Throughout 2023, my first year at Edgemont Chiropractic Clinic, I’ve noticed what seemed to be a combination of events and symptoms that my new patients have reported when filling out their initial form. The events are mostly automobile accidents. When I ask about the accident(s), they describe being hit unexpectedly from behind, but as ‘minor’ with no physical trauma. The second most common, usually with older patients, is falls. In the young, sporting knocks to the head. The reason these patients consult us is often neck pain with or without headache. The symptoms they include on our form are depression, anxiety, insomnia, lack of energy, and migraine. Again, in conversation, my new patients speak of difficulty concentrating, remembering, lack of clear thinking and a change over time in their sense of emotional well-being. Also, vertigo and with older patients, a loss of balance too.
These can be signs of concussion.
A concussion is a common and traumatic brain injury. It’s called ‘invisible’ because even an MRI may not recognize that it has occurred. It occurs when your brain is shaken inside your skull, and it can damage your brain’s tissues and /or blood vessels.
Managing a Patient with a Concussion
As chiropractors managing a patient with a concussion, we approach the situation with caution and specialized knowledge. These are the important considerations for chiropractic care in the context of concussions:
- Comprehensive Evaluation: As chiropractors, we conduct a thorough evaluation of the patient's history, symptoms, and any previous head injuries. This may include a detailed assessment of neurological function, orthopedic examination, and specialized tests for concussion assessment.
- Collaboration with our patient’s Medical team. It's essential for us to work in collaboration with the patient's healthcare team, including medical doctors, neurologists, and other specialists. We ensure communication and sharing of information for providing comprehensive care.
- Individualized Treatment Plan: Our chiropractic treatment for a concussion patient is individualized based on the patient's specific symptoms and needs. This may involve gentle spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and other modalities aimed at reducing musculoskeletal symptoms associated with concussions.
- Monitoring and Progress Tracking: We closely monitor the patient's progress and symptoms, paying attention to any changes or new developments. Adjustments to the treatment plan are necessary based on the patient's response to care.
- Education and Support: Providing our patients with education about concussion management, including proper self-care strategies and potential warning signs. Additionally, offering support and guidance throughout the recovery process can be beneficial for the patient.
Overall, the focus should be on a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients with concussions.
What has become known recently, is that a stronger neck can help lessen the likelihood of concussion. Research has shown that a 1-pound increase in neck strength decreases concussion odds by 5%.
There are a multitude of approaches to attain such strengthening, some quite robust. The type of activity one involves oneself in is the real determinant of what one chooses. For most of us not involved in contact/high-risk sports, simple exercises that strengthen our necks can be performed without trainers or complex dynamic equipment.
We have created a page that you can have access to by contacting us that explains these simple exercises. Also, if you would like to have them shown to you, please speak with either Dr. Olson or Dr. Walker when you next visit us.