Concussion Management: Healing The Brain to heal the pain


This article should by no means be used as a basis to diagnose or treat an individual following a concussion. Please collaborate with a healthcare provider, certified trainer, and/or teacher in developing an appropriate care plan.

In 2014, Concussions or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) killed about 57,000 people with 2,500 being among children; and those are the numbers for death alone. Approximately 812,000 children were treated in the US for concussion or TBI, and this number doesn’t even reflect the number of people that go undiagnosed for not seeking care. With seeing so many accidents and injuries that can lead to a concussion or TBI, we at Optimal Chiropractic want you to be a little more informed in regards to the symptoms, mechanism of injury, and possible treatment options.


According to the CDC some of the symptoms for a concussion may include:

  1. Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
  2. Appears dazed or stunned.
  3. Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  4. Moves clumsily.
  5. Answers questions slowly.
  6. Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  7. Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.
Can I still have a concussion even though I didn’t hit my head?

“Concussions are usually caused by a blow to the head. Violently shaking the head and upper body also can cause concussions.” – Mayo Clinic

Possible Action Steps for Recovery


Following a concussion, an individual needs to rest for 2-3 days. Any injured body part needs rest; including your brain! This includes all physical and mental activities such as sports, schoolwork, reading, and blue light devices. All blue light devices include anything with a screen such as phones, tablets, TVs, and smart watches (Note: Study has shown that blue light filter setting on devices isn’t as effective as using a physical filter). Kids should not return to physical activity or sports the same day as the incident. Work with a healthcare provider in developing a Return-To-Play or Return-To-Work strategy.


Supplying the injured body part with the necessary building blocks can be beneficial to recovery. When you injure your muscle you take protein, when you injure your brain you take fatty acids! Research has shown that taking Omega-3s can be beneficial in cases of brain injury.

There are some concerns in regards to Omega-3’s slight blood thinning properties. However, research shows that this effect is insignificant and that patients even improve better when given omega-3’s during surgery!
For other foods that are great for the brain, check out our list of Brain Foods.


When you get injured you usually go through physical therapy to rehabilitate the muscles with exercises. The same is true for the brain, when you injure your brain you need to rehab it. According to research and Psychology Today, Neurofeedback can be a great tool to rehabilitate, to retrain the brain. The brain is mapped using Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG). In other words brain activity is assessed with an electrode cap AKA skull cap to determine any abnormalities in brain waves. For treatment the patient plays a game to improve the deficient or abnormal brain waves. As your brain gets stronger, the game gets easier.


As technology advances the idea of using light and lasers like a dermal regenerator to heal injured tissue doesn’t seem so farfetched. Multi-watt near-infrared light therapy has been shown to help with tissue repair or photobiomodulation. Although the mechanism is not completely understood, light therapy is believed to affect tissues at the cellular and biochemical level.

NUCCA / National Upper Cervical (Neck) Chiropractic Association

Often overlooked is the neck region following a concussion. About 95 G’s (amount of force measured) of impact occur during a concussion, while only 4 G’s occur during whiplash like motion to the neck. During this kind of traumatic force, microtears to the connective tissues (ligaments, tendons, and muscles) can occur, allowing for the atlas (most movable bone in the spine and top of the neck) to shift out of normal alignment.


This shifting of the atlas, known as an Atlas Displacement Complex, can cause similar symptoms seen in a concussion and can affect recovery. An Atlas Displacement Complex can only be corrected through precise and specific adjusting of the atlas bone.

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X-rays are used to determine the pattern of misalignment and the correction vector. Since the atlas bone is also close in proximity to certain neurological balancing centers in the brainstem, shifting and correction of its position can affect the overall structure of the body (shoulder level, hip level, and head tilt).

Concussions are more common and complex than we know as they can some very important neurological structures. Getting help for a concussion should not be taken lightly as it can have a huge impact on our day to day functions. The longer the recovery time, the increase in likelihood of Post Concussion Syndrome. So if you’ve had a concussion and are experiencing changes in your body structure (head tilt, hip level, shoulder level, unconsciously leaning to the left or right), then consider getting checked for an atlas displacement complex.

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