8 Common Concussion Myths and Misconceptions

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury.  Your brain is made up of soft tissue that is protected by the hard bone of your skull.  To provide some cushion and some buoyancy, your brain is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).  This not only serves to reduce the weight of the brain in the head (think about how much lighter you feel when you’re floating in water), but it provides some critical shock-absorbing power.  Since the brain basically floats in the CSF, it can move around freely inside the skull.  In most cases, this helps to actually prevent severe injury.  However, when you take a blow to the head that is severe enough, the brain will basically come into contact, or bang into the inside of the skull.  This is how a concussion occurs.

When someone sustains a concussion, they can experience a variety of symptoms.  Many people will experience headaches, nausea, and memory loss following their injury.  Research is also now starting to show that there can be lasting changes to the brain after experiencing a concussion.

Debunking Concussion Myths

  • Myth #1: A concussion happens only if you lose consciousness. While it’s true that in the most severe cases an injury will cause a loss of consciousness, approximately 90% of concussions happen without losing consciousness.
  • Myth #2: If I wear a helmet it can prevent concussion. Helmets should absolutely be worn during sports.  In fact, it would be difficult these days to imagine playing football, hockey, riding a bicycle, or skiing/snowboarding without one.  However, there is no helmet that can completely prevent a concussion from occurring.  Helmets are designed to prevent major skull injuries, but cannot prevent the brain from contacting the inside of the head.
  • Myth #3: It’s ok to “walk it off” and return to activity a few minutes later if you’re feeling normal. Concussion symptoms don’t always show up immediately after the injury occurs.  It can sometimes take hours, or even days for symptoms to develop and become apparent.  If there’s ever any question that someone has sustained a concussion injury, it’s best to play it safe and have them sit out of any further game play.  Furthermore, sports teams at any level should have a go-to protocol to assess for concussion.
  • Myth #4: I didn’t hit my head, so there’s no way I have a concussion. Any sudden or severe jolt to the body can cause a concussion.  For example, a whiplash injury from a motor vehicle accident can cause your head to snap back and forth very rapidly.  Although you may never have hit your head during the injury, it is possible for your brain to shift inside your skull resulting in a concussion.
  • Myth #5: Football is the most common cause of concussion in children. In kids of all ages, concussions are actually most commonly caused by biking.  Other organized sports that have high concussion rates besides football are wrestling and cheerleading.
  • Myth #6: All concussions have the same symptoms. It is true that many concussions share the same common symptoms, such as a headache and confusion.  However, no two concussions are alike.  Many symptoms that don’t appear to be related to the injury, like trouble sleeping, irritability, and trouble reading, are actually lesser-known signs of a concussion.  Other symptoms can include vertigo or dizziness, balance problems, nausea or vomiting, and emotional changes.
  • Myth #7: Don’t let a concussion victim sleep after the injury. You may have heard that it is necessary to keep a concussed individual awake or to wake them up every 20 minutes.  It is actually important to let the concussed brain rest.  Sleep is very beneficial to the healing process, and interrupting this rest can delay recovery.
  • Myth #8: The harder the hit, the worse the concussion. The force of the blow, whether it be mild or hard, doesn’t always correlate to the severity of the concussion.  It also doesn’t have much of a bearing on how long recovery will take.  Some seemingly mild head injuries can take a long time to recover from, while some individuals can bounce back quickly from injuries that appeared to be more severe.

Getting the Right Care for Maximum Concussion Recovery

Because of the nature of how one sustains a concussion, the head injury component isn’t isolated from other injuries that may have occurred.  When you take a direct blow to the head, or when your head snaps back and forth rapidly as it does for a whiplash-type injury, odds are there was also damage done to the cervical spine.  While this may not be of immediate concern, many concussion sufferers who are experiencing ongoing or lingering symptoms for weeks or even months after their injury occurred should have their upper cervical spines thoroughly evaluated for any misalignments that may have happened.

Concussion Natural Relief Edmonton AB

Upper cervical chiropractic care can be the missing piece into finally getting some relief from lingering concussion symptoms.  Common conditions like headaches, vertigo/dizziness, sleep difficulties, and brain fog can be a direct result of an upper cervical misalignment.  Your atlas vertebra sits just beneath the skull, forming the junction between your head and your neck.  if it is not in its correct position, it can prevent normal brain-body communication over your central nervous system.  When the atlas is properly aligned, it protects the brainstem.  However, if you’ve suffered a concussion and your atlas has misaligned by even fractions of a millimeter, it can prevent you from healing fully after your injury.

At Providence Chiropractic, we know how to assess for and correct these subtle upper cervical misalignments.  We use a very specific and gentle method of adjusting that doesn’t require a great deal of force.  Once the atlas and upper cervical spine are realigned, the body’s normal healing process can take place.  This is why many of our post-concussion patients finally report a reduction or disappearance of stubborn symptoms that had plagued them since the time of their injury.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/symptoms.html

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/concussions.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-trauma/201708/debunking-10-common-concussion-myths

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