Chiropractic and Concussions: Athletes and Beyond

Concussion Video Details

In this live Facebook video, Dr. Ryan Dopps discussed the affect of chiropractic on concussions, for everyone from athletes to small children.

Sometimes we use medical words without fully understanding what condition they describe. Dr. Ryan explained that a concussion is basically a bruise on the brain. When trauma occurs to the head (from an hard fall, an auto accident, a sports injury or another source) the brain tissue bounces against the skull, resulting in this bruise.

Physicians used to qualify an injury as a concussion only if there had been a loss of consciousness. Now, doctors including Dr. Ryan use a SCAT 2 form, with many indicators and symptoms for a concussion.

You might wonder how wonder how those varied symptoms of a “brain bruise,” from sensitivity to light and sound to headaches, could be helped by adjusting the bone structure.

“As we look at allowing the brain to heal,” said Dr. Ryan, “every process takes time. So one of the big things we look at, one of the key factors to getting the brain to heal better, is to remove interference allowing it to ‘breathe’ correctly.”

Dr. Ryan explained that when a person’s head is hit, the skull is moves on top, or in relation to the spine. The first bone, the ring-shaped Atlas, should be lined up with the base of the skull. When these holes aren’t aligned, it doesn’t allow for proper flow of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This vital fluid provides 95% of the brain’s nutrients, essential for it to heal properly. However, the blocked flow itself can also be detrimental.

Even problems from old concussions can be alleviated by chiropractic adjustments. In a clip from ESPN, former NFL Bears Quarterback, Jim McMahon explains his injuries from concussions and how chiropractic adjustments have been incredibly helpful. He describes the improved flow of CSF to a toilet flushing, allow renewed function to his brain.

As a team chiropractor for the Wichita Thunder hockey team, Dr. Ryan had the opportunity to see and treat many concussions. He saw athletes who were adjusted healed much more quickly than those who hadn’t.

Generally, his recommendation after a concussion is to rest and wait 24-48 hours for the inflammation to go down before a chiropractic adjustment. And when he says rest, Dr. Ryan means without screen time or other stimulation. “Try to sleep those first 24 hours,” he said. “And hydrate.”

Then Dr. Ryan recommends light activity, such as walking. If symptoms reoccur such as a headache or sensitivity to light, the clock resets for another 24-48 hours of rest. Next, if all is well, he reintroduces moderate activity. For hockey players, it was light skating. After that, a more aggressive practice was added, with care to not re-injure the player. Generally, it took about a week for the athlete to return to play. The course of treatment depends, of course, on the severity of the trauma. A patient may need to be adjusted multiple times per week for several weeks.

It’s not just athletes that get concussion, however. Dr. Ryan noted that small children may not be able to express all their concussion symptoms, but that irritability can be one of the indicators for a parent to notice after a head trauma.

In summary, whatever the cause of a concussion, realigning the bones of the neck, reducing the pressure and allowing a good flow of CSF to the spinal column and good communication from the brain to the far reaches of the body’s nervous system.

If you are interested in more information or an adjustment with Drs. Ryan and Denise Dopps, call 316-636-5550 for an appointment at their office at 2350 N. Greenwich, Suite 500, Wichita, KS 67226

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