Concussion to the brain occurs when external force hits the skull and results in bruising or injury to the brain. It can however also occur as a result of whiplash with no impact to the skull. The result is neurological dysfunction which can cause headaches, dizziness, sleep disturbance and difficulty concentrating. In certain individuals these symptoms can be aggravated by weather changes which can result in extreme fatigue and inability to speak in sentences. Standard medical treatment consists of rest and medications. The trauma causes a cascade of debris and repeated injuries lead to membrane tears and inflammatory states from cytokines such as glutamate. Severe concussions can lead to degenerative changes in brain function. The nutrient supply for brain tissue is in the cerebro-spinal fluid that circulates around the brain and spinal cord. This enables proteins and glucose to keep the brain functioning and building new cells. The glymphatic system is how waste material is eliminated from the brain as we sleep.
Mild concussion recovery can be in a few days however 15% of patients with mild concussion may go on to have long-term effects. Osteopathy has been shown to improve outcomes for these patients.¹ We use a combination of techniques to improve the cerebro-spinal fluid flow (CSF) and to enhance the glymphatic system so that nutrient supply and waste disposal can result in improved function. Cranial bones are the pump for the CSF and injuries can cause locking of the joints here that slow down the natural flow around the brain.² The membranes that anchor the brain develop tensions which our treatments help resolve. Symptoms can also be aggravated by neck and shoulders pain so these areas need to be treated also.
¹Chappell C, Dodge E, Dogbey GY. Assessing the immediate effect of osteopathic manipulation on sports related concussion symptoms. Osteopath Fam Phys. 2015;7(4):30-35.
²Ettlinger H, Gintis B. Cranial osteopathy: diagnosis and treatment. In:
DiGiovanna EL, Schiowitz S, Dowling DJ, eds. An Osteopathic
Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment. 3rd ed. Philadelpha, PA:
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005:575-576.
Concussion symptoms can be treated effectively with Osteopathy.