With any impact to the head, it is obviously going to transfer a significant amount of force the neck. The uppermost part of the neck protects the brainstem at the top of the spinal cord, and injury to this area from whiplash-type injuries and/or knocks to the head can produce symptoms that are similar to a traumatic brain injury.
With approximately 24,000 cases of mild traumatic brain injury in NZ, this type of injury is fairly common. Most individuals recover in 7-10 days but some have persistent symptoms of dizziness, neck pain and/or headaches following a sport-related concussion. Interestingly, Dr Fairest said that “youth athletes may have more prolonged recovery and are more susceptible to a concussion accompanied by a catastrophic injury. The greater number, severity and duration of symptoms after a concussion are predictors of a prolonged recovery”.
If you know someone that has suffered from a concussion or significant impact to the head, it is well worth getting their neck function assessed. A proper assessment could identify dysfunction in the neck which may be a causative factor for some of the symptoms. This is especially important in someone who has prolonged symptoms, but I would suggest even if the symptoms are only short lived, it is beneficial to have an assessment. Dr Fairest said in the media release, “Although neck strengthening makes perfect sense after an injury to the neck or head, if joint function is compromised then neck strength is only one part of the very complex nature of concussive or sub-concussive injuries and whiplash”.
The good news is that research looking at a combination of cervical and vestibular therapy by chiropractors with post-graduate sports training, demonstrated earlier recovery by patients who underwent chiropractic care. Youths and young adults with persistent symptoms of dizziness, neck pain and/or headaches following a sport-related concussion were also able to return to sports sooner following chiropractic care.
Dr Fairest also adds, “Athletes should be aware that chiropractic care to restore the proper function of the spine and nervous system can help in the post-concussive situation and also in the maintenance of spinal function and optimum athletic performance”.
If you or your children or someone you know is suffering from a concussion or headaches and dizziness after a sports injury, it will be worthwhile to have their neck and nervous system checked. If it can help speed up their recovery and get them back playing sooner, it is going to be beneficial. If you would like to book in an assessment, please contact us here. We will be happy to help and your body will thank you for it.
- Leddy J, Baker J, Merchant A et al. Brain or Strain? Symptoms alone do not distinguish physiologic concussion from cervical/vestibular injury. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. 2015 May; 25(3): 237-242
- Marshall C, Vernon H, Leddy J, Baldwin B. The role of the cervical spine in post-concussion syndrome. Physician Sportsmedicine. 2015 Jul; 43(3): 274-284.
- Ellis M, Leddy J, Willer B. Physiological, vestibulo-ocular, and cervicogenic post-concussion disorders: an evidence-based classification system with directions for treatment. Brain Injury. 2015; 29(2): 238-248.
- The full media release was released 26 April 2017. For more information on the release:
Dr Cassandra Fairest, Chiropractor 021 242 3073 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Boyes 027 554 0500 or email@example.com