Now that the fall athletic season has started, its fitting we discuss concussions. Concussions have been popular in the media since the movie starring Will Smith hit theaters, and the NFL has made concussions better understood. Concussions are a serious issue, but athletes today are much more protected than they were a few years ago. In years past many athletes continued to play after suffering a concussion, today's guidelines and rules keep athletes out of sporting activity until they clear the concussion protocol. Concussions are something that can impact an athlete acutely or chronically depending on the severity of the impact or if previous concussions have been experienced. Below are some symptoms of concussions:
A headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
Temporary loss of consciousness
Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
Loss of memory surrounding the traumatic event
Ringing in the ears
Delayed response to questions
Some ways to help promote healing include:
o Avoid the Electronics – Following a concussion, put down the phone or tablet and just clear your mind. Your brain needs time to just take it easy and start the healing process. When we sit in front of our computers or televisions it can cause mental exertion. It is believed that mental exertion following a concussion can double the recovery time.
o Proper nutrition – It is recommended that athletes consume 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day in protein. Having enough protein in the diet will help keep inflammatory responses down. Another way to lower inflammation is to consume Omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are commonly found in cold water fatty fish like salmon or tuna. Omega-3s reduce inflammation throughout the body and are good for everyone to take even they aren’t suffering from a current injury. Another nutritional recommendation is Zinc. Zinc is necessary to keep the brain functioning properly.
o Chiropractic Manipulation – In the cervical spine is where you’ll find the vertebral artery supplying parts of the brain with oxygenated blood. Following a concussion, you’ll find the vertebral blood flow is slowed or diminished. Manipulating the cervical spine can help restore proper bio-mechanics to the joint allowing the blood to flow smoother and easier. Commonly with concussions, the amount of force it takes to get concussed can cause whiplash. Chiropractic care helps restore proper function and movement of the cervical spine which helps whiplash injuries heal quicker.
o No Homework – This isn’t to say you don’t have to do homework anymore, but you shouldn’t jump directly back into your studies. Slowly introduce yourself back into your school work. Much like electronics, homework and school work can cause mental exertion which can prolong healing and cause more acute symptoms like nausea and headaches.
*Concussions need to be monitored by the school’s Athletic Training staff who often have preseason baseline testing to compare how the athlete is recovering compared to prior to the injury. It is imperative that athletes don’t return to their sport when still having any symptoms or clearing the proper protocols. The providers at Tri County Chiropractic will work alongside your school’s Athletic training staff and get you back on the field quicker, and healthier.
If someone you know is suffering from concussion symptoms let them know that we can help!