If you’ve suffered a concussion, our Oakville chiropractor can help! Whether the concussion was caused by a sport, a workplace accident or a car accident, the recovery process can be complex. Dr. Steve and Dr. Jenn can help guide you through concussion recovery and get you back to your regular activities. Our Oakville Chiropractors are highly trained in concussion treatment and diagnoses.
How many times have you watched an athlete take a huge hit and not return for the rest of the game? Our Oakville chiropractors are seeing more concussions then ever before. These days, with athletes being bigger and stronger than ever before, it happens regularly. NHL athletes have to spend a few minutes in the quiet room since the program was implemented in 2011. The NFL has had a specific concussion protocol to protect their athletes since 2009. However, its not just contact sports that result in concussions. Our chiropractors get Volleyball players who get smacked in the head with balls all the time, more often during practice than in a game. Baseball pitchers can get hit in the head with a ball hot off the bat. Athletes who slip and fall during their sport can experience whiplash and a resultant concussion. The mechanisms of injury can differ, but if the head get whipped or impacted, a concussion may result. Think you or a loved one might have a concussion ? Get in today to see our Chiropractors.
What Is A Concussion
Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries, and they (unfortunately) have cumulative effects. Concussions are caused by blows/impact to the head and/or body that cause the head to aggressively jerk back and forth. These injuries cause the brain to knock against the skull and this sets off a whole cascade of changes in the brain. Our brains are surrounded by a fluid that protects them from softer impacts, but when the forces get to be higher the protective cushion does not work as well.
When a concussion occurs, there are some structures in the brain that swell and break. Blood vessels contract and create a decrease in blood flow. The chemicals of the brain become unbalanced and start to wreak havoc on how the brain functions. It can be a real mess. Get in early and often to see our Oakville Chiropractor for Concussion treatment before its too late.
These injuries will temporarily affect brain functioning. The symptoms can be quite widespread and don’t always follow a linear path to recovery. Sometimes a concussed individual feels fine, but when they are forced to pay attention and focus, symptoms can worsen. It is important that the symptoms are never disregarded, because this is an injury that can’t be fixed by ignoring it.
How Do Concussions Occur?
Concussions are one of the most common injuries in sport. In today’s society they are being talked about more often, with injuries suffered by athletes in the NHL and NFL shedding light on the impact these injuries have on daily life, and the potential negative consequences they can have long term.
Just because sport is a common cause, doesn’t mean it’s the only cause. Bicycle accidents, car accidents, severe whiplash injuries, falls and physical fights can all cause concussions. Any time the head or body is impacted enough to shake the head, there is a possibility of concussion.
Our Oakville chiropractors treat athletes and people who have been in car accidents every day. Concussion injuries can range from mild to severe, and they are not injuries that should be messed around with. In our experience, concussion symptoms are wildly misunderstood. Some symptoms of concussion include:
- Noise Sensitivity
- Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears)
- Blurry Vision
- Double Vision
- Balance and Coordination Difficulty
- Trouble Focusing on TV screens/Tablets/Phones
- Sleep Disturbance
- Short Term Memory Problems
- Mood Changes
- Quickly Fluctuating Emotions
- Difficulty Concentrating
Concussion Management Oakville
Managing a concussion can be really frustrating. Even when the individual feels like they have recovered, trying to get back to regular activities can be a challenge. Our Oakville Chiropractic clinic works across all levels of the medical community to keep both the doctors and the patients informed. Concussions affect the brain, and we need our brain for every single thing we do. It’s a tough body part to rest, and rest is what’s needed the most. The guidelines also recommend that you mix in some light physical activity. Not an intense 5km run, but some easy cardiovascular exercise where you’d be able to maintain a conversation and not be completely out of breath.
Returning to work and play can be difficult. Following a period of rest, that can be determined as a collaboration between you and your doctor, the return to activity should be gradual and should always respect the symptoms ( ie – if you go back to work and you feel terrible afterwards, you need more time off).
Loud noise and bright light can over-stimulate the brain and leave a concussed person feeling sick. Screen-time should be limited. Reading should be limited. Concentrating and problem solving should be limited. Anything that makes the brain work too hard…you guessed it…should be limited.
Sleep can be disturbed, but sleep is really important! Try to manage your bed time, keep the sleep routines the same and avoid caffeine to ensure your brain gets the sleep it needs. Focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet. Recovering from a concussion can be pretty boring, especially for teenagers who live off of sports, video games and TV. Remember that a concussion is a brain injury, and not something that should be taken lightly!
Treatment Options for Concussion in Oakville
At Nottinghill Family Wellness Centre we have many options for treatment. Our chiropractors, Dr. Steve and Dr. Jenn, have a number of different treatment options to help relieve the muscle and joint pain that can be related to a concussion injury.
Chiropractic Concussion Treatment
Concussion injuries involve a blow to the head or neck, so they often go hand-in-hand with injuries to the neck. The muscles and joints can become sore, restricted and tight. Our chiropractors are experts in dealing with spinal pain from sport, and therefore chiropractic is an excellent option for the neck and/or whiplash experienced after a concussion injury. Spinal adjustments and mobilizations can help get stiff joints moving again. It will help your head and neck feel lighter, and help restore your full range of motion.
