A concussion is when the brain becomes injured due to being slammed around inside the skull. Concussions are typically caused by a blow to the head but can also stem from being severely shaken and depending on the severity of the damage, the concussion can last from a few days to weeks.
Unfortunately, in many cases those who are diagnosed with a concussion are not treated for damage or injury to the neck. If a force is great enough to move your head (which is 10 to 14 pounds) then it is more than great enough to shift the vertebrae it sits upon (which is only three ounces in comparison). The shifting of the neck vertebrae is considered a misalignment and it can have serious repercussions for the body.
Your spine protects your spinal cord, which is an intricate system of nerves that are responsible for all of the communication to your body. It controls your immune system, emotions, vision, hearing, balance, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, muscle tension, hormones, and every other function; all of which can be disrupted when the vertebrae in your spine.
Common side effects of a misalignment are headaches and back/neck pain, but a misalignment can cause more severe issues throughout the body. A shifted vertebra causes the rest of the body to shift as well in order to compensate for the imbalance of the weight of the head. The spine can become twisted and the hip can raise on only one side which can cause pain through the lower half of the body and can make bending or lifting difficult. A shifted hip can result in one leg to shorten while the other lengthen, leading to abnormal movements and unnecessary wear on the body. The stress of a misalignment in the spine can cause an illness to take hold in an affected individual. A single concussion can have many repercussions throughout one’s body, especially if it is not fully treated.
Another major concern is pressure around the brain and brain stem which can result in a severe interference in nerve transmission. This can manifest as a wide range of symptoms and health problems, one of which that can affect the dura matter. The dura matter is the sack that surrounds the brain, the brain stem, and the spinal cord; it is connected to the skull and inside the top two vertebrae (called the Atlas and the Axis) in the neck. From the Atlas and the Axis, the dura matter continues down the spinal cord, hanging loosely around the spinal cord until it balloons around the bottom of the spine.
Inside the dura matter, is a fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (CFS) that serves as a cushion around the brain and spinal cord. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced in the brain and then fills up in the balloon-like dura matter around the brain and spinal cord. CFS is continuously produced and replenished by the brain. After a concussion, a misalignment is common; it is also very detrimental to your dura matter and the CFS held within.
A misalignment can twist the dura matter closed, sealing off the bottom half of the dura matter like a balloon animal. The problem with this is, the brain will continue to make cerebrospinal fluid. With the bottom half of the dura matter cut off, the cerebrospinal fluid will fill up around the brain while the CFS depletes around the spinal cord. This will create an immense pressure build up around the brain which can cause headaches, migraines, dizziness, impaired cognitive abilities, and even emotional and behavioral issues. In severe cases, the pressure around the brain can build up above the brain, pushing it down into the opening of the skull where the brain stem exits the skull.
It is important that you seek additional care from an Upper Cervical Doctor after being diagnosed with a concussion. An Upper Cervical Doctor is a chiropractor who specializes in the upper two vertebrae in the spine, the Atlas and the Axis; the vertebrae in your neck on which your head sits.