It’s back to school time, and that means sports, physicals, and more sports. If you haven’t had your concussion baseline testing performed yet, then it is time to be tested!
Now, more on Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS).
Post Concussion Syndrome is a more recent diagnosis that has allowed us to describe multiple symptoms wrapped up into one unfortunate bouquet that consists of: Dizziness, Vertigo, Imbalance, Headaches, Migraines, Neck Pain, Confusion, Irritability, Slower Processing, Word Retrieval and Memory Issues. These are to name a few and are a result of mild traumatic brain injury. The difficulty with this condition is that it is rarely observed by anyone but the patient. Simply stated, you cannot see PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) on a patient, or on MRI/xray, or in blood work, but they can certainly feel it. It can be very frustrating and difficult to understand for them as they can sometimes not explain why their brain isn’t working properly to their friends and family who may notice changes in behavior. Therefore, over the past 30 years we have been developing the field of Functional Neurology, which allows us to observe and assess functioning of the patient’s eye movements, body patterns, symptoms, reflexes, autonomic function (blood pressure, heart rate), gait and much more to accurately assess what is happening in the brain, as these are all under cognitive control.
The answer lies in the field of Neuroplasticity, or how our brain changes for better, or worse. That’s right, the brain CAN change. Neuroplasticity allows us to retrain poor signaling and patterns within the brain that have become “disconnected.” A great video that illustrates this is seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELpfYCZa87g ,provided by a wonderful company known as Sentis. In Functional Neurology, we locate these dysfunctional regions of the brain and retrain them at the appropriate signal/pattern frequencies, allowing the brain to “remember” and reform normal “connections.” The brain changes itself once the appropriate activation and oxygenation has been provided.
Damage to the Neuroplasticity of our brain occurs when there is an injury to the brain, often in the form of a concussive injury, altering normal synapses, or signals and patterns that make up the circuitry of the brain. If you can imagine a map that suddenly has coffee spilled all over it. It now becomes difficult to discern where you’re potential for getting lost has increased dramatically. This is similar to what happens in the brain during a concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury. When you have a thought, or attempt to retrieve a name or memory, it takes longer to access the information, if at all. The map is fuzzy, or disconnected.
This affects many normal processes of the brain and is known as Post Concussion syndrome. It involves diffuclty controlling emotions, mood, provoking thought, concentration, information processing, fatigue, vertigo, dizziness, headaches, difficulty with school work, neck pain, blurry vision, difficulty tracking objects and reading, along with many others.
The exciting news for you is that we can retrain the brain, creating neuroplasticity in the manner in which your brain was intended to function. Reconnecting synapses, allowing signaling to occur so that processing speeds up and you can think, feel and see clearly.
We retrain this by diagnosing, or locating which region(s) of the brain are involved in the dysfunction associated with your concussion. Similar to how a pot hole on a busy road will alter traffic and create some flat tires along the way (You will understand this analogy if you are from the North), so will the signaling/transmission errors in the brain become apparent during our testing. Once we figure out where the problem is, we can treat it through various neurological rehabilitation techniques, many involving eye movements, reflexes, gait retraining, cognitive tasks and strategies, among many others. This allows us to reconnect all pathways that have become affected during the concussion, essentially creating Neuroplasticity. The brain is like a muscle, you can work it out to increase its strength, or improve Neuroplasticity, or you can let it atrophy and decrease Neuroplasticity.
With proper treatment, we can resolve all symptoms and regain normal signaling within the brain, preventing the possitibiity of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Tau protein production and Beta-Amyloid plaquing that can occur with such injuries, especially when repetitive and can lead to Alzhemier’s and other degenerative conditions of the brain. This is common among athletic sports that maintain head injuries, military, younger athletes, falls, car and bike accidents and general trauma.
Arizona Chiropractic Neurology Center is very special as we are the only Chiropractic Neurology practice in the state of Arizona with the diagnostic tools necessary to properly identify and provide resolution for concussions- located in Chandler. We focus on the Functional Neurological Rehabilitation of Post-Concussion Syndrome, Headaches, Migraines, Dizziness/Vertigo and other symptoms related to this condition. Our team is at the forefront of field of Functional Neurology, achieving much success among many of our patients.