Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) a mild form of traumatic brain injury
What is post-concussion syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) often occurs as a result of traumatic brain injury (concussion).
Individuals who suffer from:
- cognitive and emotional problems
- dizziness or
- sensitivity to light, sound and motion
should be assessed as soon as possible to determine whether these symptoms are associated with their brain injury. Chiropractic Neurologists are extensively trained to make this assessment.
I had a concussion over a year ago and I’m having ongoing problems still – could this be PCS?
PCS can linger for months and even year after the initial trauma. The duration of symptoms is influenced by the location of trauma of the brain and neck, the severity of injury, the psychological milieu of the person suffering from the trauma, as well as health and age.
What causes PCS?
Head trauma can sensitize the brain to different senses in the environment (sound, motion, and light). The consequence of this is the over-reaction of the brain to stimuli. For example, a person who has never had problems in the car may suddenly begin experiencing motion sickness after a concussion. For this reason, it is often recommended that patients not watch television/avoid screens for a period of time after the injury.
Who gets concussions?
Studies show that young athletes are at particular risk for this very serious injury. Kids involved in hockey, gymnastics, horseback riding and skiing/snowboarding sustain this injury more often. But it should be noted that anyone can get a concussion – from a slip and fall, an automobile accident, or any other type of head trauma. You do not need to be rendered unconscious to have a concussion.
What is the current medical approach to concussion treatment?
The current medical approach to concussions is to rest and limit physical activity until concussion symptoms go away. In the event symptoms persist, patients are usually prescribed pharmaceutical drugs to help them cope. The patient is monitored and eased back into their usual activities.
How do Chiropractic Neurologists treat concussions?
Chiropractic Neurologists take the same approach as medical doctors in the early stages of concussion recovery. Absolute rest and limitations on physical activity will normally be recommended at the outset of treatment, to protect the brain while it works on healing itself from the traumatic injury. The chiropractic neurologist will make specific recommendations in order to keep the stimulation to the brain as low as possible during this period.
It should be noted, however, that current research suggests that some patients can begin rehabilitation therapy as soon as one month post-injury.
Because neural plasticity1 peaks within one to three months post-injury, it is important that patients consult with a chiropractic neurologist during this time period to assess whether they can begin therapy.
Neural plasticity peaks within one to three months after injury; this creates a unique window of opportunity. During this window, neurorehabilitation—physical therapy, for example—is most effective.2 (emphasis added)
Patients who are outside this “window of opportunity” will nevertheless benefit from seeing a chiropractic neurologist.
However, significant improvements can occur even at later stages, especially when rehabilitation combines task-specific training with therapies that activate neural plasticity.14
Dr. Roch does not prescribe medications to mask the symptoms of concussions. He takes the time to assess which areas of the brain and/or neck have been affected by the trauma that led to the concussion and creates an individualized treatment program specific to your injury.
Dr. Roch’s concussion patients attend his office for regular therapy sessions, which may or may not include chiropractic adjustments. A major part of the recovery process involves work done by the patient at home.
Dr. Roch provides patients with a series of individualized exercises to perform at home. These are tailored to the specific injury that the brain has sustained, and patient cooperation and compliance is necessary to achieve recovery
The famous NHL player, Sidney Crosby, was sidelined for many months due to a serious concussion, and was only able to return to the ice after working with Chiropractic Neurologist Dr Ted Carrick.
1 Neural plasticity (also known as neuroplasticity, brain plasticity, cortical plasticity, and a variety of other names) is the changing of the structure, function, and organization of neurons in the brain in response to stimulus.