Concussion recovery and management is an important and often complex process within the sports medicine and neurology fields. With nearly 2.5 million concussions and traumatic brain injuries occurring in the United States each year, proper concussion treatment is vital. In 2012 alone, approximately 329,920 of those visits were sports- and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion in children (age 19 or younger).
Concussion injuries typically result from either a direct trauma/blow to the head or a whiplash injury. Whiplash injuries to the head and neck often result in cervical and thoracic spine injury or dysfunction and have many of the same signs and symptoms. Those suffering from concussions or whiplash may experience:
- Loss of balance
- Visual and auditory disturbance
- Reduced cognitive function
Many of the signs and symptoms of a concussion may also be present in a patient with injury or dysfunction of the cervical spine. In concussion recovery, it has become increasingly important to care for both a patient’s head and cervical spine.
The first and arguably most important step in concussion recovery is the ability to recognize concussion symptoms. Healthcare providers, coaches, parents, game officials and athletes all need to be able to recognize concussion symptoms in an injured athlete to provide rapid assessment and guidance toward a safe return to play.
Concussion Recovery and Treatment
Following the proper concussion recognition, it is important to utilize the return-to-play (RTP) protocol, which can be managed by a qualified healthcare professional. The goal of concussion recovery protocol is to hasten recovery by ensuring that the athlete is aware of and avoids activities and situations that may slow recovery.
It is important to allow adequate time for full physical and cognitive concussion recovery. Following implementation of the RTP protocol, combined with proper physical and cognitive rest, it is also important to seek other treatment options that may help hasten recovery. Assessing and treating any cervical spine dysfunction is crucial for not only a faster return to activity, but also reducing possible risk of post-concussion syndrome, which can linger for an extended period of time if left untreated.
Concussion Recovery Treatment Options
Post-concussion symptoms can be treated in a variety of ways, including chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue treatments like Active Release Technique (A.R.T.). Patients who have sustained a concussion and are suffering from a cervicogenic component may also benefit from whole body cryotherapy.
In addition, many other concussion symptoms are believed to be the result of ion imbalances, metabolic disruption, blood flow abnormalities or autonomic nervous system disruption that may be the cause of the pathophysiology. These symptoms can be managed through cryotherapy, which reduces pain and inflammation throughout the body and causes many changes regarding hormones, metabolism, blood flow and nervous system activation.
Concussions are a relatively common in injury in both sports and daily activities. It’s important to remember that the first step in concussion recovery is the proper recognition and initiation of RTP protocol. Following a proper examination and diagnosis, a combination of concussion protocols, including chiropractic sessions, A.R.T. and whole body cryotherapy can help effectively speed concussion recovery and return to activity following a concussion.
Want to learn more about concussion recovery treatment options? Call or stop by any of our 5280 Cryo & Recovery Clinic locations today!