What is a concussion?
A concussion is also known as a mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI. A concussion occurs when a sheering force is applied to the brain. This force initiates a complex metabolic pathway that results in a net energy deficit. The force is also hypothesized to cause an alteration in blood flow to the brain. This energy deficit, metabolic pathway, and potential alteration to blood flow are what is thought to cause concussive like symptoms.
We no longer think a concussion is a “brain bruise.”
Concussion symptoms include, but are not limited to the following; headache, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, balance problems, sensitivity to light or noise, fatigue, confusion, drowsiness, trouble sleeping, feeling like you are in a fog or not right, more emotional, irritability or sadness.
What does treatment for a concussion consist of?
One of the biggest, and most effective, aspects of concussion management is early education. Rest, exercise, manual therapy and rehab exercises have all be shown to aid recovery when dosed and implemented correctly. Guidance should be provided by a health care provider regarding dosage, general timelines and red flags that patients should be aware of.
Concussion treatment should include a full hands-on assessment of the visual and vestibular system as well as the cervical spine. Treatment should be tailored depending on the results of that assessments. Treatment often include some or all of the following; vestibular therapy, ocular therapy, manual therapy and/or dietary recommendations to promote healing.
In the event that more intensive treatment is needed we have a network of health care practitioners that we would be happy to put you in touch with.
**Trauma to the head can result in serious injury. All head injuries should be assessed by a medical professional.
What is Post Concussive Syndrome (PCS)?
Post concussive syndrome is a complex disorder where concussive symptoms last for weeks, months or even years. PCS occurs in 10-15% of concussion patients. Treatment for PCS is very similar to concussion treatment; testing for any ocular, vestibular or cervical spine impairments, followed by rehab and treatment specific to any deficits found.
It is not currently known why some people develop PCS and others do not. PCS is not associated with a “harder hit” or “worse concussion.”
What is a baseline test and why is it important?
A baseline test provides us with information about how individual brain functions before injury. It tells us what “normal” is for that individual. This helps us tailor treatment and return to work/school/sport in the event that that person sustains a concussion.
A baseline test measures things like memory, reasoning, balance, cognition & strength. All of which can be altered by a brain injury such as a concussion. Baselines are typically done at the beginning of sporting seasons. Baselines measurements should be done once a year; our brains are constantly changing, therefore, so will our baselines.
Who needs a baseline test?
Ideally every athlete or person who is at higher risk for concussion would have a baseline measurement done. Sports such as hockey, rugby, soccer and cheerleading typically have higher risk of concussion. Activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking and wind sports also have increased risk of head injury.
The CCMI program
CCMI (Complete Concussion Management) is a nation-wide, evidence based concussion management program. They emphasize the importance of having proper cognitive baseline measurements for all athletes and provide simple and effective concussion programs for sports organizations.
In conjunction to implementing concussion protocols, CCMI offers an easy-to-use app to connect coaches, trainers and therapists to ensure easy communication and proper return to play. CCMI also offers coach and trainer online courses to ensure concussions are being managed properly within the sports organization.
Mountain Fitness Center Inc.
Mountain Fitness Center offers brand-new equipment, friendly and knowledgeable staff, diverse fitness programs. They are dedicated to helping you enjoy the journey as you achieve your ultimate fitness goals. Dr. Rylee will be utilizing Mountain Fitness Center’s facilities to complete fitness testing as part of the return to sport program.
Concussion Management with Chiropractor Dr. Rylee Stephens – Squamish
Dr. Rylee Stephens is a chiropractor at Garibaldi Active Wellness. In addition to completing her Doctor of Chiropractic and Masters of Sport Science she has partnered with Complete Concussion Management and Mountain Fitness Center with the goal of providing concussion education and evidence based care to the Squamish community.
Coming in September 2016, Dr. Rylee Stephens will be offering concussion care for patients in Squamish + the Sea to Sky area. More info will be coming soon on this new service. If you have any questions, please get in touch with Rylee – her contact info is here.