Chiropractic appointments will also include the use of electrical modalities to help relax tight muscles and ease pain. In addition, hot and cold therapy can be applied to help reduce inflammation, relieve pain and promote healing.
Our Oakville chiropractors will also prescribe some home exercises to help get you better faster! Neck stretches will help you regain your range of motion and help decrease headache frequency. Specific neck exercises will help strengthen your neck and get you back to your normal routine quickly!
Acupuncture Treatment for Concussion
After suffering a concussion, muscles in the back of the head and neck can become very tight. We treat these injuries at our Oakville acupuncture clinic all the time! Whiplash injuries can be suffered in conjunction with a concussion, and acupuncture is a great option for treating neck pain. Inserting needles into sore and tight musculature can help them relax, and can significantly reduce pain. Acupuncture treatment for whiplash injuries is included as part of a regular chiropractic visit, and can be an excellent option for improving function and eliminating pain caused by a head injury.
Headaches are also a common occurrence with a concussion. If the headaches are caused by the joints of the head and neck, or by the muscles around the head and neck, acupuncture can help treat those headaches too! In addition to treating the muscles directly, there are special headache acupuncture points to treat headaches specifically!
Returning To School/Work
Not all concussions require a break from school or work, but some definitely do. It is very important that you check with a healthcare provider before you try and return to your regular activities. Some concussion symptoms take a day or two to show up, so don’t rush yourself back into your normal routine. If you, or your child, needs to take some time away from school, keep in mind that even if homework is sent home, it can be detrimental to recovery. Thinking is still thinking even if it’s not taking place in a classroom. It may be necessary to only attend school for a half day, take breaks, have a designates quiet room to finish tasks and avoid noisy areas (like the cafeteria).
So why isn’t it a good idea to return to work/school right away? This is your brain we’re talking about. Injuries to your brain should not be taken lightly. Any time you need to think, concentrate, read, follow along in a meeting or answer a question in school, you’re using your brain. The brain is a hard thing to rest, but rest is what it needs to recover. If you are feeling fine, but after a work/school day are starting to feel unwell or have noticed a worsening of your symptoms, then it is probably time to take a break.
Returning To Sports
A big portion of the concussion population is athletes. Athletes are always eager to return to their sport. We get it. What some people don’t understand is that returning to sport too quickly can be really dangerous. We aren’t keeping you away from your sport to be mean, we’re doing it because it’s in your best interest.
If your brain is already experiencing an energy crisis, or is inflamed, a second injury can be catastrophic. Second Impact Syndrome is a second injury to the brain that occurs before the first one has a chance to recover completely. The scary part about this condition, is that when the brain is already more fragile than normal, it only takes a fraction of the initial impact force to cause more problems. This can be fatal, which is why proper concussion management is so important.
There is a very specific protocol to return a concussed athlete to their sport. The return to any sort of physical activity needs to be gradual and the environment needs to be controlled. For example, a concussed hockey player does not return to game play right away. In fact, they shouldn’t even return to contact practice right away. Physical activity needs to be re-introduced slowly. Starting with light cardiovascular exercise and ending with return to full contact sport. If at any stage of the re-introduction symptoms worsen, you need to return to the previous stage. It can be a long, drawn-out, frustrating process for athletes.
If you’re looking for more detailed information for yourself (as a parent, athlete, coach, teacher or healthcare practitioner) the SCAT 5 is a tool used to identify a concussion had taken place. The last page of the document contains valuable information. This information can help anyone identify ‘red flags’ after a concussion (that indicate the person should go to the hospital). It also details the graduated “return to work” and “return to sports” protocols that should be followed after a concussion.
There has been lots of research in the past 10 years dedicated to finding ways to prevent concussion. Some of the proposed changes have been major and league-wide, and some proposed changes are smaller but no less important. Some hockey leagues across Canada have changed the rules of their sport, eliminating hitting in the younger age groups. The NHL introduced the ‘quiet room’ in 2011 to take head injuries more seriously. Volleyball leagues have made changes to the way they organize their hitting practice to limit stray balls from hitting an unsuspecting athlete. Rule changes are important in both preventing and managing concussion.
Another important factor in preventing concussion is proper equipment, and properly fitted equipment. We know some athletic gear is expensive, and it’s way easier to put your kids in hand-me-down gear, even if it doesn’t fit perfectly. A properly fitted helmet can be the difference between a moment of discomfort and months of recovery from a concussion.
When fitting a helmet there are a number of factors that should be considered. Whether it is a bicycle helmet, hockey helmet, football helmet or motorcycle helmet, there are some important rules to follow…
- When choosing a size, measure around the head just above the eyebrows
- When getting fit for a helmet, make sure the hairstyle worn at the time of measurement is the same that will be worn majority of the time
- Chin strap should be centered under the chin and pulled snug
- Do not let anything lean against or on top of the helmet
- Do not paint or decorate the helmet without checking the manufacturer guidelines, this may change the integrity of the materials
- No helmet should be worn for longer than 10 years
Concussions are a complex issue, and it is imperative they are well managed right from the beginning. If you, or someone you know, has suffered a concussion get in for treatment and management tips right away!