There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about concussion symptoms and traumatic brain injuries. Concussions can result from sports injuries, car accidents, whiplash, or falls.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, jolt to the head or a hit to the body. It causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth inside the skull. The rapid movement of the brain can create chemical changes in the brain. This can sometimes lead to damage of brain cells.
Concussion Symptoms and Signs
If you believe you have suffered a concussion, it is important to seek medical care. Traumatic brain injuries should always be taken seriously.
Signs and symptoms can be subtle and may not show up immediately. Or, they can be present upon impact. Post injury symptoms can last for days, weeks or even longer. You can still suffer from a concussion even if you do not lose consciousness upon impact.
Three common symptoms following a TBI are headache, loss of memory and confusion. The loss of memory usually involves forgetting the event that caused the concussion. This is referred to as amnesia.
Physical signs and symptoms of a concussion may include but are not limited to:
- Fencing Response
- Ringing in the ears
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Blurry vision
- Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness or blacking out
- Dizziness or “seeing stars”
Symptoms can last for days, weeks or sometimes even months. If your symptoms continue to persist after the expected recovery time, you might be suffering from post-concussion syndrome.
What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Persistent post-concussive symptoms, also called post-concussion syndrome, occur when concussion symptoms last beyond the expected recovery period. The persisting symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, and problems with concentration. They can also effect balance and memory.
Post-concussion syndrome is often the result of structural damage to the brain. It also results from disruption of the messaging system within the nervous system. Both of these disruptions are caused by the impact felt during the injury.
What is Fencing Response?
Fencing Response is when your arms go into an unnatural position following a traumatic brain injury. The arms go up in the air, either extended or flexed, when a person is knocked down. This is commonly seen when sports players are injured. They will typically be knocked down or knocked out following a hit.
Fencing response can be an early signal that the traumatic brain injury is serious. If a person exhibits the fencing response following impact, it is a sign the brain stem may have been reached. Doctors can use signs and symptoms like fencing response to indicate the severity of a concussion. Brain injuries cannot be detected on MRIs or CT scans.
What is Posturing?
Posturing is a more general term for abnormal postures in the body following a traumatic brain injury. Fencing response describes a certain position. Posturing responses positions following a traumatic brain injury can vary. There are two types of posturing responses: Decerebrate and Decorticate.
Decerebrate posture is when the arms and legs are out straight and rigid. The toes point downward and the head arches backward.
Decorticate posture is when the body is rigid and the arms are out straight. The fists are tight and the legs are straight out.
Both are serious indicators of injury to the brain and spinal cord. You should seek medical care immediately following any type of response.
What is Second Impact Syndrome?
Second Impact Syndrome, also known as repetitive head injury syndrome, is when a person sustains a second head injury before completely recovery from an initial head injury. This is typically seen in athletes who return to play before they have properly recovered from an initial head injury.
Second impact syndrome can have significant long-term effects on a person. It can cause severe, potentially life-threatening or permanent damage. To avoid second impact syndrome concussions need to be treated appropriately. They should taken seriously from the first impact.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help Concussion Symptoms
If you believe you have suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury, it is important to seek medical care immediately. You need to make sure there is no bleeding or swelling in the brain. A neurologist can diagnose and treat head and neck injuries. They will then coordinate medical management.
A chiropractor can help treat once you are cleared to begin rehabilitative therapy.
Once you have been cleared of any brain bleeding or swelling, the most important thing you can do is rest. Your brain needs time to rest, heal and reset. This means little to no stimulation at all. That includes any and all physical activity (even walking). You also shouldn’t read or have any screen time (tv, computer, phone).
A chiropractor can begin treatment for a neck injury once it has been established there is no cord swelling. Rehabilitative therapy can begin once the brain has healed.
Once a patient has been cleared they can begin working with a chiropractor to help minimize and treat post-concussion symptoms. A chiropractor will help treat your neck injury with a series of rehabilitative exercises. These work to re-strengthen your neck muscles.
They can also provide pain relieving treatment such as electric stimulation, dry needling or IASTM. These can treat musculoskeletal symptoms, such as muscle spasms, caused by the injury. Manual adjustments can be used to correct any movement intolerances in your neck. This can also help realign any imbalance caused by the injury.
The cervical muscles have an important role in many concussions. Appropriate care can help lessen headaches and post-concussion symptoms. Having a chiropractor as part of the concussion care team can help with recovery.
Get Treated at Kaizo Health
Our goal at Kaizo Health is to always get you back to feeling 100%. Our doctors provide treatment to help you be pain-free. We also have a dedicated team that will work with you and your insurance. We want to make sure you get the most from your benefits. You should experience relief for as little cost to you as possible. If you are ready to experience relief from the pain, make an appointment to see us now.
Kaizo Health offers locations in Rockville, MD; Landover, MD; Fort Washington, MD; and Fairfax, VA. Our doctors an evidence-based approach by combining chiropractic care and individualized rehabilitative exercises. We provide the treatment and resources you need to recover your health. We are here to help! If you’d like more information, check out our blog. You can also take our free virtual self-assessment on app here.