The Concussion & Whiplash Connection

Posted on October 4, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Children, Chiropractic, Health, injury, rebuild, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , |

football-playerBy Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

 

Head injuries can happen in a variety of ways and are more prevalent in activities that involve a lot of physical movement.  Playing an aggressive sport like football, soccer, wrestling, or any such type; one is bound to get knocked or bounced around a bit.  Following a hard hit to the head is a possible concussion.  A person can bounce back normally from a low-grade concussion but there are warning signs to look for and keep in mind:

Nausea and vomiting
Headache
Blurred vision
Dizziness
Lethargic and slow to move
Unable to concentrate or remember
Balancing or coordination problems
Slurred speech
Ringing in the ears

With these symptoms there is some varying degree of concussion experienced and should be looked over by a physician to be on the safe side. Simply put, the impact on the head causes the brain to bang against the inside of the skull and create swelling or trauma.  The extra pressure can lead to cognitive impairment and some of the symptoms seen.  Something else that is often overlooked is the neck trauma.  If a person gets concussed, they often get whiplashed.  Sometimes with a hit, the head snaps which jerks the neck back and forth.  Maybe there’s a fall, so there could be a twist in there too.  So, the secondary damage is what happens within the neck area.

Recently I had a patient who took quite a hard fall and had symptoms of a grade 1 concussion but also had a quite painful neck afterwards.  Often the neck or back issue isn’t felt until after the concussion settles down.  Even if the concussion problem heals, there can still be a problem in the neck which could last for several days or even months.   With whiplash, such as in an auto accident, if the person is young and healthy, there could be damage up to a point but if you deal with a slightly older individual, who has an arthritic neck and their joints don’t fit or align properly, their tissues and muscles are less elastic and they are likely to be damaged far more seriously.

Chiropractic care and acupuncture can be very helpful.  It is important to gently work and mobilize the neck and examine for proper function and proper movement very carefully.  The upper back should also be checked because a certain amount of neck pain often originates from the upper back.  All the muscles and tissues are connected to one another so we work with the upper back to make sure the spine, joints, and muscles are working properly because they are the base that the neck sits upon.  The acupuncture can help with relaxation of the injured muscles helping reduce inflammation and being able to help with decreasing pain as well.

Accidents happen, it’s a part of life, but getting the proper treatment and care is an important step which shouldn’t be missed.

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Is your child overworked with sports? Take the right precautions to prevent injury and keep them healthy!

Posted on October 13, 2015. Filed under: Children, Chiropractic, Exercise, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

drgregportrait1

By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Pressures to succeed are considerable where children are in multiple or select sports exercising and practicing at a fairly very high level, often 6-7 times weekly.  Every child’s body is by constitution, different, and some bodies are better suited and more adaptable for excessive exercise and muscle strain than others.  Whether it be practicing gymnastics at an elite level, working out as much as 30 hours per week or select soccer or football, the repetitive movements these children go through can begin to show on their bodies.  The trouble is that even though kids are still pliable, springy and flexible, their bodies are still growing and they still need to repair and recover.   When an individual works out and exercises, there’s always a little bit of breaking down the muscle, but then the body needs to repair itself.

Problems stem from when the demands exceed the re-cooperation.  It’s similar to taking money from the bank but not putting it back in, it’s always running on a deficit. This can be done for a while, but eventually, it needs to be paid back.

I’ve worked with many young athletes, one being a 15 year old, very talented and motivated soccer player with persistent back pain.  He had worked out so much with the same repetitive motions that finally his back gave.  His back just wouldn’t get better and it mystified a lot of people. What he had was a stress fracture on his spine.  In his case, he had to completely stop the sport for a while and then rehab it.  He eventually was able to get back to it and it fortunately wasn’t a “career ending” injury, but if he had kept on, it could’ve turned for the worse.

There’s a fine line between working and overworking.  What happens eventually is that in the early teens, those children who have worked so hard for years, start to show damage and stress patterns.  Kids are exuberant; they have a good repair capacity and if they overwork it, it’s a bit more forgiving because they are still growing.  They have growth hormone and testosterone so they’ll repair up to a point.

To fix this situation, 1st there’s evaluation.  Even kids can break.  They are not supposed to have long term pain but short term pains aren’t uncommon:  growing pains, strains & sprains, etc… But if they complain about the same area week after week, there’s most likely a problem there, possibly ligament or bone issue of some kind.  The 2nd thing to look for is crooked posture, not just the slouch, but one shoulder or one hip higher than the other.  Watch them walk and observe if one foot is out or in more than the other one.   Helping correct these things on a child may take a short amount of work, but once they’ve grown and had the issue for years, the work required to reverse it could be extensive.

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