When you suffer a sudden bump or blow to the head, you may receive a concussion, a type of TBI caused by rapid movement forcing the brain to move back and forth rapidly inside your skull. That unnaturally abrupt motion can damage the brain, leading to changes on a chemical and/or cellular level.
Concussions range from mild to severe, with symptoms following a similar arc. Signs of a concussion include:
- Head pressure
- Blurry vision
- Confusion or mental fogginess
- Memory loss, particularly surrounding the event that caused the injury
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Trouble forming verbal responses
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Uncontrollable fatigue
- Sleep issues
- Problems with taste and smell
- Lack of concentration
- Mood swings and personality changes
- Sensitivity to light and noise
To help facilitate a fast, complete recovery, it’s crucial to seek medical treatment any time you have a head injury, but especially if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. Red flag symptoms, such as loss of consciousness, uneven pupils, difficulty walking, repeated vomiting, and excruciating headache or seizures, requires an immediate call to 999 or trip to the emergency room.
Conventional medicine focuses on two issues surrounding concussions: prevention and medicated management of symptoms. Both concerns are valid, especially the idea of prevention; wearing a helmet and other protective gear while playing sports helps prevent a TBI in the first place. It also helps ward off repeated brain injuries, the consequences of which can be increasingly catastrophic.
With chiropractic care, however, we take treatment one step further by addressing all the peripheral concerns caused by your concussion. Rather than throwing anti-inflammatories at your muscle pain or prescribing painkillers to quell migraines, we try to get to the root cause, which is often a dysfunction in the musculoskeletal or nervous systems.
Your spine is amazing. There are 33 vertebrae working hard to keep you upright and moving, including the ones at the very top holding your head in place. The force behind a traumatic brain injury or whiplash can knock those vertebrae out of place — even a misalignment as small as one-fourth of a millimetre could interrupt cellular communication and lead to a surprisingly robust list of symptoms.
Though your first stop for a suspected concussion can and should be an MD or other emergency room personnel, a doctor of chiropractic can help with everything from evaluation to management, especially in the long-term. Chiropractors are well-suited to concussion treatment, and have the knowledge and expertise to lend a helping hand.
Whether you receive ongoing chiropractic care for your concussion or not, there are three things that can help facilitate progress:
- Rest: Pushing yourself will only cause further stress and anxiety, neither of which is good for a brain trying its best to heal.
- Time: Once the immediate medical needs have been addressed, many concussion symptoms only resolve with time. Chiropractic helps the body function at its best, but nothing can outright cure a concussion.
- Patience: Rest and time can’t be rushed. Give your body a break and some extra love, and it’ll love you back.