Let's Talk About Concussions

Dec 07, 2021

What is a concussion? The ICD-10 is a system of codes that we as practitioners use to diagnose injuries and ailments. According to this system a concussion is categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury. It is mild in that it is usually not life threatening. However, symptoms can be debilitating.

You do not necessarily have to have an impact to your head to result in a concussion. A concussion happens when the head and the body move in such a great force to cause shear of the brain inside the skull. Every concussion comes with a whiplash injury as a result. They have the same mechanism of injury: acceleration. The symptoms are often the same as well.

Diagnosis is primarily based on symptoms because an MRI will usually be normal following a concussion.

Physical symptoms

Emotional and Cognitive symptoms


Anxiety and depression


Irritability and aggression


Moodiness, restlessness

Light and sound sensitivity

Personality changes

Balance and coordination deficits

Brain fog

Sleep difficulty

Trouble with concentration and recall

Double or blurry vision

Confusion, clumsiness

Nausea, vomiting

Delays in information processing

How long can concussion symptoms last? The prognosis can vary. Approximately 30% of concussions will have long lasting symptoms without treatment. For majority of adults symptoms resolve in 10-14 days (2-4 weeks in kids). People who have persistent symptoms are diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. On average it has been shown that there is an ATP deficit for at least 30 days following the injury. ATP is the chemical source that our cells utilize for energy. After a concussion there are so many neurons that need this ATP that the supply rapidly declines. This leads to a big energy deficit. The problem is that as your body is requiring more energy, a concussion makes it harder for the body to produce it. More on that in a future blog.

Many people don’t realize that there IS treatment for post-concussion syndrome. Rest is actually detrimental after 3 days. Exercise improves cognitive, blood flow and metabolic responses required for healing and recovery. Treatment is not limited to physical therapy. We first work on decreasing stresses that are inhibiting the appropriate nervous system activation. We then work on decreasing inflammation, globally. Nutrition, sleep and diet are important in hormone management and improving blood flow. No longer is the recommendation to keep the injured person awake! Lastly, we initiate rehab. Treatment should address cervical mobility and whiplash symptoms. We also incorporate vestibular rehab to improve the brain-eye-body communication to decrease dizziness and improve balance and coordination. Our integrative approach to treatment here at Arvada Sport and Spine combines chiropractic, physical therapy and medical care to allow you to work on every aspect of your recovery all at once. Please contact us with any questions or to schedule an evaluation.

Sources: Concussionalliance.org, Concussion Doc, Choosept.com

Category: Concussions