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Concussion Recovery: The Role of Chiropractic Care



A concussion, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is a “traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.” The CDC estimates that 1.6 to 3.8 million Americans experience concussions during sports and recreational activities each year. However, these numbers may be underestimated, as many cases are likely never reported.  Every suspected concussion should be considered a serious injury and be evaluated by a trained medical professional. 

What Actually Happens During a Concussion? 

A concussion can occur when the brain is shaken, either from an incident where the head is directly hit or during rapid movement such as whiplash. This can cause an unpredictable impact on the brain and result in changes to the brain’s function. Each concussion and the resulting symptoms are unique, so it’s crucial to undergo a comprehensive medical exam to determine a tailored treatment plan.

Who Can Get a Concussion?

When many people hear the term “concussion,” their thoughts often turn to athletes involved in high-impact sports. But concussions don’t only occur among athletes. In fact, older adults are prone to concussions, often as the result of a head impact from a fall or loss of balance. Many times, older adults don’t mention falls to their medical providers or family, so being aware of outward symptoms is vital.

What are the Symptoms of a Concussion?

Unlike a broken bone or joint replacement surgery, concussions can’t be “seen,” so being aware of the symptoms is important for everyone.

Physical symptoms:

  • Difficulty sleeping or increased sleepiness
  • Difficulty with balance and coordination
  • Dizziness or blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Headache 
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light and sound

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Confusion or fogginess
  • Delayed or slowed thought processing 
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty with short- or long-term memory

Emotional symptoms:

  • Feelings of anxiety or depression
  • Irritability or aggression
  • Lethargy 
  • Mood swings

Symptoms may be present immediately after the initial incident or hours to weeks later. A team of healthcare providers including a chiropractor can address many of these symptoms. 

Treatment of Concussions with Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors understand the physical, mental, and emotional complexities of concussions. They’re specially trained to identify the extent of symptoms and any accompanying musculoskeletal pain present. They’ll then create a treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs.

While some research in the past called for a “rest in a dark room” approach, recent research has indicated this may result in a significantly slower return to normal function. Current concussion care models emphasize a multi-disciplinary approach. Chiropractors can work alongside your physician team to help manage your unique symptoms and identify what kinds of activity (and how much) can safely aid recovery.  

Some of the treatment options may be focused on: 

  • Addressing dizziness and improving balance
  • Myofascial or muscle treatments
  • Reducing headaches
  • Rest and recovery
  • Restoring strength and endurance
  • Spinal adjustments

We’re Here to Help

Chiropractors are movement experts that can work in tandem with your physician to assess symptoms of a concussion. They’ll provide a safe and personalized recovery program to help you resume your normal activities. Chiropractors work alongside your physician to improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed exercises.

To learn more about concussions or to schedule an evaluation, contact your nearest MCR Chiropractic location.

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