neck pain after a concussion

Dealing with concussions can be quite tricky. That’s because this type of brain injury rarely leaves unmistakable evidence that imaging scans can pick up. Often, people remain clueless until they observe symptoms like a throbbing headache, vomiting, nausea, and neck pain after a concussion. Not sure if you have a concussion or post-concussion syndrome? Learn more about the varying symptoms of a traumatic brain injury in our discussion.  

 

What Happens When You Have a Concussion?

During an accident like a car collision, overextension of the neck, or a head-to-head contact in a sports competition, the brain rapidly moves back and forth in the skull. This affects the brain’s performance and function. The reason why it’s hard to detect is that it doesn’t cause structural damage. Also, it doesn’t cause any bleeding or other physical changes. 

Instead, a concussion affects the brain at a cellular level, causing it to slow down, like a computer that badly needs a quick reboot. If you think that you have a concussion, you can visit your doctor for a consultation. This way, you can determine the extent of the problem. Some of the tell-tale signs of a concussion include the following:

  • Vertigo attacks
  • Slurred speech
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to sounds or light changes 
  • Trouble focusing 
  • Temporary loss of memory
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Confusion 
  • Neck pain
  • Hearing ringing sounds in one ear 

Usually, doctors will advise you to rest for a few days to give your brain enough time to heal and rewire itself. You might also need to slow down on doing activities that require heavy mental work. 

Most of the time, concussion symptoms go away after several days. However, it can easily extend by up to a few weeks if you suffered from an intense neck or head trauma. 

If the symptoms persist even after our injury heals, your condition has likely progressed into PCS or post-concussion syndrome. It’s a disabling problem that can trigger all sorts of symptoms, including neck pain after a concussion and severe headaches. 

 

Post-Concussion Syndrome and Its Symptoms 

Not all concussions progress to PCS. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, post-concussion syndrome mostly gets triggered by multiple concussions. PCS can cause a plethora of symptoms that can affect your emotion, cognition, and physical health. Find out how PCS can impact your life with our list of symptoms below.    

Physical symptoms

  • Headaches and migraine attacks

Roughly 9 out of 10 cases of concussions trigger chronic migraine attacks or headaches. The injury tends to affect the blood flow into the brain, causing mild to severe pain that can last for hours.   

  • Fatigue

Fatigue occurs in about 10 percent of people who experience brain trauma. Some studies explain that it happens because the usual pathways for nutrients get disrupted after your brain suffers from rapid jolting movements. You will likely experience exhaustion until your brain rewires everything.

  • Dizziness and vertigo 

Many patients who have PCS report vertigo and dizziness as their leading symptoms. Usually, the spinning or dizzying spells stop once the injury heals completely. 

  • Vision changes

Fifty percent of patients with PCS say they experience visual disturbances such as seeing fuzzy or blurry lights. 

  • Sound or light sensitivity

Because PCS usually triggers migraine attacks, people with this condition also note that they experience sensitivity to light or sound changes. 

  • Neck Pain

Neck pain usually accompanies other PCS symptoms. That’s because patients who previously had a neck injury have misaligned cervical bones. These bones tend to put undue pressure on the neck muscles and nearby nerve roots. 

  • Sleep problems

Traumatic brain injuries like post-concussion syndrome often cause sleeping problems. Some patients experience hypersomnia or excessive sleeping, while others struggle with insomnia or difficulty in falling asleep. Others experience sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy.

Emotional symptoms

  • Anxiety

Anxiety often follows when you’re constantly thinking about the physical manifestation of a disease, such as those symptoms listed above. The more you think about how your PCS symptoms will impact your day, the more bothered you feel. 

  • Depression

The lack of restorative sleep and the presence of other debilitating PCS symptoms possibly contribute to the onset of depression. If you experience signs of clinical depression or other mental health problems due to PCS, we suggest turning to a professional for help. 

 

Cognitive symptoms

  • Difficulty processing information 

Because the brain’s normal pathways for signal transmission got messed up during the injury, you might experience problems like cognitive delay. It’s also common to have a hard time understanding instructions or following the flow of conversations. 

  • Trouble concentrating 

When you have PCS, you’ll also find it incredibly difficult to concentrate on tasks. You might feel restless when working on a chore or struggle to stay still while talking to someone. 

  • Memory loss

Severe concussions can cause short-term amnesia or memory loss. This problem can occur months or years after the injury heals. You will most likely struggle to remember small details like where you placed your car keys or the things you need to buy at the grocery. 

 

Effective Relief Option for Neck Pain After a Concussion

Indeed, concussion and post-concussion syndrome can cause a long list of issues even after the trauma or accident. The symptoms might appear out of the blue or gradually manifest throughout your recovery period. If you got diagnosed with either of two traumatic brain injuries, we recommend trying upper cervical care chiropractic. It’s a proven natural remedy for concussion and PCS symptoms like neck pain.

This approach aims to restore vitality and balance, allowing your brain to recover in no time. It involves making gradual adjustments to the neck bones to release the pressure on the nerve roots and the brainstem. By doing so, your brain can start reconnecting disrupted pathways for information and nutrient distribution.  

Contact an upper cervical care practitioner near you and begin your journey to relieving your neck pain after a concussion today!

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