Concussion, a form of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), is a leading public health problem, with an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million sport-related concussions each year in the United States. The majority of patients with sport-related concussion recover within a 7- to 10-day period. Persistence of symptoms beyond the generally accepted time frame for recovery may represent a prolonged concussion or may herald the development of post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
If you have been having symptoms for more than a few weeks, it is smart to be proactive. Research recommends initial cognitive rest, but you need to actively treat the problem at this point. It is a stressful time and you need answers. This is when you need to be working with someone who specializes in concussion rehabilitation.
We See Post-Concussion Syndrome Patients
As a Functional Neurologist, I regularly see post-concussion syndrome patients who are seeking answers and appropriate treatment. It’s essential that they have the proper testing done to evaluate all the potential areas of their brain that may be affected by the concussion. These areas are not limited to the cognitive areas of the brain tested by a neurocognitive test such as IMPACT, but also the areas that affect balance, equilibrium, blood flow to the brain itself and other vital functions. Very often a concussion sufferer will pass a neurocognitive test such as IMPACT, meaning the cognitive areas of the brain are functioning well, but they may still have serious deficits in other areas causing their symptoms. If a player goes back to play with these deficits and functioning at less than 100% there is a greater chance that they will get hurt again.
Head injuries that result in concussion often are associated with injury to the neck and spine. Joint dysfunction may further impair brain function, when the nerves in the neck that fire back to the brain are not working well. If necessary spinal therapies may include: Biomechanical Chiropractic care and Core Stability Exercises designed to correct a poorly aligned spine and to strengthen the muscles that support the structure of the spine.
The goal is to evaluate and examine the systems most commonly affected by the injury – eye movement system and balance system. Any irregularities in these areas will cause prolonged symptoms. We also need to see if your chemistry is impacting the brain in a negative way, so we do blood, urine and stool testing.
Once we understand what is happening, a treatment plan is created and we work to aggressively rehabilitate the body and brain to restore normal function.
Therapy regimens may include: