In the past decade they has been an increased awareness towards cerebral concussion and its debilitating effects on its victims. Nevertheless, many cases are under diagnosed and care protocols are not respected.

What is a Cerebral Concussion?

A cerebral concussion can be caused by a direct or indirect blow to the head. This means even if the head does not directly hit something you can still suffer from a concussion. For example, someone can suffer whiplash during a car accident. A concussion occurs when the brain hits, at high speed, the internal wall of your skull. This can cause internal bleeding, bruising and damage to the nervous tissue, increased intracranial pressure or fluid accumulation. Ironically, a brain concussion (bruising) is not really painful.


Let me explain: the brain is responsible for analyzing all sensation information from the rest of the body but our brain is deprived of pain receptors, therefore unable to feel pain. However, the increase of intracranial pressure can be painful and need immediate assistance. Someone that recently had a concussion might also suffer from musculoskeletal pain in the neck or else where.

Recognize the Symptoms of a Concussion.

Between 5 and 10% of athletes will suffer from at least one cerebral concussion in their careers.  Those figures increase to between 15 and 20% when we focus only on contact sport like hockey or football.

Some common symptoms of cerebral concussion includes:

  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Flickering light level vision
  • Concentration disorders
  • Difficulty in school
  • Depression
  • Amnesia

These signs of a concussion should be taken seriously to prevent long-term consequences.

Management of Cerebral Concussion

As soon as someone shows signs of a concussion or if they have suffered a major impact with or without loss of consciousness a neurological assessment is required. A health care professional, such as your chiropractor, will determine the severity of the concussion and help you establish a care plan including a plan to return to your normal activities.  If we do not take care of the symptoms early on and if you should have another accident resulting in a concussion, the symptoms can be worse than the first episode.  With each new concussion the symptoms are multiplied.

Back To Game – Post Concussion

According to the Zurich Consensus (November 2012), an athlete has to complete these 5 steps before returning to the game.

  1. Physical and mental rest period until the disappearance of symptoms.
  2. Resumption of light aerobic exercises without resistance (walking, swimming) with a low intensity (70% of the max heart rate).
  3. Return to slight muscle activity start of training.
  4. Return to training more intense but contactless
  5. Return to complete training with contact (please make sure it is a respectful contact)
  6. Back to the Game

If at one time or another, the athlete has a return of symptoms he/she must start over at step 1.

Chiropractic Monitoring

Chiropractic is an essential tool for any athlete with or without a concussion.  Your Doctor of Chiropractic is able to help with existing injuries or if you want to improve sports performances. Some of the best athletes in the world, like Sydney Crosby or Usain Bolts include Chiropractors as part of their health teams.  Do you have a chiropractor on your health and wellness team?

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