Post-Concussion Syndrome: The Role of the Upper Cervical Spine
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) has come into the spotlight more in the past year. As research continues to show how concussions produce lasting effects, more researchers are exploring the underlying cause of PCS. One study looked specifically at the role of the cervical spine when it comes to post-concussive symptoms.
A concussion is usually sustained when a person is in a car accident or suffers a sports injury. However, there are many other ways to end up with a concussion that are not as obvious. For example:
- Slip and fall – An accident does not have to be severe to result in post-concussion syndrome.
- Whiplash – Any time the neck is whipped fast enough to causes a whiplash injury, there is the potential for a concussion as well.
- Being violently shaken – The head does not have to be struck for a concussion to occur. The head just needs to shake fast enough for the brain to strike the inside of the skull.
What are some of the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome?
- Concentration problems
- Memory issues
- Balance problems
Why the Neck Connection to Post-Concussion Syndrome Is Important
Recognizing how neck injuries play a role in post-concussion problems is vital because it shows that the underlying problem may be the neck misalignments caused while the head injury was sustained and not necessarily the concussion itself resulting in the symptoms. Once this is acknowledged, different methods of seeking relief become available.
An upper cervical misalignment can result in numerous issues such as increased pressure in the brainstem, pooling cerebrospinal fluid, or even reduced blood flow to the brain. A gentle upper cervical adjustment can correct the misalignment and these underlying issues. For many, this has led to a lessening or even complete resolution of symptoms.
Ferri, Fred MD. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor, 2012 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby; 2012.
Marshall C, Vernon H, Leddy J, Baldwin B. The role of the cervical spine in post-concussion syndrome. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00913847.2015.1064301 (accessed 09 July 2015).
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