Head Injury and what Chiropractic can Do
Millions of Americans see kids and high performance athletes sustain head injuries every single day. This is not exclusive to just one sport, it can happen and does in many others. So do we just stop playing sports to avoid injury? Not a likely option. So what can we do? We can be more proactive, educated, and aware of the effects of a head injury.
A recent research study came out in 2016, they were studying the muscles of the upper neck in individuals who had Post-Concussion Syndrome and Neck Injury (PCS). The Mayo Clinic defines PCS as "a complex disorder in which various symptoms, such as headaches and dizziness, last for weeks and sometimes months after the injury that caused the concussion." What was found in this study was amazing. They discovered that one of the upper neck stabilizing muscles called the Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor had atrophied. This means the muscle had wasted away, it lost it's strength. Neurologically we know that this specific muscle has the highest density of proprioceptive fibers of all the upper neck muscles. These proprioceptive fibers are powerful inhibitors of pain; and loss of proprioception can cause sensory issues, which may lead to dizziness or balance trouble. These upper neck muscles are innervated by the nerves in the upper neck, which if a spinal vertebra is out of alignment it can interfere with these nerves and how they are communicating to these muscles. The study found that when this muscle was atrophied it correlated with greater symptom severity, longer recovery time, poorer verbal memory performance, and post-concussive headaches.
What can chiropractic do? Getting your upper neck checked by a chiropractor can help improve healing after a head injury. Head injuries can be sustained from hitting your head on the cabinet door to getting tackled on the football field. It's always better to be proactive and get checked sooner than later. The adjustment, when applied specifically will restore proper nerve communication to the musculature in the upper neck, which is key to brain health and proprioception. It is vital to have full nerve communication for optimal healing.
Effect of Suboccipital Musculature on Symptom Severity and Recovery After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Fakhran S, Qu, C, Alhilali, L.M. American Journal of Neuroradiology; Aug 2016