The Importance of a Neck Exam after a Concussion

Neck exam after concussionPost Concussion Syndrome: More Than Just a Lingering Headache

When most people think about a concussion they think of the damage that is done to the brain. MRIs, Cat Scans, x-rays and neurological exams are generally focused on the skull and brain. But persistent symptoms related to a concussion may have more to do with the neck, then the head.
Concussion is classified as a mild traumatic brain injury. According to, usual symptoms that accompany a concussion are headache, amnesia and confusion. But many other symptoms may follow, sometimes not for days or weeks following the initial injury. These may include ongoing headaches, dizziness, brain fog, light or noise sensitivity and feelings of depression or frustration. If symptoms develop or persist over a period of a weeks, months or years, you likely have what is termed “post concussion syndrome.”
A study conducted by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (as presented in the JAMA Pediatrics, Feb 2013) indicated that post concussion syndrome (PCS) developed in 29.3% of children between the ages of 5-18 who presented to the emergency department with concussion. Other studies also indicate that about one third of those who experienced a concussion injury will develop PCS.
Dr. Robert Cantu, a Neurosurgeon and world renowned expert in concussion and post concussion symptoms suggests a list of 26 symptoms that can be related to PCS. In his book, Concussion and our Kids, Dr. Cantu highlights 4 categories of symptoms: Somatic (affecting the physical), Emotional (affecting mood), Sleep disturbance and Cognitive (affecting thinking and processing information).
It is clear that a concussion and post concussion symptoms can leave you with much more than just a headache.
But why are the symptoms lingering?

Concussion? You Need to Have Your Neck Examined

Why is the neck exam after a concussion so important?
Following any head or neck trauma that is significant enough to cause a concussion, there will be a tearing loose of the connective tissue that holds the spine in place as well. This will lead to a weakness that will allow the spine to breakdown and lock into a stressed position. This misalignment pattern frequently develops as the heavy head is slightly misaligned from the upper neck bones.
As little as three quarters of a degree is enough to alter the position of the head and force the brain to adapt the spinal posture in order to keep the eyes and ears level with the horizon.  This is known as the righting reflex within the brain.
Once this upper neck misalignment has occurred and posture has changed, blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow from the brain to the body and from the body to the brain begins to be altered as well.
This misalignment in the upper neck and subsequent brainstem dysfunction has been shown to be an underlying cause of post concussion syndrome. Once this upper neck misalignment is corrected, precisely, gently and specifically symptoms of post concussion syndrome have resolved almost miraculously at times.
These upper neck misalignments can only be corrected by someone trained in specialized upper cervical chiropractic procedures. Fortunately for you several of these doctors can be found within the Minnesota area.
To find an upper cervical doctor in your area go to or if you are in the Apple Valley, Minnesota area to schedule your NUCCA consultation and evaluation, click the button below:

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Johnson Spinal Care and Associates are Apple Valley Upper Cervical Chiropractors trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Our NUCCA Clinic has helped many people find natural relief from post-concussion syndrome in Apple Valley, Minnesota. We are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on our website at

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2017-09-19T00:20:29+00:00September 23rd, 2013|Concussion, Cranio-cervical syndrome, Dizziness, Headaches, Insomnia, Mild traumatic brain injury, Post concussion syndrome, Sleep problems, Vertigo|Comments Off on The Importance of a Neck Exam after a Concussion