Can Concussions Cause Lingering Headaches and Migraines?

Can concussions cause lingering headaches and vertigo?

Concussions and Other Head Traumas

For years NUCCA doctors have been asking patients if they have a history of head and neck injuries including, car accidents, falls, times where they have been knocked unconscious, had a concussion or stitches to their head.

Why?

When accidents and injuries tear loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in place it creates a weakness, which allows the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position.

The area of  the body that is the most vulnerable to injury and has the most far reaching effects is the upper neck.  The top bone in the spine,  the atlas sits right underneath the skull and when the tissues around it become stretched and damaged the weight of the head will be shifted from center.

Once the position of the head is altered the position of the eyes and ears is altered as well.  The brain will initiate a reflex called the righting reflex in order to balance the eyes and the semicircular canals in the ears with the horizon.

The problem is now the head is slightly off center and the spine must adapt to that position by twisting and turning the remaining structure of the spine.  This will lead to tilting of the shoulders, the hips and imbalance all the way down to the legs leading to an unequal distribution of weight.

Body imbalance can lead to a variety of different health problems, but frequently has the same root cause…

The original head or neck injury created a misalignment of the Atlas bone at the base of the skull which led to the subsequent problems with the structure of the body, nerve and blood flow from the brain to the body.

Concussion Research

Here is a great example from a research article published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ January 6, 2011

A 23-year-old female patient presented for upper cervical chiropractic care five months after a slip and fall that resulted in a concussion.  The patient presented with symptoms of vertigo and headaches consistent with post concussion syndrome.  The patient had a longstanding history of headaches that were exacerbated by the concussion and a new complaint of positional vertigo that occurred immediately following the trauma.  Significant body imbalances were noted including a leg length difference.  Specific Upper Cervical X-rays demonstrated an upper cervical misalignment.

She began to receive Upper Cervical Chiropractic care and the headache and vertigo was gone immediately following the first adjustment. Post X-Ray evaluation showed a significant improvement in the alignment of the head and neck.  The follow up examination the following day revealed a significant decrease in muscles spasm in the neck and the legs were balanced.

The patient’s care was continued on a frequency of twice per month for evaluations and progress monitoring. She continued to report a complete resolution of vertigo and a significant improvement in the headaches as well.

Who do you know that has had a concussion?  Do they have a chronic health problem?  Is there a connection to the upper neck?

Only an upper cervical specialist could tell you for sure.

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Dr. Craig Lapenski and Dr. Martha Schenk of Advanced Spinal Care, in Graham, Washington are your Graham NUCCA Specialists trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Their upper cervical clinic also serves Puyallup, Tacoma, Olympia, and Sumner. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, fibromyalgia, vertigo, neck and back pain, and more. More information can be found on our website at http://www.nuccawashington.com/

References:

Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ January 6, 2011

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care of a Patient with Post Concussion Syndrome, Positional Vertigo and Headaches

Alisha Mayheu DC & Matthew Sweat DC