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Brain Awareness Week - Battling against conditions of the brain

Treating concussions


Ending Brain Awareness Week, I thought I would talk about one of my passions - hockey - and the serious topic of concussions (they can also happen in other areas of our lives, such as car accidents or falls).


We’ve seen a lot of change in the National Hockey League and how they are responding to the serious topic around concussions. It’s no wonder given the documented negative effects it can have on health and wellness overall.


We all aim to play safely when we strap on our skates, but this common traumatic brain injury can happen. When in doubt, get checked out by your doctor right away. Concussions are tricky because symptoms can change. It’s best to get to a medical professional even if you only suspect you may have a concussion. It’s also not a bad idea to get a second or third opinion on the diagnosis - it is your brain, after all.


Follow recovery protocols properly. Listen to your health professional and have a plan in place for proper care. The time frame and care plan will be dependent on the severity of the concussion, your health and your age. Here’s a great article from the Canadian Chiropractic Association on this topic.


Given the buzz around concussions, there’s a new form of treatment of chiropractic care called “chiropractic neurology”. Dr. Jennifer Illes, DC, writes about it in this article. With proper diagnosis of a full cervical spine exam, and neurological and cognitive tests, it can be safe and beneficial to apply adjustments to a patient suffering from a concussion. She also discusses how adjustments collectively alongside movement, nutrition and exercise are combined “to re-establish balance as well as maximal brain and nervous system functionality”.


Many chiropractors, including myself, work with other healthcare professionals to support their patients through the process to recovery. We are also trained to see signs that might be associated with a concussion. We can then talk with our patient and provide a strong recommendation to speak to their health professional for a thorough examination as soon as possible. We will then talk to our patient, refer them to the proper health professional for a thorough examination, if necessary, and co-manage their case.


One common post-concussion diagnosis in particular that we help treat are migraines. It's more than a headache, it's a debilitating pain that can cause light and sound sensitivities and sometimes even nausea. Chiropractic care has been shown to help alleviate by decreasing the intensity and frequency felt from a migraine.


At the end of the day, we should all be working together to keep hockey a fun, safe game for everyone involved to try and mitigate these serious injuries in the first place.

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