Chiropractors are often one of the first practitioners a patient will see following a motor vehicle accident, sports injury or other acute trauma. They are often also one of the practitioners seen for help with associated conditions (eg musculoskeletal issues) after suffering months of chronic post-traumatic concussion syndrome (1).
Concussion is a brain injury defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces. Subtle findings of head injury may be missed in emergency settings because of time constraints or because symptoms and signs have a late onset of presentation. This is true of low-grade brain injury and hematomas, which may have serious complications later. Symptoms of brain injury can be delayed. Therefore, because an emergency department or other medical provider “cleared” a patient, it does not mean that brain injury is not present. Therefor it is wise to see a chiropractor to have a thorough history and examination if you have suffered recent history of head trauma (2).
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reported that over a one-year period (2016-2017) non-sport related concussion (non-SRC) accounted for the majority (74%) of all brain injuries presenting to emergency departments in Ontario and Alberta, with sport-related concussions (SRCs) therefore only being responsible for the remaining 26%. With that in mind, the CIHI also reported that the number of emergency department visits for SRC has increased by almost 28% over the last five years (1).
In 1993, Dalby presented a narrative review of chiropractic management of head trauma, such as that occurring from car accidents, sports, or other injuries. The article explains neuromusculoskeletal conditions that patients experience after head injury are those that chiropractors help manage, such as headache, vertigo, neck pain, and back pain (3).
There is evidence describing chiropractic care is beneficial for the management of concussion with multi-modal treatment plans. This may include sub-symptomatic threshold exercise, vestibulo-ocular rehabilitation, spinal manipulation, soft-tissue therapy, and dietary modification during the management of both sport and non-sport related concussion (3).
If you or someone you know has experienced a head injury or symptoms post head injury, call us or message us on Facebook to see whether we can help you!
1. Dalby BJ. Chiropractic diagnosis and treatment of closed head trauma. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 1993 Jul-Aug;16(6):392-400.
2. Ellis MJ, Leddy J, Cordingley D, Willer B. A Physiological Approach to Assessment and Rehabilitation of Acute Concussion in Collegiate and Professional
Athletes. Front Neurol. 2018;9:1115. Published 2018 Dec 20. doi:10.3389/fneur.2018.01115
3. Germann D, Marshall C, Kazemi M. Multi-modal management of sport and non-sport related concussion by chiropractic sports specialists: a case series. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2020;64(3):214-226.
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