Common Myths About Concussions and How a Chiropractor Can Help Your Recovery

By September 6, 2022Blog

Micaela Dickhof DC, BKin 

What is a concussion? 

A direct or indirect brain injury that results from acceleration to the brain and causes temporary energy deficits to cells in the brain. An MRI or CT scan will likely show normal results because there isn’t a structural change to the brain itself, but rather a functional one. 

Signs and symptoms range from:

  • Physical 
    • Headaches
    • Neck Pain 
    • Dizziness 
    • Visual deficits – blurry vision, double vision
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Sensitivity to sound
    • Balance impairments 
    • Nausea/Vomiting 
  • Mental 
    • Difficulty focusing or changing tasks 
    • Memory changes or impairments 
    • Fogginess
  • Emotional 
    • Irritability, sadness, nervousness
    • Anxiety/Depression 
    • Altered behaviour 
    • Feeling “off” 
  • Sleep Disturbances 
    • Sleeping more
    • Sleeping less 
    • Difficulty falling asleep 

Common Myths 

  • You have to hit your head to sustain a concussion. 

Concussions may actually be caused by direct blow to the head, face, neck, or other body regions which transmits force indirectly to the brain. Concussions can occur during sport-related activities but are more commonly from non-sport related pursuits such as car accidents or falls. 

  • Concussions always have a rapid onset of symptoms.

Symptoms may be immediate but can also develop over hours or days later. It is important to monitor yourself or get a family member to check in with you frequently. 

  • You should rest in a dark room until symptoms have decreased.

While rest is important in the first few days, especially to avoid a second significant impact to the head or body, exercise is medicine when it comes to concussions! In general, your first two days should be relative rest – cognitive (take time away from school or work), physical (don’t overexert the body with intensive workouts) and emotional (reduce stress and process the injury). Brief walks, time outside, minimal screen time and a visit to your preferred health care provider for a proper assessment is a great place. 

Chiropractic Treatment 

Treatment from a chiropractor will depend on your symptoms but may include some or all of the following:

  • Manual manipulation of the muscles, also called soft tissue care, causing pain and mobility issues.  The goal with this therapy is to assist your body in recovering it’s normal range of motion, function, and help reduce pain.
  • Joint mobilizations and/or manipulation of the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (midback) and shoulders through to restore proper range of motion, decrease tension and improve nervous system function 
  • Treatment for headaches – the goal is to decrease the frequency, duration, and intensity
  • Individualized cognitive and/or visual rehabilitation programming
  • Balance exercises 
  • Education – our hope is to support your goals, whether that’s returning to work, sport or play!  Understanding your injury, knowing what to do at home, when to push forward and when to relax is key. 

Sources:  Complete Concussion Management 2022.  2017 Berlin Consensus Statement on Concussion. 

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