Concussions are a hot topic these days with many movies and news stories featuring the negative effects of head trauma.
Often we think about concussions, as a hit to the head in a sporting arena or on the field of play but what really concerns us is when symptoms of the head trauma stick around long after the injury occurred.
Head trauma is real. If you hit your head (or get hit in the head) hard enough, you can sustain damage to the brain. This is no laughing matter as brain damage does occur in head trauma injuries.
Often after head trauma, common symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and visual disturbances can all occur immediately after injury and stay around for a varied amount of time. Symptoms can be a measure for understanding severity of the head trauma, although not always. Sometimes a serious hit to the head, has no lingering symptoms and sometimes what seems like a mild trauma produces very severe symptoms.
In a typical injury, the body will get to work managing the trauma and going about the process of healing up from the injury. The body will use inflammation to heal and we can expect that over time, it will be less painful and symptoms will clear up.
With head trauma, it is not always predictable how long this will take, however a reasonable time tends to be a few weeks to a few months in extreme cases.
Post concussion is the term applied to concussion symptoms that linger long after this reasonable time has passed. These are the athletes that have had to quit their sport because they have been having serious symptoms for years after their concussions with no relief in sight.
Post concussion is considered differently than a concussion, as it appears that there is something continuously occurring in the head which leads to ongoing symptoms. In these complex and unclear situations, a different approach may help to identify the problem.
Head trauma, not only injures the head, but it also injures the neck. One of the potential injuries to the head/neck is in alignment and the reality that trauma can shift the bony structures of the head and neck into a crooked position.
If the injury has shifted the head/neck position, the body experiences a new and additional stress within the head and neck and often pressure within the head. This pressure can create a continuation of the same concussion symptoms originally experienced after the trauma.
Attempting to correct the misalignment to bring the body structures back in to proper alignment can reduce the internal pressure in the head as well as tension within the supportive neck muscles.
If successful, we are then looking for a reduction in the symptoms that the athlete has been experiencing for months or years after the trauma.
NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association) is the technique of upper neck/head correction that is widely used for just this type of injury associated with concussions. If there’s enough force to create a concussion, there is more than enough force to create a misalignment.
Athletes suffering from post concussion symptoms need to have this alignment checked by a recognized NUCCA doctor. In Victoria, UC Life Chiropractic Centre is here for you, but in other parts of the world visit www.nucca.org to find someone that can help.
Dr. Matthew Kittleson
UC Life Chiropractic Centre
250 386 5433