Concussions are considered a minor traumatic brain injury (mTBI), but don’t let the word minor fool you. There is nothing minor about the symptoms caused by post-concussion syndrome. How common is this condition? What are the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome? How is this condition related to the neck? We will answer all of these questions and provide hope for concussion patients by revealing a natural way that many have been able to find relief.
Statistics Regarding Concussions in the US
Statistics regarding concussions have to be estimated because many people do not seek treatment for this type of injury. For example, according to the Brain Injury Research Institute, there are anywhere from 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions that occur in the US each year, and that figure only includes those caused in sports and recreation activities. Think about how much that number would rise if we include car accidents, slip and fall injuries, assaults, and work-related injuries.
Of course, a person doesn’t end up with post-concussion syndrome simply because they suffer a concussion. However, it is becoming a more common phenomenon (perhaps because it is better understood and is being diagnosed properly). For example, according to Statista, only 7.3% of concussion patients were diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome in 2010, but by 2015 that number had nearly doubled to 13.2%.
If you have suffered an injury to the head, it is possible a concussion occurred, even if you were not knocked unconscious. In fact, you don’t’ even have to hit your head. If the head is jostled around fast enough, the brain can strike the inside of the skull and cause an mTBI. How can you know if you suffered a concussion? Here is a concussion symptoms list according to the CDC:
- Cognitive difficulties including problems with clear thinking, the feeling that you are thinking in slow motion, difficulty concentrating, and problems with remembering new information.
- Physical symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, balance problems, fatigue, light and sound sensitivity, and nausea and vomiting.
- Mood changes are also common including increased irritability, depression, anxiety, and difficulty controlling emotions.
- Sleep disturbances can range from sleeping more or sleeping less to having difficulty falling asleep.
Post-Concussion Syndrome Symptoms
The concussion symptoms noted above should not last more than a day or two. If new symptoms appear or grow worse, whether it be in a few days or even months after the injury, post-concussion syndrome may be occurring. The following symptoms are common during post-concussion syndrome, although you only need three symptoms to be present for a diagnosis:
- Headaches or migraines
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Depression, anxiety, and/or irritability
- Personality changes
- Sensitivity to lights and sounds
- Insomnia and other sleep problems
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Neck pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
How Concussions and the Neck Are Related
Concussions and the neck are related in more ways than the fact that neck pain can be a symptom of post-concussion syndrome. Consider, for example, the common symptoms that can occur when a person suffers from whiplash. Neck pain, headaches, dizziness, and cognitive problems can all be associated with the aftereffects of whiplash. It just makes sense that the two are related. But how?
The upper cervical spine can provide the answer. Consider the following bodily functions that can be affected when an upper cervical misalignment is present:
- Blood Flow – The cervical spine facilitates blood flow to the head by means of the foramen which are tiny loops of bone. Any misalignment can shift these bone loops and change the way blood reaches the head, including the brain. This can lead to many of the symptoms noted above.
- Brainstem Function – The C1 (atlas) surrounds the location where the brainstem meets the spinal cord. Even the slightest misalignment can put pressure on this sensitive area of the central nervous system. As a result, the brainstem may fail to function optimally. Any of the neurological symptoms of concussions or whiplash can result.
- Cerebrospinal Fluid Drainage – upper cervical misalignments can prevent cerebrospinal fluid from draining properly. This phenomenon has been observed using an upright MRI. As a result, spinal fluid may pool and cause intracranial pressure. This is another potential underlying factor in the symptoms mentioned above.
Correcting Upper Cervical Misalignments to Reduce Concussion Symptoms
If these physiological problems are behind the symptoms, then it makes sense to eliminate the underlying cause – the upper cervical misalignment. How can this be done? Upper cervical chiropractic is a subspecialty of chiropractic care that involves precise measurements of the top two bones of the neck. Then, gentle and long-lasting adjustments are administered. This can give the body the time it needs to heal.
If you have suffered any type of head or neck injury, especially if a concussion occurred, it makes sense to get an examination of the top bones of the spine. These vertebrae are a different shape from the rest of the vertebrae. The difference allows the head a wide range of movement, but it also makes the bones susceptible to misalignment. Since even a fraction of a millimeter can lead to the onset of symptoms, you need a specialist who will be looking for misalignments in this area of the neck. Upper cervical chiropractors use diagnostic techniques that can pinpoint misalignments down to hundredths of a degree.
If you have a history of trauma, whether it is from a sports injury, a car accident, or another type trauma, find an upper cervical practitioner near you today. A no-obligation consultation may put you back on the road to recovery.