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How Osteopathy Can Help Post-Concussion Syndrome
A concussion is a mild form of trauma induced brain injury, even without an initial loss of consciousness and post-concussion syndrome occurs when a patient experiences certain symptoms for up to several months after a concussion.
Interestingly, there does not seem to be a correlation between the severity of head injury to incidence of post-concussion syndrome, further enforcing the fact that this is a complicated and unpredictable disorder.
Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome commonly include dizziness and painful headaches. Sometimes, these headaches can be confused for post-concussion syndrome induced headaches when they are actually tension headaches stemming from a neck injury that occurred at the same time as the head injury.
Full symptoms can take over a week to appear and include sensitivity to light and noise,
anxiety, irritability, fatigue, insomnia and cognitive decline such as poor concentration and even loss of memory.
The cause of this syndrome seems plain enough - a blow to the head that is hard enough to cause a concussion, however, not all concussions develop into the syndrome. There are differing opinions between doctors as to the actual physiological changes that result in post-concussion symptoms and these range from the belief there is actual damage to the brain to psychological factors, especially if the accident was considered to be tragic.
Osteopathy can help post-concussion syndrome by implementing cranial osteopathy. This specific and delicate therapy focuses on softening up tissues around the base of the skull, releasing tension and improving circulation. A skilled osteopath may also choose to manipulate areas above the neck such as the ears, head and mouth in an effort to increase neurological activity by restoring cerebrospinal fluid flow. This is especially important post-brain injury because this liquid is responsible for carrying nutrition to the brain which can repair the damage and reverse inflammation.
Elissa Gustafson, DOMP and Carolyn Smith, DOMP are respected manual osteopaths in Ottawa with not just knowledge, but also experience in treating post-concussion syndrome. Elissa and Carolyn sometimes find Thier patients also pursue other forms of therapy such as massage therapy, physiotherapy and psychology to optimize their treatment. Post-concussion syndrome can truly interfere with a person's life- physically, mentally and emotionally.