Categories Concussions

Blair Upper Cervical Care and Post-Concussion Syndrome

When I think of post-concussion syndrome the first thing that flashes through my mind is sports injuries. Football players, hockey players, and downhill ski racers are just a few of the athletes frequently suffering from this condition. 

Medically speaking, patients who have concussions are told that the brain is injured due to rebounding off of the skull. The quick acceleration and deceleration from hitting the head on the field, the ice, or hard-packed snow is like putting your sandwich in a plastic lunch box and shaking it up. 

While the initial injury indeed may damage brain tissue, it is this doctor’s belief that there is more to this story than the brain injury itself. I would like for you to hear what some patients are saying about Upper Cervical care and post-concussion syndrome. 

Afterward, I would like to explain why anyone who has had a concussion should not only be seeking medical care but, should also consult a doctor who is specially trained to assess the role that the upper two bones in the neck have on overall body health. Even how they can be a main player in the symptoms that someone feels long after a concussion.

Skull and Upper Cervical Care Spine Alignment In order to understand why the upper neck is a region to be reckoned with in these injuries is simple: the head weighs on average 10-13 pounds and it rests on the first bone in the neck that weighs 2 ounces. 

While wonderfully engineered by nature this region of the spine is precariously built and it is susceptible to structural damage when an injury big enough to cause concussion results. What makes this part of human anatomy important and why should someone who has had a concussion seek the help of an upper cervical doctor?

Your brainstem is the part of the central nervous system that is responsible for controlling most of the functions in the body you do not operate: blood pressure, muscle tone regulation, thermoregulation, cardiac function, respiratory function, and more. 

Your brainstem is literally what runs the show neurologically speaking. Because of its proximity to the atlas and axis(first two cervical vertebrae), it should be an area of focus for those that have sustained head injuries.

Not only does the brain receive damage but the upper cervical spine structure is also damaged from quick, sudden changes in acceleration and deceleration. More specifically speaking, when someone sustains a head injury, the cervical spine joints, which are protected by a ligament called a joint capsule, can tear, lose their proper alignment, and their normal motion. 

When the joints in the upper cervical spine are injured, it predisposes the body to adapt structurally. Usually, the normal cervical curvature is lost, and in more severe cases, reverses. Over time this causes tensile stress on the spinal cord and brainstem. 

This postural fault causes the body to malfunction, and, because the brainstem controls most basic functions in the body, it can lead to a whole host of health problems that are commonly referred to as ‘post-concussion syndrome. Post-Concussion Syndrome: How Chiropractors Can Help

We routinely see people who have been in traumas that predate their chronic health issues. Unfortunately, many of these people suffer for years before they find help. If you know someone who has been in head trauma and is suffering years later with headaches, cognitive fog, insomnia, short-term memory problems, tinnitus, and other symptoms that just won’t seem to go away, it may be that their upper neck is at fault.

Categories Concussions

Concussion Remedies at our Spine Center

I want to talk to you guys about concussions, the nerve system, as well as the spinal structure. Maybe you’ve suffered from a concussion, maybe you’ve just felt the symptoms, and maybe that concussion was maybe unreported. What research says is out of one of every two concussions, unfortunately, one of those is not reported or it’s just missed. A lot of times, most people don’t have the same symptoms.

Everyone’s brain is different. Everyone’s nervous system is different. Maybe you’re experiencing headaches when someone else might not be experiencing headaches, maybe drowsiness may be extremely tired, maybe you just never feel rested, maybe even some emotional outbursts, maybe angry, unhappy, just irritable, maybe some depression, anxiety. Here’s the thing. The brain is an amazing, amazing sponge. If that has been jostled and it takes 160 Gs force to cause that concussion of the brain sloshing, maybe on the front, the back, the size of the skull, damaging the skull.

But here’s the other thing most people don’t know. If it takes 160 Gs of force to damage that brain and slosh it around. That’s a lot of force, right? Did you know it only takes 4.5 Gs of force to damage and injures the neck? Here’s the thing. When you have a concussion, you also have an injury to the neck. Now here’s the thing. What do you think is going to be better? Maybe also fixing the neck, correcting the neck to help that concussion? Absolutely. The two for one special.

