Concussions have become the biggest concern in contact sports, and for good reason. A brain injury can be life-altering in a split second. One of the biggest decisions that needs to be made in concussion treatment is when to release an athlete and send them back to the field of play.
There are a number of factors that go into making this decision. Balance testing, eye movement, ability to process information etc. These are all largely subjective, and it can be a little difficult to feel fully confident that you are making the right decision.
The easiest way to get around this is baseline concussion testing. These tests are performed before the season begins, when the athlete is rested and healthy. Memory, balance, processing, and other brain functions are tested and assigned a score. This makes a post injury comparison very easy.
Ideally, within a day after an incident the athlete should be retested. This gives insight into how serious the brain injury is, and to what level the brain is compromised. In more severe cases, sending a kid back to school too quickly can be detrimental. Overtaxing an injured brain can cause a flare up in symptoms.
The next big step is deciding when to release the athlete back to practice and games. After an initial concussion, the chances of a second concussion go up exponentially. This happens for two reasons if the brain isn’t fully healed. First, if reflexes and processing hasn’t fully returned, the chances of taking a hit or having a collision go up. Second, chemically it takes a while for the brain to return to balance. If this process hasn’t been completed, the brain is unable to handle a second blow and is much more easily injured.
If a baseline test has been performed, this decision becomes much easier. If the athlete scores in the same range on the post injury test as the baseline, then a confident decision to release them to play can be made.
The testing is easy and takes about 15 minutes on an Ipad. The scores are then saved on a secure server that can be immediately accessed and used for comparison.
We offer these tests in our office. We are also available for larger-scale testing for schools, and sports leagues Call us at 239-248-8810 for more information on in office or on site testing.
There are endless blogs written on various conditions, symptoms, and lost health due to upper cervical misalignments. While they are all true and necessary, sometimes the overall diminishing health potential gets lost in the verbiage. I want to focus on one of the most impactful potential results of a misalignment of the top bone in the neck. Restriction of blood flow through the vertebral arteries.
Decreased blood flow to the brain can lead to a number of issues. Things like brain fog, balance disorders, depression, and overall lower brain function.
There are two vertebral arteries that travel up the neck. One on each side. As they reach the 6th vertebrae from the top, they actually pass through a hole in the outside edge of the bones. This is pretty stable, until it reaches the top bone in the neck known as the atlas. The atlas is more freely moving than any other vertebrae, and this is what allows us so much range of motion with our head. The vertebrae pass through the atlas and then enter the skull.
In the case of neck trauma like falls, car crashes, and sports injuries the atlas can become misaligned, and it rotates. This rotation can cause one of the arteries to become closed off. Just like a water hose with a kink. This immediately causes a decrease in blood flow to the brain. The atlas gets stuck in this position and the body is normally unable to “unstick it” on its own. This is when chronic issues can begin to develop.
Chronic brain fog, vertigo, and even depression have all been linked to decreased blood flow. In my office we have seen tremendous improvements in these, and other related conditions by restoring the atlas to its proper motion. This allows proper blood flow to be restored, and the brain to begin to function normally again.
The type of misalignment we are looking for is not normally noticed in medical settings and radiology reports. Those professionals are great at what they do, but they aren’t trained to look for this condition. The misalignments are often small, but can cause dramatic effects. In our office we offer a free consultation and exam that features infrared thermography. This testing allows us to quickly and easily evaluate proper blood flow to the brain.
If you are struggling with chronic issues that haven’t been resolved, I urge you to let us check to see if it is a problem with your atlas. We offer a free consultation, give us a call!
Has it been this way too long? Is there too much arthritis? Do I have too much degeneration? I hear those questions frequently from new patients hoping for help, but fearing it is too late. Once you crumple a piece of paper you can never really get it smooth again, but it can still fulfill its purpose. The same is true with the spine. It may have some arthritis, degeneration, and permanent damage, but that doesn’t mean it can’t serve its purpose and serve it well.
Let’s look at the structure of the spine. With the exception of the top two bones in the neck, the rest of the spine has the same configuration. A block of bone, then an intervertebral disc, and another block of bone. Degeneration can happen two ways—bone spurs, which we generally refer to as arthritis and disc degeneration (thinning of the disc).
People tend to think that arthritis and disc degeneration is just a process of aging. The older you get, the more you will have, and that is just how it is goes. I have seen 30-year-olds with extreme degeneration, and 80-year-olds with little to none.
The reality is, degeneration is the result of poor mechanics. A vertebrae gets out of its normal range of motion, which causes undue stress on itself, the bones above and especially below, and the disc it sits on. This is when time and aging become a big factor. The longer the abnormal stress exists, the more degeneration we will see. The location of the misalignment also has a big impact. If one of the top two bones in the head get stuck out of position, not only do they stress the bones around them, they also cause the head to get off center. This pulls on the entire spine, and leads to degeneration anywhere in the spine.
The good news here is two fold—degeneration can be reversed to a degree, and a freely moving spine will automatically feel better than a misaligned one. I will use myself as an example. When I first became an upper cervical patient, I had such a bad misalignment of the top bone in my neck, that the curve in my neck was reversed. This led to severe degeneration at my 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae. As a result I had intense burning in both of my hands anytime I tried to sleep.
Once my spine was corrected, and began to move properly, over time I watched the bone spurs (arthritis) shrink and some of the disc height restored. Thankfully the burning in my hands also disappeared quickly.
It is never too late to benefit from a properly aligned spine. I have yet to see a patient not benefit from better moving vertebrae. They may never get back to 100%, but the results can be extraordinary regardless. The best time to check a spine is day one of life, to make sure this end-result never occurs, but regardless of age there can be great benefit.
