Concussions

Over the last few years, around this time of year, concussions have become a major topic of interest.  More and more research is coming to light about just how dangerous concussions really are.  While much of the focus has been done to better diagnose and prevent concussions (which needs to happen), very little has been done in the advancement of treatment.

Rest remains the most appropriate way to allow your brain to recover from a concussion, but what happens when symptoms remain even after weeks and months of rest?

Concussions are a brain injury.  Currently, there are 8 factors used to diagnose concussions.  In order to be diagnosed with a concussion, you only need to experience 3 out of the 8 factors.  Headaches, dizziness, changes in mood, sleep, concentration, personality, irritability, not managing stress, are all on the list.  Surprisingly, neck pain didn’t make the list!

As mentioned previously, concussions are a brain injury, but you can’t get a brain injury without neck (cervical) trauma.  Alarmingly, the spine is rarely evaluated!  What should, and needs to happen, is to find out how much influence the cervical trauma is playing in post-concussive symptoms.  While neck symptoms don’t need to be present, presence of neck pain and symptoms will delay recovery from concussion injuries.

The suboccipital muscles are a group of 6 muscles that attach to the top of the skull and neck.  Some of these muscles attach directly to the spinal cord. These are the most commonly injured structures with any neck and head trauma. Injury to these muscles can directly cause and increase concussion symptoms.  As a result of trauma to the head and neck, adhesion is most likely to appear in these muscles.

As a consequence, adhesion decreases flexibility and pain.  Adhesion in the suboccipital muscles can cause a variety of symptoms including, headaches and neck pain. It can be easily fixed by an expert trained to diagnose and treat this injury.  The only way to know if you have adhesion present is to be evaluated by one of these experts.

Concussions are always individual and each person recovers at a different pace.  If you have recently had, or been struggling with post-concussive symptoms it is vital to know how much of your injury is due to the brain, and how much is due to the cervical trauma!

While most of the recovery and treatment of concussions need to be focused around rest and managing activities, those that still suffer with symptoms weeks and months after need other solutions!  Otherwise, these symptoms can persist years down the road.  Concussions are always multifactorial, changes in diet and psychiatry may also help, but negating to treat the musculoskeletal component of the injury can be a huge mistake!

You owe it to yourself to explore all avenues of treatment to fully recover from injury and prevent long term damage!

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Integrative Diagnosis providers are musculoskeletal experts trained in the evaluation and treatment of neck pain and injury.  If you are fortunate enough to have an Integrative Diagnosis provider in your area, they can help with the recovery and treatment of concussions.  Use this link to find a provider near you => PROVIDERS

If you live in or around the Cedar Rapids area, let the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport help!  If you or someone you know are struggling to recover from a concussion we encourage you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 or schedule an appointment at www.thrivespineandsport.com/appointment-request/.

Thanks for reading!

Make It Stop! Find Relief!

Staring at the computer desk, it strikes again.  Maybe your head feels like it’s stuck in a vice.  You need relief!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am talking about headaches!

Here is what we know about headaches:

  • 47% of the general population will have AT LEAST one headache this year.
  • 1 in 20 of the general population will have a headache 15 days or more this month!
  • Headaches have been underestimated, under recognized, and under-treated throughout the world
  • Only half of people diagnosed with headache disorders have seen a doctor and only two-thirds have been properly diagnosed!
  • Most common treatment of headaches are over the counter medicine.

So not only are people who have headaches not getting care, the ones who are seeking help are being misdiagnosed and mistreated!  This is a very bad situation to be in if you suffer from headaches!

There are many different types of headaches with a wide variety of symptoms – tension, pounding, fogginess, vice-like pain that constantly returns.  There is a solution to the problem you just need the right diagnosis!

The stats confirm that most people with headaches either self treat with over the counter medication thinking that will solve their problem, or that their headaches are something they just can’t fix.  Seeking medical helps for some, but what happens to the third that’s misdiagnosed?

An overwhelming majority (~70%) of headaches are tension headaches.  The WHO (World Health Organization) identifies the problem as either stress or musculoskeletal problems in the neck.  Most will feel tension or stiffness in the base of the skull or neck.  Medication may provide some relief, but not fix these headaches.

Unfortunately, our modern day lifestyle has led to a pandemic of poor posture and increased stress on our neck.  Think about it.  How much time do you spend in a day looking down at your computer screen or phone.  This sustained contraction and posture wreaks havoc on the muscles of your neck.  Overtime this leads to formation of adhesion – the most common, most misdiagnosed, and mistreated condition in the human body.  Adhesion in the neck gradually leads to even worse posture, decreased posture, pain, and, yes, headaches!

Adhesion

 

So how do you know if you have adhesion?  The good news is that there is a very simple test that you can do to find out!  Just watch the video below.

 

If, after watching this video, you found any part of the test to be difficult or painful, we can help!  By specifically diagnosing and targeting treatment to the structures containing adhesion in the neck you can get back on track to being pain and headache free.  

We pick up where others have failed.  Most patients have been to several providers before finding relief in our office.  If you live in the Cedar Rapids or Iowa City area and suffering with headaches and neck pain, call our office today at 319-423-0925 or request an appointment at www.thrivespineandsport.com to get answers to your problem! 
Thanks for reading!

One Simple Test For Finding Headache Relief

It has been estimated that upward of 50 percent of the population will have suffered a headache in the past year.

For some, that number may seem low.

Unlike most musculoskeletal conditions, there can be a multitude of causes behind your headaches. Some headaches may be caused by hormones or food sensitivities. Other may be triggered by dehydration or the weather.  But for a large majority of headaches, the root cause often comes from dysfunction in neck muscles.

At the base of the skull there is a group of small muscles, called the suboccipitals. These very tiny muscles are responsible for movement of the skull and the first two vertebrae in the neck. With the modern day lifestyle these muscles are under constant stress and strain. Sitting at a computer for an extended time, grinding your teeth, poor posture and even previous injuries or accidents to the neck (think whiplash) can damage these tiny muscles, altering joint motion and function.

The most common result of overuse and trauma in the muscles is adhesion.

Adhesion

Adhesion may be a new term for you. Adhesion is one of the most common causes of pain, decreased flexibility, and strength. Adhesion is a buildup of fibrotic, or “scar-like” tissue, on muscles or around nerves. When present, it continues to alter load, posture and increase strain on the neck. If adhesion is present, it can be a root cause of your headaches and needs to be fixed in order to find relief.

So how can you know if you have adhesion present? Fortunately, there is a very easy test that you can do at home. Start by standing flat against a wall — heels, butt, shoulder blades and the back of the head should be touching the wall. If you cannot get your head to touch the back of the wall, the test already is positive and the presence of adhesion is most likely. If you are able to get the back of the head against the wall tilt your head back slightly until the jaw is parallel to the floor. Slowly try to tuck the chin to your neck without the back of the head leaving the wall. Any pain, or tension in the base of the neck or lower, is a positive test.

Continue the test by trying to touch the chin to the top of your chest. If you find this painful, “tight” or are unable to reach your chest, adhesion is the most likely cause of pain.

Healthy cervical flexion.
Healthy cervical flexion.

 

In order to reduce or eliminate your headaches, these tests must be cleared. In order to pass these tests, adhesion must be eliminated. Manual therapy to the affected tissues is the most effective and fastest way to relief.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are full body certified through Integrative Diagnosis for the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion.  Many patients of our office have tried numerous providers before finding relief in our office.  If you have been struggling to find relief from headaches, we invite you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 and get to the bottom of your pain!  We also invite you to like and share this with friends and family who may be in need.

Thanks for reading!