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Concussions - Can Chiropractic Help?

Can Chiropractic Care help with Concussions?


Thankfully, with widespread media coverage of post-concussion syndromes and the risk of repeated brain trauma, concussion protocols are being followed much more closely these days. Concussions occur when the brain is violently shaken within the skull, causing bruising to the brain tissue. This can cause interference with brain activity which leads to one or more of a predictable set of “concussion symptoms”: ringing in the ears, loss of consciousness, dizziness, nausea, or confusion.

It is imperative to reduce the risk of further injuring the brain by following post concussion protocols. After immediate removal from play, the following protocol progression should be followed in order to accommodate brain tissue healing and cognitive recovery:

1. Full cognitive rest for 24-48hr - no social activity, glowing screens, or reading until symptoms subside
2. Light aerobic exercise
3. Sport-specific exercise
4. Non contact training drills
5. Full contact practice
6. Return to normal game-play

Each step in the progression is to be followed for at least 24 hours. If symptoms return, the previous step is to be repeated for an additional 24hr before progressing to the next step.

So where does chiropractic come in? The answer is disconcerting to proponents of chiropractic, but in pursuit of intellectual honesty, here it is: There isn’t good evidence to support that adjusting can help speed an athlete’s progression through the protocols listed above.

There is an upside: if your team trainer is a chiropractor, you’re in good hands. Chiropractors have thousands of hours of training in assessment of the head and neck, areas that are commonly injured alongside a concussion. Chiropractors also use important grading and assessment tools in order to evaluate a concussed athlete such as the SCAT3.

If you are on the wrong side of an on-field collision, or are in a car accident and find yourself with a mild traumatic brain injury, get assessed by a chiropractor or other qualified person, and follow the protocol!



NOTES:

These protocols are adapted from the Consensus statement on concussion in sport-the 5th international conference on concussion in sport, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, June 2017.

The title photo is a scan of an image from Charlton, B. H. (1869). pub. New York : D. Appleton and Company,  Brain as an organ of mind. p. 469

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