Just last week I had a wonderful 97-year-old young lady start care. On the follow-up visit after her first adjustment I asked her how she was doing. She said, “I can’t believe how much straighter I am standing and how much better my posture is after only a few days.”
It is never too late to improve and never time to lose hope. Come in to Upper Cervical Chiropractors of Fort Myers for a free consultation today! (239) 243-8810
According to the Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine, a department of the Children’s National Health System, an estimated three million children sustain a traumatic brain injury, more commonly known as a concussion, every year. So childhood concussions are more common than most people know. In fact, concussions, in general, are more common than was previously recognized in the health care community.
Concussions have been called the “silent epidemic” because doctors don’t always recognize or identify them. Nine out of ten children will not lose consciousness even though they’ve sustained a concussion. One of the main problems is if you bring your child to the hospital after they’ve sustained an injury to their head from a fall, sports injury, bicycle accident, motor vehicle accident or any of the other ways children sustain concussions, a normal CT scan or MRI will not typically detect the concussion. But physical or cognitive symptoms can last days, weeks, months or even longer in some cases.
For those 15% to 20% of children who have symptoms for three weeks or more, it may be that they have Cervicogenic Post-Concussion Syndrome, in which an upper neck injury, such as whiplash, happened along with the concussion. The ligament damage and upper cervical injury are often the underlying reasons that symptoms persist, but this is not usually recognized by doctors.
The neck trauma can trigger two different issues:
Upper cervical chiropractors are trained to evaluate this area, determine the issue, and restore it back to normal position and function. Correcting the top bone in the spine is often an important component in finding relief from the brain fog, vertigo/dizziness, headaches, and difficulty processing related to Cervicogenic PCS. The adjustments are precise, painless, and do not involve any twisting, turning or popping of the neck.
We have seen tremendous results in these cases by addressing the main issue causing the symptoms, and often see significant improvements in the first few days/weeks after patients have suffered for months or even years. If you’ve suffered a concussion or head and neck injury please give us a call or book an appointment and let us help you find relief from the pain.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is generally tied in with Autism and other Neurodevelopmental issues. It is not currently classified as a stand-alone diagnosis. I, along with many others, believe it should be. SPD causes a person to be overstimulated by the things most of us just interpret as everyday life. Sights, sounds, touch, and all the things that make up our environment become overwhelming to a person with SPD.
SPD is most often identified in children, although adults may also have it. With SPD one or more of the senses may be greatly magnified, and could cause a child to throw a fit, be unable to focus, have difficulty learning, and struggle in social interactions. Light is too bright. Sounds seem too loud and overwhelming.
Our bodies are filled with sensors that detect temperature, touch, sound, vibration, and anything else we might encounter. The information gathered from these sensors is then transmitted by the nervous system to the brainstem. Once there, a filter sorts through the information and decides what is important, what is not important, and then sends the important information to the cortex of the brain. The brain then makes the necessary decision and responds accordingly.
This filter is called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS is a bundle of nerves at the base of the brainstem that filters all sensory information at lightspeed. When the RAS is functioning properly it provides an environment for a child to focus, learn, and follow instructions. When the RAS malfunctions a “normal” environment can become overwhelming as far too much information passes through. This leads to overstimulation, and the inability to focus and this often causes outbursts, as a child cannot handle it all at once. This is what we find in Sensory Processing Disorder.
While there are several reasons the RAS may malfunction, the one I deal with in my office is an upper neck vertebrae misalignment. The brain stem extends down out of the skull and into the top two bones in the neck. If one of these bones misalign, it can cause pressure on the brain stem and cause it to malfunction. Depending on the direction and amount of misalignment, this can cause the RAS to malfunction and lead to a sensory processing issue.
I have seen and helped a great number of these children over my career, but my favorite story is about a young man I helped in my first year in practice. Let’s call him Sam. Sam was 4-years-old and still in diapers. He was unable to eat solid food and was still on baby food. It was next to impossible to touch him, even for his parents. Loud noises sent him into a screaming fit, and bright lights made him run. I watched his loving parents try to hug him, and he resisted. He loved them, but he just couldn’t handle the touch. It was heartbreaking. Our initial consultation consisted of me speaking with his parents, while he literally ran in circles and screamed for 20 minutes. A new situation and a new person were more than he could handle. It took several follow up visits before he would let me do a proper exam. When I did, I found a large misalignment of the top bone in his neck. I corrected the misalignment, and took the pressure off the brainstem. What happened over the next three months brings tears to my eyes as I write this now.
Three months into care, and he would walk in the door, look me in the eye, and tell me what he had done that day. He would then come straight to me, and give me a hug. He had usually come from Chick Fil A where he ate chicken nuggets. The diapers were long gone, and he was as calm as could be. It was a near miraculous improvement.
If your child is suffering from SPD, I urge you to have their upper neck checked to find out if they can be helped through upper cervical chiropractic. The adjustment is gentle with no twisting or turning, and we have a long track-record of helping these precious children better adapt to life. If you live in the area we offer a free consultation to see if they can be helped. If you live elsewhere or have a friend or family member in another state I would be more than happy to find a qualified Upper Cervical provider for them. Call 239-243-8810 today for your free consultation at Upper Cervical Health Centers of Fort Myers!
Dr. Lee Angle
Dr. Lee Angle is originally from southern West Virginia. After having his life changed through Upper Cervical Care he chose to pursue it as a career. He has been practicing Upper Cervical Chiropractic for over nine years. Dr. Angle previously worked as a certified personal trainer. This background allows him to educate his patients on proper movement and exercises to speed their recovery and enhance their Upper Cervical Care.