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!
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.