CHIROPRACTIC & FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGY
The Veterans Administration just launched a new app that everyone should check into – yes, everyone. If you are or know someone who participates in any sport (especially contact sports), download “Concussion Coach.” Recent statistics show that 4 to 5 million concussions occur annually, with rising numbers among middle school athletes. An estimated 5.3 million Americans live with a traumatic brain injury-related disability (CDC). Concussion Coach provides a good definition of concussions, symptoms, and general advice – and the app is free! However, the most important information in this app could easily be overlooked. The VA recommends that individuals should get a pre-concussion baseline.
Downloading the app is just the beginning. If you really want to be prepared for the likelihood of concussion to help mitigate damage to your brain, then you need to establish a good baseline before the season begins. This pre-concussion measurement could be the difference between brain functions being optimally restored and a lifetime of lingering symptoms.
In the event of a concussion, the baseline would provide an
ability to see if the brain returns to pre-concussion levels of integrity. Most
doctors trained in concussion may advise a neuropsychological baseline; I
additionally recommend VNG baselines and balance plate baselines. High level
brain activities are measurable and often change or can be damaged after
Having this done for you or your player is not expensive, and it is nice to have tucked away in a file just in case they suffer a concussion. Did you know that 90% of diagnosed concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness?
A properly trained health care specialist should be able to
provide a good baseline assessment for you. Before you schedule your
assessment, be sure to ask what diagnostic tools they have and whether they are
able to conduct and assess the results in their office. The assessment should
include measurement (preferably with VNG) to include accuracy, speed, and
latency of eye movements. The balance plate scores should be appropriate to the
age of the individual. With research level pressure plates, a measure of the
brain’s ability to know the body’s position in space can be obtained. This too,
is a high level of brain function that is usually disturbed with concussion.
Read about the pre-concussion baseline services that Hudson Spinal Health & Wellness can provide.
Yes, even if you have already suffered a concussion, you can still benefit from these assessments. We have found that these tests are still very helpful for those who didn’t have a benefit of a pre-concussion baseline. They can give us insight and direction in care for many patients who come into our office post-concussion who are still having issues sometimes years after the injury. In fact, many who did not know they had ever suffered a concussion discover some concussive brain damage through these diagnostics.
Conventional treatment is to monitor and rest, and then let your brain compensate. Our approach is to evaluate to see if the brain is acting in full functional integrity after the rest period and then work toward repairing damage that can be rehabilitated. Remember, not everyone’s injuries will be the same, so the one-size-fits all approach doesn’t work.