Concussions are a form of brain injury. Concussions may go undetected, particularly if there do not appear to be any serious symptoms. It should not be surprising that the majority of concussions result from sports injuries, particularly those from contact sports, such as football, ice hockey, or wrestling. Still, a blow to the head from a ball (such as in baseball, soccer , or volleyball) or a hard fall (such as in figure skating or gymnastics) can also result in a concussion.
Because Dr. Nathen Horst works closely with athletes, he sees many such concussion cases in which patients may be experiencing symptoms for weeks or even months after getting a clean bill of health from their regular physician. Proper chiropractic care can alleviate these symptoms in a safe, effective manner.
What Is a Concussion?
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, a concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury as a result of a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, and can cause changes in the way the brain works. Concussions can also result from a blow to the body, in which the head and brain move violently back and forth, such as a sudden impact from a car accident.
Symptoms of a concussion generally fall into four categories: Memory and cognition; physical; mood; and sleep. Patients may have short-term memory loss, dizziness, headaches, blurry vision, irritability or anxiety, and difficulty concentrating, among other possible symptoms. Patients may also be more sleepy than usual, or have difficulty falling or staying asleep.
If a person has slurred speech, loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting, or one dilated pupil right after the injury, they should get immediate medical attention. However, some of these symptoms may not appear right away but grow worse in the weeks following the initial injury. One major concern, particularly for contact sport athletes, is what is known as second impact syndrome. If, for example, a football player has one hard impact with no obvious signs of concussion, they will be at a much greater risk for serious injury or even death from a second impact weeks or months later.
Chiropractic Care for Concussions Symptoms
If Dr. Horst sees a patient who may have suffered a concussion, he will take a detailed history, including any recent blows to the head (however minor they may seem) or sudden impacts that resulted in the head rapidly being moved back and forth. He will also ask about any symptoms, even if they did not happen immediately after the injury, or did not appear at all.
Dr. Horst may then perform a series of spinal adjustments. Depending upon the location of the injury, as well as any subsequent pain symptoms, this may be in the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), or lumbar (lower back) region. The goal is to gently shift the spinal cord back into proper position to take pressure off any nerves that may be causing symptoms following a concussion.
Athletes and their coaches may simply consider head impacts a standard part of the game and feel as though such injuries can simply be “shaken off.” The truth is that any blow to the head or impact that causes it to move violently should be cause for concern and treated as soon as possible.