Post Concussion Syndrome

Symptoms by body part:

Orbit (Eye)
difficulty reading
difficulty riding in a vehicle
Visual Changes
Frontal Sinus/Cranium (Head)
Disconnected Feeling
Dizziness
Inattention
Lack of Focus
short-term memory issues
Spatial Orientation defecit
Occipital region (Base of Skull)
Headache Pain

Post Concussion Syndrome, PCS, is a mild or Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI, which often occurs after an injury associated with trauma to the head or neck.  It isn’t required for a patient to notice loss of consciousness, as PCS often occurs without initial presenting symptoms and is not necessarily dependent upon severity of the initial injury.  Symptoms of headache, dizziness/vertigo, and brain fog are often major associations.  Patients often become very plastic, or efficient in brain pathways that should not be utilized.  Therefore, we must detect these aberrant pathways and restore neuroplasticity to the healthy pathways.  If not treated appropriately, patients can get frontal and temporal lobe demise via Tau protein and B-Amyloid deposits which have led many individuals to changes in behavior, violence or suicide. 

Symptoms:

  • Headache, often at the base of the skull, behind the ears or traveling forward into the temples/eyes
  • Pain or stiffness in the neck, often along the spine and the muscles along the sides
  • Vertigo/dizziness/light-headed
  • Difficulty reading
  • Spatial awareness difficulty
  • Disconnected feeling
  • Lack of concentration/focus/memory
  • Headache, pain, dizziness or blurriness during eye movements or focusing on an object
  • Postural changes, shoulder blade tightness/discomfort

Who is susceptible:

  • Athletes (including kids in school)
  • Whiplash during Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Injuries sustained during otherwise normal Activities of Daily Living
  • Falls
  • Injury sustained to the head, severity does not often dictate PCS severity

Testing consists of a complete Functional Neurological and Chiropractic Neurological evaluation, often including videonystagmography (VNG) testing which will determine specific parts of the brain and nervous system whose normal patterns of signaling and function have become affected.  We will then analyze the data and determine a treatment plan that best suits the particular dysfunction occurring. 

VNG is a computerized test that analyzes patient optokinetics in many different planes of eye movements.  These eye movements are directly controlled by specific parts of the brain, and give us a window into the function, or lack thereof, in those regions.  The patient is required to wear a pair of infrared goggles that measure finite movements of the eyes and pupils, undetectable through normal examination.  We can then determine very specific eye movements to restore normal patterns of brain function and create healthy neuroplasticity, or connections within brain matter.   

Other treatments involve:

  • Chiropractic adjustments to restore function of the neck and suboccipital region, which are often affected with head injury and result in headaches and neck stiffness
  • Physical Rehabilitation to restore strength and muscle symmetry as well as postural changes
  • Muscle stimulation and cold laser therapy to reduce muscle tension, inflammation, asymmetry and promote healing
  • Neurological rehab to re-connect brain and cervical spine signaling, often associated with headaches, vertigo/dizziness, spatial awareness issues, disconnected feelings
  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitative stretching to retrain muscle groups and improve feedback to the brain (afferentation)

It is important to be evaluated after these types of injuries.  Early prevention is can helpful, but not always necessary.  As the only Chiropractic Neurologists in Maine, the doctors at Portland Chiropractic Neurology are highly trained in these areas and treat many individuals with Post Concussion Syndrome on a regular basis with excellent results in most cases.