Welcome to our conversation about concussions and how chiropractic may provide potential treatment options for these signs and symptoms related to brain injuries. 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 St. Louis and beyond. In this blog, we will explore what concussions are, their mechanisms, and how Smart Pain Solutions contributes to the healing process.
Concussions, similar to whiplash, commonly occur when a forceful collision of the head or upper 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 a disruption of normal brain function. Concussions not only cause neurological interferences, but disruptions within the body, resulting in symptoms such as 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 chiropractors 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, and 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 in 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. During the acute symptomatic phase, the use of pain medication should be avoided and screen time should be kept to a minimum. A majority of medications already interfere with normal brain signaling, and prolonged exposure to blue light disrupts cognitive function.
Should you find yourself repeatedly experiencing any of these “Red Flags” listed below, it’s crucial to promptly consult other health care specialists like a neurologist or primary care physician.
- 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, this may lead to aberrant motion, joint, and disc inflammation within the cervical spine. Through gentle adjustments, chiropractors at Smart Pain Solutions aim to restore motion within the spine, potentially reducing tension, inflammation, and pain in the head and neck. Chiropractic care 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 concussion or motor vehicle accident.
- 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.
Our chiropractors at Smart Pain Solutions use a multidisciplinary approach to manage concussions and other conditions related to the spine. Smart Pain Solutions of St. Louis serves as a valuable resource for the maintenance of health and wellness even after the concussion has subsided. Through the integration of chiropractic, targeting both the physical and neurological aspects of injury, our primary goal is to elevate the overall sense of well-being and standard of holistic healthcare for our patients.