Many people associate concussions with damage to the brain. This leads to MRI’s, CAT Scans, x-rays, and neurological exams that are usually focused on the skull and brain. Oftentimes, physicians overlook the neck as the root cause of post-concussion lingering symptoms.
Concussion is classified as a mild traumatic brain injury. Symptoms that often accompany a concussion are headache, amnesia, and confusion. Many symptoms linger for days, weeks, months, or even years. These lingering symptoms can include chronic headaches, dizziness, brain fog, light/noise sensitivity, and even feelings of depression. This can end up being very debilitating and affects activities of daily living.
How Do Medical Professionals Treat Concussions?
The medical profession has done a great job at creating protocols to recognize and diagnose concussions after they occur. This prevents further injury and brain damage. After the concussion, they will recommend that the patient physically and mentally rest to recover from a concussion until no symptoms are present. As the patient’s symptoms improve, they will gradually add more activities that involve thinking. For headaches due to the concussion, they recommend taking a pain reliever like Tylenol and avoid pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin. Many times, concussions occur in athletes and the lack of activity results in de-conditioning of the body. The players are soon out of their playing shape due to inactivity and rest. The waiting game can become very frustrating, especially for a competitive professional athlete. While we always recommend consulting a medical doctor after a concussion, we do also recommend having your neck (upper spine) and head examined for structural shifts of the foundational segments.
How Can Structural Chiropractic Help?
Following any head or neck trauma that is significant enough to cause a concussion, there will be tearing loose of connective tissue that holds the spine in place. This will cause the spine to breakdown and become locked into an abnormal structural position. A structural shift of the upper neck as little as three quarters of a degree can alter the position of the head and interfere with the brain’s righting reflex. The righting reflex corrects the orientation of the body when it is taken out of its normal upright position. So what does that mean? A small structural shift of your upper neck can impair the brain in getting the body back to its natural upright position. It can not only change posture, but also blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow from the brain to the body and the body to the brain. This could be a reason why headaches, dizziness, and brain fog linger after a concussion.
Oftentimes after the structural shift of the upper neck is corrected, the post-concussion symptoms resolve. Famous athletes have looked to structural chiropractors that focus on the upper neck to help their post-concussion symptoms. It is important to see a medical doctor, but it is just as important to have your upper neck examined by a structural chiropractor after a concussion has occurred. Making sure that your upper neck is in a structurally stable position is crucial to the brains ability to perform the righting reflex. If you or someone you know has ever had a concussion, it wouldn’t hurt to have your upper spine examined for a structural shift.