Concussions – Traumatic Brain Injury and Chiropractic
Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury
When someone suffers a head injury, a lot of questions immediately arise. Is this a concussion or traumatic brain injury? Is this an emergency? What do we need to do right now? What do we need to do to recover long term? Do I need to stop playing sports, school, or work? What type of doctor is best for concussion testing and traumatic brain injury? Is there any permanent damage or loss of function?
All of these questions arise and a lot of conflicting information around them makes it hard to navigate in a stressful time. There are several common concussion tests, some measure the structure of the brain and surrounding tissue with imaging, some measure neurological function, and some measure cognitive function, mental capacity and memory. While we can often see signs of a concussion during these tests, without having the same test prior to the trauma, we can appear normal because it still falls in an acceptable range but it is actually decreased compared to before the injury.
Most people don’t realize that most emergency rooms, urgent care facilities, and even neurologists are not regularly trained to recognize and treat concussions. With these being the main places a person will be taken after a suspected concussion, a lot of concussions and traumatic brain injuries go undiagnosed, unrecognized, and untreated. This can lead to long term damage and incomplete recovery from some pretty serious head trauma.
In our Carlsbad chiropractic office, we recommend anyone playing sports or involved in activities that could lead to concussion to have preliminary concussion testing done, so if a traumatic event happens we can compare to the earlier baseline testing. We do a very detailed consultation to identify changes since the injury and cognitive deficits. We also measure things like balance, cranial nerve function, reflexes, nerve function, and spine function. Often times patients with whiplash or head trauma will also have neck pain and subluxations of the cervical spine (misalignment and biomechanical dysfunction). This can seriously complicate the long term recovery of the damaged brain.
If we identify a brain injury, we do a detailed evaluation to determine the best concussion treatment. This involves short and long term goals and progress reevaluations to measure the level of improvement over time. When subluxations of the cervical spine are involved with a concussion, a chiropractor must be involved to ensure the best recovery, as they are the only provider that treats subluxations. An example of the importance of this would be that an atlas subluxation can seriously alter blood supply and cerebral spinal fluid flow to the head, which is the main way the brain is going to heal itself from a traumatic brain injury. Without normal fluid flow, the brain has to deal with the original damage plus a loss of oxygen and nutrients at a very crucial time. Without a chiropractor on the team, a much worse outcome is likely in this case.
If you suspect a concussion or want to have baseline measurements due to the possibility of future concussions, please feel free to schedule a no charge consultation with one of our doctors.
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