Can Concussions Cause Chronic Headaches and Vertigo?
For years NUCCA doctors have been asking patients if they have a history of head and neck injuries including, car accidents, falls, times where they have been knocked unconscious, had a concussion or stitches to their head.
When accidents and injuries tear loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in place it creates a weakness, which allows the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position.
The area of the body that is the most vulnerable to injury and has the most far reaching effects is the upper neck. The top bone in the spine, the atlas sits right underneath the skull and when the tissues around it become stretched and damaged the weight of the head will be shifted from center.
Once the position of the head is altered the position of the eyes and ears is altered as well. The brain will initiate a reflex called the righting reflex in order to balance the eyes and the semicircular canals in the ears with the horizon.
The problem is now the head is slightly off center and the spine must adapt to that position by twisting and turning the remaining structure of the spine. This will lead to tilting of the shoulders, the hips and imbalance all the way down to the legs leading to an unequal distribution of weight.
Body imbalance can lead to a variety of different health problems, but frequently has the same root cause…
The original head or neck injury created a misalignment of the Atlas bone at the base of the skull which led to the subsequent problems with the structure of the body, nerve and blood flow from the brain to the body.
Here is a great example from a research article published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ January 6, 2011
A 23-year-old female patient presented for upper cervical chiropractic care five months after a slip and fall that resulted in a concussion. The patient presented with symptoms of vertigo and headaches consistent with post-concussion syndrome. The patient had a longstanding history of headaches that were exacerbated by the concussion and a new complaint of positional vertigo that occurred immediately following the trauma. Significant body imbalances were noted including a leg length difference. Specific Upper Cervical X-rays demonstrated an upper cervical misalignment.
She began to receive Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic care and the headache and vertigo was gone immediately following the first adjustment. Post X-Ray evaluation showed a significant improvement in the alignment of the head and neck. The follow up examination the following day revealed a significant decrease in muscles spasm in the neck and the legs were balanced.
The patient’s care was continued on a frequency of twice per month for evaluations and progress monitoring. She was evaluated with Atlas Orthogonal protocol for necessity of adjustment and her symptoms were monitored at every evaluation. She continued to report a complete resolution of vertigo and intermittent headaches rated as 2/10 that occurred at an average of two hours/day.
Who do you know that has had a concussion? Do they have a chronic health problem? Is there a connection to the upper neck?
Only an upper cervical specialist could tell you for sure.
To hear from more real people like you go to our patient testimonials here.
Dr. Kurt Sherwood, D.C. is Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. He is in private practice in the state of Washington in the city of Renton. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on his website at www.restorationspinalcare.com
Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ January 6, 2011
Alisha Mayheu DC & Matthew Sweat DC
Headache Image courtesy of tokyoboy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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