Welcome to our discussion on mild traumatic brain injuries and how chiropractic may provide potential treatment options for related signs and symptoms. Concussions have gathered significant attention in recent years due to their prevalence among youth and professional athletes, as well as their potential long-term impact on cognitive health. While traditional Western medicine remains crucial for managing concussions, there is an growing interest in the integration of therapies like chiropractic to complement the recovery process. In our blog, we will explore what concussions are, their mechanisms, and how Smart Pain Solutions in St. Louis contributes to the healing process.
Concussions, similar to whiplash, commonly occur when a forceful collision to the body causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull. Also called a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), the jarring motion from impact leads to disruption of normal brain function. Concussions not only cause neurological interferences, but disruptions within the body, resulting in symptoms like back and neck pain, muscle soreness, stiff joints, and potential vertebral disc issues.
It’s important to note that concussions can affect anyone, not just athletes. Head injuries require careful attention, as mishandling them could lead to further complicating factors like post-concussion syndrome.
Chiropractic’s initial philosophy is on the relationship between the spine and the nervous system. While it’s not a primary treatment for concussions, some individuals find that chiropractic is an auxiliary aid in symptoms associated with head injuries. It’s critical to stress that chiropractic should not be the sole provider, especially in cases of concussions. Health assessments, specialized imaging, and expert care are necessary to accurately diagnose and control conditions. If unsure about where to begin, our doctors at Smart Pain Solutions can provide you with guidance. If necessary, our doctors may recommend additional testing or connect you to a concussion specialist, such as a neurologist or orthopedic spine specialist who may also request an MRI or CT scan in St. Louis.
Concussion Care Plans
According to the University of Michigan, concussion treatment is broken down into three phases. These are the acute symptomatic phase, recovery phase, and the recovered phase of care.
Acute Symptomatic Phase
This is the most important phase to monitor immediately after the injury and over subsequent days. Its when signs and symptoms are most pronounced and require close observation. Headaches, confusion, neck pain, & hyper sensitivity to lights or noises are some of the common findings seen with a concussion. Due to their traumatic nature, concussions can interfere with sleep patterns and neurological communications within the body.
The first step to concussion treatment is rest. It is imperative to give your brain & body time to recover. Rest includes getting additional amounts of sleep, water, and foods rich in nutrients. The use of pain medication should be avoided and screen time should be kept to a minimum during the acute symptomatic phase. This is because a majority of medications already interfere with normal brain signaling and prolonged exposure to blue light disrupts cognitive function.
- Loss of consciousness or inability to stay awake for periods of time
- Severe head and neck pain
- Increased dizziness, confusion, aggression, & memory issues
- Repeated nausea & vomiting, seizures, convulsions, or headaches
- Prolonged sensitivity to light and noise, “Seeing double”, or other vision problems
Recovery Phase From Chiropractic Perspective
Chiropractic care plays a vital role in the recovery phase of concussion treatment, as it’s a potential avenue of aid from a holistic perspective. This phase is characterized by a reduction in frequency of symptoms, improved ability to think more clearly, and a decreased “foggy” feeling of mental status. Here are a few examples of how Smart Pain Solutions contributes to recovery following a mild brain injury.
- Head & Neck Adjustments: Due to the nature of concussions, it may lead to aberrant motion, joint, & disc inflammation within the cervical spine. Through gentle adjustments, chiropractors aim to restore motion within the spine, potentially reducing tension, inflammation, and pain in the head and neck. Chiropractic care from Smart Pain Solutions could potentially alleviate some headache related symptoms commonly experienced after a concussion or whiplash.
- Promoting Circulation: Chiropractic care is believed by some to enhance blood flow and the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, which aids in the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to other tissues throughout the body. Promoting circulation potentially supports the brain’s healing process following a mild traumatic injury.
- Managing Musculoskeletal Issues: Concussions can sometimes result in muscular imbalances, upper back and neck pain, and vertebral disc discomfort. Chiropractic adjustments, coupled with targeted exercises, may help restore these structural imbalances and alleviate bone or joint pain related to the injury.
Smart Pain Solutions adopts a multidisciplinary approach, serving as a valuable resource for maintaining health and wellness even after the concussion has subsided. Through integrated chiropractic care, addressing both physical and neurological aspects, our goal is to elevate overall well-being and set a higher standard for holistic healthcare in St. Louis.