative symptoms.
Car accidents, work injuries, and contact sports concussions are a few of the most common causes of these injuries. After sustaining a concussion, it’s important to know your options when it comes to treatment and long-term care.
The symptoms of a concussion vary from person to person, and some mild concussions may go unnoticed for quite some time. Most people who experience concussions report symptoms including:
- Headaches and feelings of pressure in the head
- Temporary unconsciousness
- Memory loss
- Confusion and dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech and slow vocal responses
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Sensory confusion
- Light sensitivity
- Sleep problems
- Irritability and mood swings
Some people only experience very mild symptoms that do not require further treatment beyond diagnosis and rest. A severe concussion can cause serious problems, including the development of post-concussion syndrome.
This condition can cause more serious concussion symptoms that persist for months or longer.
Concussions are typically diagnosed using cognitive testing and neurological screenings. The most commonly suggested treatment for a concussion is rest.
A doctor will recommend that a concussion victim refrain from rigorous physical activity and only resume light physical activity once symptoms fade.
There are no medications that can be used to decrease concussion symptoms, but prescription and over-the-counter medications are often used to help cope with pain.
Unfortunately, just one concussion makes people more vulnerable to future concussions.
Athletes who sustain concussions should avoid resuming play until symptoms fade entirely and they should stress the body in specific ways under the supervision of a trained medical professional to ensure that symptoms do not return.
Dr. Royer is one of the few chiropractic physicians authorized by the state of Ohio to return school age athletes to play following a concussion.
Ohio authorizes chiropractic physicians who are board certified as diplomates in Chiropractic Neurology or Sports Medicine to manage young athletes, as well those that hold a designation as a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) with additional training.
Doctors may suggest over-the-counter pain medications to manage headaches, but there are other ways to treat the potential long-term effects of a concussion. Improper care for a concussion can also lead to post-concussion syndrome and can cause someone to suffer needlessly for months.
Chiropractic Care for Concussions
Things that cause concussions, such as car accidents and contact sports, inflict great force on the head and body. The force of impact can throw the spinal column out of alignment, and this dysfunction may cause the symptoms of a concussion to persist longer than they should.
Any time that a person receives a concussion, the neck is traumatized as well, which can lead to problems with the muscles of the neck. Chiropractic care addresses the misalignment in the spine to encourage healthier function throughout the body and faster healing. After a concussion, a chiropractic adjustment can reduce the occurrence of post-concussion syndrome symptoms and help concussion victims recover more quickly. Graston Technique is a good option to focus on specific problems or it may be beneficial to use massage therapy to control the pain. Corrective exercises can be use from a biomechanical perspective to treat problems with muscles.
Pain is just one of the symptoms of a concussion where. The other symptoms can profoundly affect a person’s life. They can make the victim of a concussion not leave the house or socialize and can prevent people from going to work.
Even grocery shopping can be an issue. Functional neurology goes beyond normal chiropractic care since it allows specialized assessment and treatments that are not known by the average chiropractor.
Functional neurologists use a wealth of knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of the brain to perform a detailed examination to assess the state of the individual and the capabilities of the patient’s nervous system.
Patients who have had a concussion are usually overwhelmed with stimulation and most push themselves too hard.
A functional neurologist will also develop a treatment plan based on the patient’s specific needs and will utilize brain-based rehabilitation exercises as therapy.
Because of this, it is common for chiropractors to refer their patients to a functional neurologist for evaluation and treatment, especially when they have persistent neurological issues.
FAQs about Chiropractic for Concussions
How does chiropractic help a concussion?
Chiropractic care that addresses the cervical region of the spine can alleviate the symptoms of a concussion and reduce the occurrence of post-concussion syndrome symptoms.
Additionally, chiropractic physicians trained in functional neurology are able to specially assess and treat patients who have concussions.
Will chiropractic cure my concussion?
It depends on the severity of the injury and the length of time since the injury. However, chiropractic care can make symptoms more manageable and help concussion victims recover more quickly.
“Cure” is a little of a loaded word since it means so many different things to people. Some people want there to be no problems after treatment and some want to be able to just go back to work.
There are some people that will have residual symptoms no matter the treatment provided. There are many that completely resolve their problems. Others find that they are mostly fine, but they have occasional bouts of problems, like dizziness.
Having someone that can treat the pain as well as someone that can treat the other neurological problems is important if you want full recovery. At our office, we also work with other health care providers in order to help you function at your best.
How long does chiropractic care take?
A standard adjustment will only take a few minutes, but it depends on what else is part of your treatment plan. Plans are customized for each individual patient and your plan may involve modalities (like electric stimulation), rehabilitation exercises, massage therapy, Graston Technique and other forms of treatment. You may also be using a functional neurology model of treatment that will include frequent assessments and brain-based treatments. So, appointment times can vary depending on the day and your schedule from a few minutes to over an hour.
Overall, chiropractic and functional neurology is most effective when patients receive regular treatment over an extended period. Attending your appointments with the recommended frequency can help you to continue your progress, prevent a relapse and even help avoid problems in the future.
Progression is dependent on your case as it depends on what you can tolerate. Ideally, you should be symptom free for a period of time before you progress into something more challenging. If your symptoms flare when you do a lot of planning or if you are physically active, then you are probably not ready to push yourself in those areas.
A brain that has been injured (i.e. concussion) cannot handle being overworked repeatedly. A muscle might be sore after being overloaded, but a damaged brain may be pushed into a relapse or be pushed into a chronic issue called post-concussion syndrome. Early and appropriate treatment will help prevent this unfortunate situation. Care must be taken that you are not your own worst enemy to recovery because you are pushing yourself too hard or too fast.
What symptoms does chiropractic fix?
Results vary on an individual basis, but many concussion victims report that regular chiropractic care reduced the intensity and frequency of headaches, eliminated sensations of vertigo, and enabled better rest and relaxation for faster recovery.
Functional neurology treatments can help with the following symptoms of concussion and post- concussion syndrome.
- Balance Problems
- Sleep Problems
- Light Sensitivity
- Noise Sensitivity
- More Emotional
- Neck Pain
- Feeling “Slow”
- Feeling “Foggy”
- “Don’t Feel Right”
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Difficulty Remembering
- Blurred Vision/Visual Problems