When discussing post-concussion syndrome we first need to understand what concussion is. Concussion is defined as a traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function. Effects are usually temporary and can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination. It normally occurs from a blow to the head and in bad cases can cause loss of consciousness.
Some people may go their whole life without getting concussed, however many people do unfortunately suffer a blow to the head or other incidents resulting in a concussion; I myself having played rugby for over 10 years have had multiple concussions of varying severity and I can tell you it’s not enjoyable. The symptoms of concussion can vary in severity and how long they last. In most people, symptoms occur within the first 7 to 10 days and go away within 3 months. Sometimes, they can persist for a year or more. If the effects last past the normal expected recovery period then it is termed post-concussion syndrome.
Persistent post-concussive symptoms include:
- Loss of concentration and memory
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurry vision
- Noise and light sensitivity
- Rarely, decreases in taste and smell
Post-concussion syndrome is thought to be due to damage to the brain or nerve tissue as a result of the trauma. The central nervous system is made up of very sensitive nerve tissue and blood vessels making it susceptible to damage, and it can take a long time to fully recover. The severity of the trauma therefore may play a factor in post-concussion syndrome. If a trauma is more severe then there is potential for more damage to occur, therefore longer time needed to heal.
However the central nervous system tissue may not be the only area that was damaged in the trauma. The upper cervical joints are highly moveable and susceptible to misalignment. Something such as a head trauma or multiple micro-traumas are likely to cause misalignment of these joints.
The upper cervical spine is the gateway to the skull and therefore the brain. There are multiple delicate structures in this area that can be affected by misalignment of the vertebrae and could contribute to post-concussion syndrome. The vertebral arteries enter the skull and this point and have potential to be distorted by the misalignment; this change in blood flow into the brain could slow the healing process as nutrient rich blood is slowed in getting to the damaged areas of the brain.
Another major contributing factor related to the upper cervical misalignment is the change in cerebrospinal fluid flow around the brain. When there is misalignment of the upper cervical vertebrae this fluid cannot flow efficiently around the brain and can sometimes become static causing pressure around the brain. This stasis of the fluid inhibits nutrient delivery and waste product removal around the brain thus impacting normal function. The pressure generated can also contribute to the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome such as headaches.
As Upper Cervical Chiropractors we are trained to specifically analyse the upper cervical spine and locate these misalignments and correct them. When we are able to do so we find that over time with the right adjustment and the right time people recover from post-concussion syndrome.
If you have had a concussion or are suffering from post-concussion syndrome why not book a complimentary consultation phone call with us and find out how we can help!
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Case studies on Post-concussion syndrome and Upper Cervical Chiropractic