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POST-CONCUSSION SYNDROME

Beyond Concussion: How to recognize and treat

  • The majority of Traumatic Brain Injury cases resolve within one week to one month

  • After 1 month of persistent symptoms, Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) is likely to be present

 WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. The brain can bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells. You do NOT need to “get knocked out” to sustain a concussion.

Even though concussions are called mild, do not let that fool you… all concussions are serious. (https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_whatis.html)

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Evidence of a concussion can go beyond the physical and persist in virtually all aspects of a patient’s mental function. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Physical: Headache, dizziness, balance problems, sensitivity to noise/light, nausea/vomiting, blurry vision, fatigue, general body aches, etc.
  • Cognitive: Difficulty thinking clearly, feeling slowed down, difficulty concentrating, can’t remember new information easily
  • Emotional/Mood: Irritability, anxiety, mood swings
  • Sleep: Sleeping more or less than usual, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

STANDARD MEDICAL PROTOCOLS

  • Physical Rest: No physical exertion or sports activities until symptoms are resolved
  • Brain Rest: Limited TV, reading, phone use, video games and school work/school days
  • Medication: Symptom relief with Tylenol/acetominophen for body aches and headaches, or Triptan class of drugs for migraine headaches

WHEN TO CONSIDER POST-CONCUSSION SYNDROME

Roughly 20 – 30% of people who sustain a concussion are NOT successful in eliminating symptoms within a month using standard medical protocols. Warning signs that Post-Concussion Syndrome may be present include:

  • One-plus months of the persistent presence of ANY concussive symptoms listed above
  • Worsening of symptoms at any time

HEALTH QUEST PCS TREATMENT OPTIONS

All Health Quest treatments for Post-Concussion Syndrome are non-drug, non-surgical and are safe to be used in conjunction with the majority of concurrent medical therapies.  They can include:

  • Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) and Ocular Rehabilitation therapy: Treats persistent symptoms of dizziness, headache, poor balance/coordination and visual dysfunction
  • Non-invasive neuromodulation: A research-based, peer-reviewed treatment using vagus nerve stimulation, among others, that calms overactive nerves and stimulates underactive nerves to strengthen/modulate neural pathways associated with head pain and balance/dizziness
  • Motion Guidance: Trains proprioception
  • Physical Therapy/Manual Therapy: Helps decrease spasm, improve range of motion and increase stability
  • Nutraceutical Interventions: Decreases persistent neuroinflammation in the brain with natural supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin and resveratrol.

MORE INFORMATION

Diagnosis and prescribed treatment programs at Health Quest are performed by Dr. Sean Grady, DC with PT privileges, CFMP, DACNB. Dr. Grady holds the prestigious Diplomate from the American Chiropractic Neurology Board (DACNB), certifying him as a Functional Neurologist and allowing him to provide, in simple terms, brain rehab for those suffering from a variety of neurological conditions. These conditions include headache/migraine, vertigo/dizziness, stroke, neuropathy, concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. 

Dr. Grady is also certified as a whiplash and soft tissue injury specialist through the Whiplash Injury Biomechanics and Traumatology program at the Spine Research Institute of San Diego and is pursuing dual Fellowship certification in both Concussion/MTBI and Vestibular Rehabilitation from the American College of Functional Neurology. He is the only certified Functional Neurologist in a 40-mile radius of the Baltimore metropolitan area.

Typically, a Functional Neurologist serves in the same consulting manner as a Medical Neurologist. The difference is that the therapies or applications of a Functional Neurologist do not include drugs or surgery. The treatments are brain-based and follow the principles of neuroplasticity, the notion that the nervous system can change according to the stimulation it is exposed to.

As mentioned above, although the Functional Neurology model does not employ medication or surgery, Dr. Grady will work with other medical providers and specialists to ensure a cooperative and integrative approach to every patient’s health goals.