Case Study: 6 months of Post-Concussion Syndrome
Background A young woman was a passenger in a car that was struck from the side. The shock of the accident caused her head to whip from side to side and she lost consciousness immediately. Although many concussions are a result of a direct blow to the head, a concussion can occur through rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head causing the brain to move and collide with the inside of the skull. Following the concussion, the patient began having daily episodes of migraine headaches. During the migraine attacks, she would also have vertigo that led to a persistent feeling of nausea. After being discharged from the hospital the patient was seen by an orthopedist and chiropractor. While chiropractic adjustments were helpful, she felt her symptoms come back repeatedly within hours of her treatment. The patient had an appointment with her orthopedist to receive neck injections, but was referred to our office before that to see if correcting her atlas would help.
Assessing the Neck in Concussion The patient was put through a full examination to evaluate the neck. In many cases of post-concussion syndrome, the neck has numerous pain-generating tissue that can be responsible for these neurological symptoms. This includes precise x-rays of the top of the neck, evaluation of neck muscle tone, structural positioning, and evaluation of head and neck control. You can see some images of our head control laser testing below. When people suffer a concussion or whiplash injury, it can cause damage to the muscles and allow us to control our head and neck movement. These injuries can lead to headaches, but they also cause problems with our sense of balance. Once we have some baseline information on their current abilities, we can monitor how they respond and heal from the damage to their neck.
Results: After her 2nd visit, the patient said that her headaches and nausea were almost completely non-existent. Imagine that. Going from daily migraines, to no headaches for an entire week. All from a getting the head and neck into a better structural position. Now that isn't to say that life is perfect after that. There were certainly some ups and downs along the way. Overall, the patient's headaches have improved about 80% in frequency and intensity. She has elected to skip getting injections, and is working hard everyday to get stronger. Here's the most important element and really the part that matters: After the head injury, the patient was unable to do the things that made her life fun. She had trouble working out and getting motivated to exercise. Staying focused at work meant having to rely on pain killers. Taking care of a young daughter meant gritting her teeth through pain and nausea instead of being present in the moment.
That's what all of this is about. It's not about the pain reduction, it's about the restoration of normal life! For more information, you can read this patient's testimonial below:
I’m a very active mommy that carries around the weight of a 6 year old and owning a salon full time. Work and mommy duties call for my body to be at all times ready and with it. There isn’t time for rest, much less any fatigue or achy-ness. Between playing sports when I was young, actively working out and having the burden of standing on my feet the majority of my work days, my simple adjustments just got me through. I didn’t realize that there could be a cure for my migraines, constant neck stiffness and what seemed to be a much older body that I was trapped in.I was a back seat passenger in a car crash on New Years, where the car was deemed totaled. There were no major signs of trauma, besides the concussion and black eye I received, however, I knew something was wrong when my pain was continuing to get worse months after the accident. My routine visits to the chiropractor, became tedious weekly visits that just got me through; my pain kept coming back if I didn't get adjusted that day. I refused to succumb to cortisone shots previously, but felt desperate. Instead of my Chiropractor sending me off the receive the possible relief from an invasive procedure, he referred me to his dear friend Dr. Chung that specializes in post concussion, migraines, fatigue and achy-ness.Dr Chung was very thorough and did a series of X-rays and tests to see how my whole body was aligned and reviewed my MRI. He explained the symptoms and showed me what was happening to my brain and surrounding inflamed tissues. After one precise adjustment and many months of not being able to be active or myself, I felt 150%. I was scared and apprehensive as to when my pain would return. To my surprise, months later and just a few maintenance NUCCA adjustments, my pain has not returned and I was immediately able to carry on with my workouts, mommy life and my physically involved career . I was even able to hike, travel and do Cross-fit within weeks of being adjusted. My energy and range of motion has returned. I couldn’t be happier for the referral to such a dedicated, intelligent, passionate Doctor of Chiropractic. Thank you so much for your passion to treat your patients and wish you much success. Jessica S.