Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Unresolved health issues associated with concussions is one of the fasted growing health concerns in America today. Symptoms often experienced by patients are ongoing:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness/Imbalance
  • Fogginess
  • Mental Disconnect and attention problems
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision and or double vision
  • Neck pain and low back pain

When one suffers from a concussion the damage done to the brain is not often seen using standard imaging such as MRI/CT. Thus often people think that that they have escaped any damage. This is the furthest from the truth.   The nature of concussions is that the damage done to the brain is below the resolution abilities of modern day imaging. Thus people often begin to develop the ongoing symptoms as mentioned above and often wondered where it is all coming from.

The nature of concussion is that when the skull impacts a hard surface and or the head is whipped violently around the brain as it impacts the inside of the skull twists on itself. As a result of this twisting, pressure increases in the very middle parts of the brain especially in an area called the brainstem and these are the areas that get receive the most amount of damage.   The neurological structures that area located in these areas are the structures that control the following functions:

  • Balance and knowing where one is in space
  • Pain modulation
  • Activation of the brain in general from an area called the reticular formation
  • Coordinating eye movements with head and body movements
  • Maintaining alignment of the eyes
  • Gut and stomach function

Thus the symptoms that most people experience are as mentioned above as the neurological structures that control them have been damaged. The current treatment of concussions has been somewhat controversial over the years due to a lack of understanding of how the brain is damaged and the areas involved.

Our treatment of concussions incorporates the latest scientific information and the application of functional neurological techniques which is one of the fastest growing specialties in the chiropractic profession. We incorporate very specific testing and examination techniques that allow us to functionally measure and observe the areas of the brain that have been damaged. From there we synthesize very individualized treatment plans as we understand that not any two concussions are the same and thus no two people should receive the same treatment. Our treatments revolve around incorporating very specific brain based gaze stabilization exercises coupled to postural adaptation techniques. We measure changes on a daily basis and implement changes to treatment based on those findings. With our affiliation with the Carrick Institute and Dr. Carrick who has been pioneering the treatment of concussion for the past decade we offer our patients a very unique opportunity to find a solution to their unresolved symptoms.

Specialized Concussion Testing

In addition to a thorough physical and neurological exam your evaluation will may include one or more of the following testing procedures:

Real Eyes (Videonystagmography):

With this test the doctor will use a specialized camera to record your eyes while your eyes are performing different tasks.  This testing allows the doctor to get a good idea of any damage that has been done to the areas of the brain controlling your eye movements.  Damage in these areas are often seen as major contributors to dizziness, fogginess, headaches and neck pain often seen in post concussed people.

Balance and Posture Testing (Dynamic Posturography): 

Consists of eight tests performed one after the other for a total testing duration of approximately 4 minutes. The goal of all the tests is to verify how an individual is able to maintain their balance in different sensory conditions: removing or perturbing one of the inputs will force the postural control system to rely on the other input, changing their integration weight so the subject can still maintain its equilibrium. The results obtained from this test gives the doctor very specific information as to the extent of damage if any to your balancing system.

Interactive Metronome: 

Consists of 15 different tests performed one after another.  The testing involves wearing a set of headphones and performing different movements with your arms and or legs while you listen to a metronome beat.  You will also be wearing a sensor on your hand to measure your movements in time to the metronome beat.  Your results give’s the doctor an accurate account of the functioning of your frontal lobes and your cerebellum.  Two key areas often damaged in concussion.

 

Hemi-Tones (Brain Specific Auditory Testing):

In this test the doctor will have you listen to set of specific auditory tones that are designed to activate one hemisphere over the other.  The doctor then will perform different tests to see how you respond to the different auditory tones.   Depending on the response the doctor will choose the best auditory tone that you will listen to in concert with other treatments that will be recommended to you.  The purpose of the tones is that they facilitate the effectiveness of other treatment procedures are recommended to you.