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Care of Concussions

Boy in football gear.

Concussions are becoming increasingly common, especially among school-age athletes. It has been estimated that there are up to 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States each year. Concussions are problematic as, by definition, a concussive injury involves some degree of trauma to the brain. A concussion injury literally jolts the brain, causing this precious organ to bounce against the bony walls of the skull. The violence of the blow directly determines the degree and extent of brain cell damage. Importantly, any person can experience a concussion from having sustained a blow to the head. Falls are commonly implicated in a concussion history, especially in those who run or walk for exercise and may trip over a crack in the sidewalk or a hidden tree root on a trail, as well as in the elderly.

In 2013, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) issued its latest update on the Evaluation and Management of Concussion in Sports. The update, representing a summary of evidence-based guidelines, referenced several standardized symptom checklists including the Standardized Assessment of Concussion and the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale/Graded Symptom Checklist, both of which had moderate to high sensitivity and specificity in identifying sports-related concussions when administered soon after a suspected concussion. In 2013, the AAN also published Concussion During Sports Activities, a summary of evidence-based guidelines for patients and their families. The AAN documents note that concussion symptoms include headaches, dizziness, double vision, confusion, sensitivity to light or sound, and nausea and vomiting. Signs of a concussion that others can observe include slurred speech, changes in balance and coordination, a blank stare, and behavior and personality changes.

Concussion resolution may be evaluated by use of standardized checklists and return to age-matched normative values regarding cognitive performance and physiological function, as well as neurocognitive testing. An athlete who has sustained a concussion should not return to play/practice until her or his physician has assessed that the athlete is asymptomatic, the concussion has resolved, and the athlete is off medication.

Once a patient's concussion has resolved, chiropractic care can provide substantial assistance. A blow to the head necessarily involves trauma to the neck vertebras (cervical spine) and regional muscles, tendons, and ligaments. As well, an injury significant enough to cause a concussion can also cause damage to the spinal nerves in the neck. Such trauma can cause nerve irritation and interfere with the normal motion of the cervical spine. Spinal dysfunction and nerve irritation/interference can then cause a range of pain symptoms and altered physiological function, not only in the neck and shoulder region but also in other locations and other systems such as the gastrointestinal, immune, and endocrine systems.

By beginning or continuing regular chiropractic care once concussion symptoms have resolved, a post-concussion patient can obtain treatment that will help ensure that her or his spinal column and nerve system are functioning at peak capacity. In this way, regular chiropractic care helps post-concussion patients achieve and maintain optimal levels of health and well-being.

  1. Broglio SP, et al: National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Management of Sport Concussion. J Athletic Train 49(2):245-265, 2014
  2. American Academy of Neurology: Update: Evaluation and Management of Concussion in Sports, 2013 — https://www.aan.com/Guidelines/Home/GetGuidelineContent/583
  3. American Academy of Neurology: Concussion During Sports Activities: Summary of Evidence-based Guidelines to Patients and Their Families, 2013 — https://www.aan.com/Guidelines/Home/GetGuidelineContent/586

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Testimonials

Reviews From our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Potts is amazing! He is patient and kind. He fixed my upper back pain in one session! He is one of the best!"
    Cindy D.
  • "Dr. Potts works his magic to save me from my back pain. I would recommend him to anyone needing pain relief."
    Todd S.
  • "Dr. Potts is great, he took my husband in on a new patient unscheduled Saturday afternoon visit. As fast as I could make the call Dr Potts answered the call and was just about to leave for the day, Dr Potts dropped everything to see that my husband received the care he needed. My husband has been in pain for months and now with the care from Dr Potts he is on his way to feeling better and truly understanding what is causing his pain. Thank you again Dr Potts."
    Jeri F.
  • "What a patient and kind man. I went in as a walk-in after attempting to do a summersault and really hurting my neck. He got me in quickly and was very nice and helpful. He works very quickly and I was shocked by how many people he could get through in the matter of a couple minutes while still giving everyone a personalized experience and answering everyone's questions with a caring and very professional demeanor. He is very respectful of other chiropractors you have gone too and very welcoming of a team approach to healing. He is very well educated...He fixed an injury I have suffered with for four years in seconds because of some post doctoral training he had taken that all the other chiropractors and doctors I had been to for it had no knowledge of. He is also very gentle and explains everything he is going to do before he does it. If you want a personalized experience from a very knowledgeable doctor with an impeccable bed side manner, this is the place for you!"
    Mandee G.
  • "Dr Potts is truly amazing! I was scared because I have never been to a chiropractor. My upper back was in intense pain I couldn't sleep. I made my appointment Sunday and came in on Monday. It is now Wednesday and I feel almost no pain! He was very kind and took care of my upper back. I am now going to be a loyal patient from now on! Thank you so much Dr. Potts!"
    Cindy L.
  • "Dr. Potts is a great guy. I was totally comfortable with him and the way he treated me from the first time I visited him. Amazing how much better I feel after an occasional visit with him.

    He's not the first chiropractor that I've been to in Reno, but I do get the sense from him that he wouldn't 'over treat' you as some chiropractors try to do. So, I go back to him as needed."
    JR F.
  • "Went in for serious pain and extreme difficulty breathing he immediately could tell I had a rib that had popped out, he popped it right back in with no pain and I could finally breath again. His prices are affordable and he is very descriptive with what he is doing to fix the issue which I completely appreciate, I believe it I have walked out of plenty of doctors offices not realizing what they did to fix the problem. Thank you!"
    Michelle C.
  • "I had one of those irritating, painful pinched nerves that just wasn't going away. Decided to go to a chiro for help. Got referred to Dr Potts by a friend and frankly, liked the 'deal' he offered for first time customers. Happy in my selection! Not only did he take care of making me feel better quickly...he was professional, highly courteous and no bs (you know..how some chiro's tell you you need to come back 4 times a wk for months to fix your 'serious' problem? (My past experience anyway!) I did go back a couple of times to get back to 'normal' mobility...and will go back again next time I need a good back crack! Felt 100% comfortable w/Dr Potts skills and expertise!"
    Sierra K.
  • "Went in for an on the job injury to my shoulder. He's extremely knowledgeable and easy to work with. My shoulder is already better and he showed me the right way to sleep etc. so it can heal correctly."
    Hawkins C.