Concussions cause trauma to the brain and skull and also affect the upper spine. A chiropractor can evaluate concussion patients and provide necessary adjustments to align the upper cervical spine and minimize potential damage and side effects caused by concussions.
What happens to the brain during a concussion?
Dr. Gary Weinstein: The brain is encased in the cranial vault or our skull, and it is not really tethered in there, but floating there and surrounded by cerebral spinal fluid. In a concussion, there is trauma which can be either an impact to the skull, which then creates the jarring effect to the brain, where the brain actually just moves inside the skull and can actually be bruised, causing the concussion. Or it doesn’t have to be a direct impact. It can be a whiplash-type injury where the skull is whipped one way and then comes to a sudden stop and with another, again causing the concussion effect, as well.
If someone suffered a concussion, is it possible that they also injured their neck and spine?
Dr. Gary Weinstein: Absolutely. When there is enough force to cause a concussion, usually we do see an upper cervical, and even lower cervical, but primarily an upper cervical component to all the concussions, and we see this quite often. Now, there is another factor in dealing with concussions, dealing with the cervical spine, as well.
In our day and age, we are seeing a tremendous amount of forward head posture and loss of the cervical curve or cervical lordosis. That curve also acts as a shock absorber in there, as well. If there is a blow to the head and we have the skull sitting on a straight rod, which is the loss of cervical curve, that impact, everything is just jarred. Whereas if we have a normal cervical curve, then the impact and the blow and forces can also be absorbed by the cervical spine. It is very important not only to have the spine checked after a concussion, but to have a good cervical spine to prevent and help minimize the effects of the concussion, as well.
What are some symptoms of a spine injury that might overlap with concussion symptoms?
Dr. Gary Weinstein: Well, they go hand in hand, Liz. The symptoms that we see might be the dizziness. We might see fatigue. We might see headaches. We can have neck pain, as well. Now that isn’t always present. We can see that when a person closes their eyes, which is a test called Romberg’s test. When they stand up and close their eyes, they will start to wobble and move and they can’t find their direct relationship in space.
What that means is that there is a disconnect going on between the mechanoreceptors in the spine, primarily. There are also some in the musculature and ligaments, but primarily in the spine and the cerebellum. So, we don’t get the proper nerve impulses and messages to the cerebellum. The body can’t find itself in space. You open up your eyes, and all of a sudden you have all the input and you can do that, but those are some big neurological factors that oftentimes we see with a concussion that don’t clear out with just typical concussion medical protocol. But once you get that cervical spine moving properly, adjusted, restoration of the cervical curve, then we see everything working together and not only do we see the pain reduction, but the reduction of the concussion symptoms, as well.
Why should people visit a chiropractor if they suffer a concussion?
Dr. Gary Weinstein: Well, there is always, and Liz, I mean always, an upper cervical component when there is a concussion involved. If the patient wants to get back to normal function faster, seeing the chiropractor will speed up their recovery time tremendously. We do a tremendous concussion protocol here in our office. We work with a lot of kids, a lot of adults. I work with a lot of ex-professional football players. We are working with the old effects of concussions, as well. It is very important to not only see a concussion specialist if you choose to go that way, but a lot of people will come to our office as the concussions specialist that we are. As a matter of fact, we have had one of the local medical doctors, when his son had a concussion, this is where they brought him.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Gary Weinstein visit www.weinsteinchiro.com or call 412-269-0444 to schedule an appointment.