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Whiplash, Concussion, and Sports: What the Neck Has to Do With It!

  September 08, 2018

By Frederick Schurger, DC, Upper Cervical Springfield

Recently, I came across an article that described the force of a low-speed rear impact to that of getting hit by an NFL linebacker. Now, if you’re anything like me, you have no desire to be hit by an NFL linebacker, much less be in any sort of accident. What was intriguing was that the same force had an equal impact on your chance to have a whiplash and concussion as a low-speed accident. Sadly, we’re all too familiar with the problems associated in professional sports surrounding CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), but perhaps we’re not looking at the complete picture here.

Let’s think about these kinds of injuries. If you are put under enough stress to cause a concussion to your brain, did that happen without an effect on the rest of your body? Ok, silly question, of course it didn’t. This is a common oversight when it comes to concussion though. I still remember the days of “no blood, no foul,” but we now know that you can have an injury with no external evidence, or at least the evidence may be overlooked. What area is being most overlooked in these young men and women? We would have to say the neck.

Whether it is a car accident (any speed), sports injury, or just diving into the pool on a sunny day, neck injuries may be overlooked as a link to concussion-like symptoms. These types of injuries actually cause stress directly down the length of your spine, what is commonly called axial loading. This causes a loss of structural integrity in your spine that causes bones to move incorrectly or out of place. Spinal motion is often affected, which causes more stress on the muscles, ligaments, and nerves around your spine. Even your spinal cord gets pulled out of its normal position, which, in severe cases, can pull down on your brain stem. As it doesn’t take much pressure on the nerve to cause problems, the cascade of symptoms arise as secondary effects from the primary structural shift in the spine. These secondary effects can often mirror the symptoms of a concussion.

Ultimately, care and treatment for one’s spine is critical. While we are all likely to endure some sort of trauma in our lives, those who are constantly exposed to repeated stress and trauma could have a host of secondary effects, both noticeable and unnoticed. When we look at athletes like Lebron James and Tom Brady, we recognize their longevity comes from a team of health professionals to keep them at the top of their game, on and off season. Roger Craig never missed a game in eight years because of his chiropractor. Getting checked for a neurostructural shift of your spine is easy, and often results in improved performance beyond just the injury that brings most people into our office, including improved energy, balance, and coordination and better quality of life overall. If you or a loved one is suffering, or are simply not at the top of your game, setting up a consultation to see if you have a neurostructural shift is the first step to improving your health.

Dr. Schurger’s practice, Upper Cervical Springfield, is located at 450 S. Durkin Drive, suite B in Springfield. Call 217-698-7900 or email drschurger@mac.com to arrange a consultation. Visit www.uppercervicalspringfield.com for more information and to begin your journey back to better health.

Concussion symptom box

  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Dizziness or "seeing stars"
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Appearing dazed
  • Fatigue
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September 08, 2018


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