The reason why I know this is because, at 18, I actually was listed as brain-damaged from multiple concussions. I had eight concussions in 10 years. And that was due to soccer. I was a soccer goalie. Now what I learned from that is every time I had a concussion, it actually took longer and longer to heal, that concussion symptoms would last longer and longer and longer. Unfortunately, my last one did list me as brain-damaged, but what I found was I found a chiropractor.

He started working on my neck to make sure the proper communication can go from the brain to the body, as well as the body back up to the brain. And simply put, he looked and focused most of his attention on the upper cervical region. Because here’s the thing. The brainstem is actually housed and protected in these top two bones. If they are shifted, twisted, contorted, you actually have a double whammy. You’ve now put pressure onto that brainstem that can’t communicate for that brain back and forth.

Because here’s the thing. When the brain communicates or heals, it needs that brainstem. It doesn’t just communicate side to side or back to front. A message will start in the brain, travel back to that brainstem, and then back up to the brain. If that bone’s shifted and twisted and pulls on that brainstem, what do you think happens to that message? That message might get misinterpreted. Maybe that healing message gets misinterpreted.

And then unfortunately over time, that concussion symptoms last longer and longer and longer. A lot of times concussions can happen from many different activities. A lot of times we see that with sports. Unfortunately, boys, when they play football, that’s most common. Female soccer is the second most common. And men’s ice hockey is actually the third most common. What we also know is two out of every 10 high school athletes will, unfortunately, have a concussion this year. We play very contact sports.

Categories Concussions

Post-Concussion Syndrome – The Real Reasons

Fall is right here upon us. We’re rolling into a heavy football season and soccer, and so we have a lot of kids, even adults, who come into us after they’ve had some sort of blow to the head, or possibly a concussion. Now, the thing that’s important to note is that if you take a blow to the head that is strong enough to create a concussion, then there’s a very, very good likelihood that there’s a much bigger problem actually below the brain, which is in the upper part of the neck.

    Think about this: a concussion…what happens is there’s a blow to the head that’s strong enough that the brain actually slams into the skull and actually bruises the brain itself. Well, if there’s enough force to sling that brain back and forth you can imagine, this is the neck. If there’s that kind of force, you can imagine what that would do to the position of the bones underneath it. We have a 10–12-pound head sitting on top of a bone that weighs about three ounces, so that type of blow to the head is enough to bruise the brain. It’s more than likely going to reposition some of the bones in the top of the neck. 

    This is very important because, with post-concussion syndrome, most of the time the brain is healed, but now they’re still having symptoms. They’re having headaches, maybe sometimes dizziness, sometimes foggy headedness, they can’t concentrate, have potential neck pain, and severe headaches is usually the biggest symptom, but what’s happening is there’s something more frequently underneath that has interfered with the brainstem. The lower part of the brain comes down into the top two bones of the neck, and that’s interfering with blood flow, cerebral spinal flow, and even how the brain works itself. 

    If you have ever had a concussion and you still have post-concussion syndrome, and you still have symptoms lingering as a result, then it only makes sense to just get this part of the area, this part of your neck, checked out because most of the time what we have found is they have a severe misalignment here that will happen at the same time as the injury, but they lump it into “Oh, it’s still the brain healing.” Well, it’s not because usually within two to three months most of those concussion symptoms have cleared up. If you’re having lingering symptoms as a result, there’s a very good likelihood there’s a problem at the top of your neck that has created it.

    If you have ever had any kind of blow to the head or any kind of concussion, it’s always a good idea to get that area checked. If you have a child that may have had an injury, then always follow up with an upper cervical doctor just to double check to see if there’s a problem there. If there’s not, hey great, we ruled it out. If there is, if left uncorrected over time, it can create bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger problems throughout the entire spine, and the entire body as a result.