CHIROPRACTIC & CONCUSSIONS
“A traumatic brain injury occurs every 15 seconds.” — Brain Injury Research Institute
A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury that impacts brain and nervous system function. A concussion injury is caused either by a forceful hit to the head, face, or neck, or by aggressive shaking of the head and neck, such as with a whiplash injury.
The brain has the consistency of a jello-like substance, and therefore, is highly susceptible to injury. The brain is protected by both the bones of the skull and the cerebral spinal fluid within the protective meninges. A violent force can cause the brain to shift back and forth and collide with the inside of the skull. This impact can not only bruise the brain, but can also cause injury to blood vessels and nerves in and around the area of impact.
Furthermore, the impact can cause a mechanical deformation of the affected neurons which can disrupt the balance of ions and chemicals in the brain, which can further damage nerve cell function. In moderate cases of concussions, the impaired nerve fibres can heal, but in more severe cases of concussion, if the damaged nerve fibres are unable to recover, they can lose the ability to send nerve signals and communicate with other brain cells entirely.
Brain injuries are fast becoming one of the most common forms of serious, life-altering injuries today. This condition is most commonly associated with falls, motor vehicle injuries, and athletic injuries. There are many common misconceptions about concussions that are simply not necessarily true, such as:
• In order to have a concussion, you must be knocked unconscious
• It only occurs with a direct trauma to the head
• Concussions are not long-lasting or serious
• There are no recovery options available other than rest in a dark room
All of these common misconceptions are simply not true, and can get in the way of a patient receiving proper care following a concussion injury. Research is rapidly emerging on the long-term consequences of brain injuries and how multiple brain injuries can actually compound the devastating effects, which can leave an individual more susceptible to future injury.The Chiropractic and Functional Neurology approach to helping a patient with brain injury is to begin by assessing the areas of the brain that have been impacted. For example, many concussions involve injury to the part of the brain that controls vision. As a result, patients can experience longstanding visual problems such as blurred vision, dizziness, and fatigue.
The problem for so many people is that the condition is not being taken seriously by most doctors and health care providers. It is assumed that just resting the injured person in a dark room will result in full recovery. Regrettably, that is often not helpful. Uncorrected brain and nervous system damage can lead to a lifetime of pain, poor performance in school and work, anxiety, depression, and neurological damage.
Over the years it has been a particular interest of our clinic to help those who struggle with concussion injuries. We take a holistic approach to optimizing the recovery for brain injured patients. This may involve a variety of gentle, low-force Chiropractic techniques, along with specific exercises that patients are taught to do that will help to rehabilitate the areas of the brain that have been injured. This area of focus is what is referred to as functional neurology.
Every patient with concussions needs to be assessed and treated on an individual basis. The process of helping patients with brain injury is one of the most rewarding things we do in the clinic. We welcome anyone who may have experienced a concussion, to reach out to us to have their questions answered.