Concussions and Your Neck | Shift Health Center

Concussions and Your Neck | Shift Health Center

Chiropractic Traverse City MI Football Player

In recent years concussions have been everywhere on the news. This is not due to an increase in frequency or it being a newly discovered injury, but because the seriousness and long term implications are only just beginning to be understood. And what we are learning is alarming. Contact our chiropractic clinic in Traverse City for more information.

Largely what has made headlines has been sports-related concussion, but on or off the field, the initial trauma can lead to a cascade of symptoms that include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain and tension
  • Dizziness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Balance difficulty
  • Vestibular dysfunction
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Poor focus and concentration
  • Sleep disturbance

An estimated 1.6 – 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States every year.

There is no proven pill or drug to speed concussion healing.

Scary stuff. And though concussions are nearly always associated with the brain, research is showing strong correlations to associated upper neck injury. One large study states,

“Assessment and treatment of the cervical spine and vestibular system in the presence of persistent dizziness, neck pain, and/or headaches may facilitate functional and symptomatic improvements and shorten recovery.”

Who doesn’t want faster recovery and less symptoms?!

This makes sense as the upper neck is by far the most vulnerable area of the spine, far more vulnerable than the skull itself. In fact, while it takes 60 g’s (g’s meaning ‘G-force” which is a unit of force equal to the force exerted by gravity) to cause a true concussion, it only requires about 4.5 g’s to damage to the upper cervical spine. That means that by the time you have injured your brain, you’ve likely already significantly injured your neck.

Furthermore, athletes who suffer a concussion are 3.79 times more likely to incur muscle or ligament injury than non-concussed teammates when they return to play!

Also concerning, the American Medical Association currently has no objective measures for diagnosis and recovery from a concussion. Nor is there consensus in the classification of them or objective data concerning returning to activity.

The Shift Health Center Difference

Standard medical imaging for the brain only goes down to the base of the skull and standard spine imaging only goes up to the second cervical vertebrae. The upper neck is often under-diagnosed or completely ignored.

As Upper Cervical doctors at Shift Health Center, we can use imaging specific to the upper neck to locate the root cause of dysfunction and determine a pathway to healing.

Contact our team today at Shift Health Center in Traverse City for your baseline concussion test, so that we will have at the best information possible at hand in the event a concussion is suffered in the future.

The Brain Injury Research Institute.

Herman D, et al. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Conference. San Diego, CA. 2013

Morin M, Langevin P, Fait P. Cervical Spine Involvement in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Review. J Sports Med. 2016.

Treleaven J, Jull G, Atkinson L. Cervical Musculoskeletal dysfunction in post-concussional headache. Cephalalgia. 1994.


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2400 Northern Visions Dr
Traverse City, MI 49684
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