Mild traumatic brain injuries such as concussion or other head injuries that result from things like sports accidents, car accidents or even simply tripping in the home are very common. What many sufferers don't realise is that these injuries can have both dramatic long-term and short-term effects(1,2).
In fact research now suggests that 33% of people who suffer an event such as this will go on to develop post concussive syndrome or post concussion syndrome(3), which is involved with persistent symptoms. Long-term brain dysfunction such as dementia(4,5,6) and Parkinson's disease(6,7) are also associated with head trauma. It is thought that the trauma can create the conditions in the brain necessary to predispose people to these neurodegenerative conditions.
Post concussion syndrome is associated with a wide variety of symptoms. These can include things such as issues with spatial awareness, memory issues and having difficulty processing information. It is also associated with more common symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, headache and neck stiffness.(2)
The classic headache associated with concussion can be widespread affecting the top of the neck, the base of the skull, the forehead and temples. Vertigo and dizziness are also very common, as the delicate vestibular structures are predisposed to damage in head trauma. In addition the torsion forces placed upon the brainstem can also damage delicate brain tissues, producing many of the symptoms associated with post concussive syndrome.
How can we help mild traumatic brain injury?
At the Eastern Brain Centre we start with a detailed history and a thorough examination. We will ask you about things such as the frequency, duration and intensity of your symptoms, as well as things that aggravate them or make them better.
We will take a look at your previous medical history as well as any medications and supplements that you're taking. We’ll also take a thorough history on your neurological system and the functions associated with it. Depending on the case we will typically spend between 20 and 40 minutes just asking you about your condition.
After that we will do a detailed examination, Including many functional neurological tests. At the conclusion of your examination we will normally be in a position to tell you what is going on, and what we're able to do about. Occasionally however some further testing is necessary, and if this is the case we will discuss it with you. Clearly we cannot help everyone and if your case is unlikely to be assisted by our treatment we will discuss this with you along with your further options.
Our treatment varies considerably depending on your particular situation. These are primarily centred around a treatment known as vestibular rehabilitation which has been shown to be effective in treating the vertigo and dizziness aspects(8), but our care also includes nutritional advice and physical therapies for any musculoskeletal involvement.(9) Even though we are chiropractors, our treatment often differs dramatically from a typical chiropractic consultation. As such you should not discount the possibility that we may be able to help you even if you have had chiropractic, osteopathic, or physiotherapy treatment in the past.
(1) Dean, P.J.A. and A. Sterr, Long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injury on cognitive performance. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2013. 7: p. 30.
(2) What are the Potential Effects of TBI? 2016 May 23, 2016 [cited 2016 8th Sept 2016]; Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/outcomes.html.
(3) Leddy, J.J., et al., Rehabilitation of Concussion and Post-concussion Syndrome. Sports Health, 2012. 4(2): p. 147-54.
(4) Costanza, A., et al., Review: Contact sport-related chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the elderly: clinical expression and structural substrates. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol, 2011. 37(6): p. 570-84.
(5) Fallis, J., Physicians must be brought up to speed on concussion risks. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2012. 184(2): p. E113-E114.
(6) Guskiewicz, K.M., et al., Association between Recurrent Concussion and Late-Life Cognitive Impairment in Retired Professional Football Players. Neurosurgery, 2005. 57(4): p. 719-726.
(7) Harris, M.A., et al., Head injuries and Parkinson's disease in a case-control study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2013.
(8) Alsalaheen, B.A., et al., Vestibular rehabilitation for dizziness and balance disorders after concus Stewart, G.W., et al.,
(9) Comprehensive assessment and management of athletes with sport concussion. Int J Sports Phys Ther, 2012. 7(4): p. 433-47. sion. J Neurol Phys Ther, 2010. 34(2): p. 87-93.