Sports concussions are a growing concern for athletes of all ages, particularly as research continues to reveal the long-term affects of this class of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although they fall on the less severe end of the TBI spectrum, mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions from sports activities affect as many as 3.8 million Americans each year, with only half of them being reported to a health care professional.
Lack of reporting is believed to be due to the fact that closed-head injuries often have no bleeding or loss of consciousness, so symptoms are not always obvious. In fact, they may not appear until hours or days after impact. But failing to seek treatment or take the proper time to heal before returning to activity puts an athlete at risk for future concussions and potentially life-long complications.
Because March is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month, it’s a great time to focus on concussions and how chiropractic can help in recovery.
Concussions result from a direct blow or impact to the head or another bodily injury with enough force to cause the brain to rapidly move back and forth within the skull. Often the impact is great enough to cause a misalignment in the cervical spine, which adds to pain and symptoms and complicates recovery.
For this reason chiropractors can be a valuable resource in the evaluation and diagnosis of sports-related concussions and other mild traumatic brain injuries.
Chiropractors helping patients with sports-related head and neck pain are trained to notice signs of brain injury even when a patient is unsure if they’ve suffered a concussion, allowing them to begin immediate concussion protocol.
Common symptoms of a concussion include:
* Cognitive Impairment (memory loss, confusion, focus issues)
* Dizziness, loss of balance
* Nausea and/or vomiting
* Drowsiness/changes in sleeping patterns
* Depression, emotional lability
* Sensory difficulties (trouble with noise and light)
* Neck Pain
Depending on the severity of injury, some of these symptoms will go away on their own with time, rest, and limited exposure to screens and other harsh sensory stimulation. However, many people with mild TBI have difficulty returning to daily activities for weeks or even months. Repeat concussions can lengthen the recovery even further.
Through manipulation of the cervical spine, chiropractic can often offer immediate relief for headaches, neck pain, and associated discomfort in the extremities due to spinal misalignment from concussions. It’s low risk, safe for all ages, and effective in the treatment of sports related concussions and head trauma.
If you participate in a sport or other activity where concussions are a risk, talk to us about how chiropractic can help you both prevent and manage head trauma.