A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is a result from a blow to the head or violent shaking, often caused by a car accident (whiplash), fall, or sports injury. When recovering from a concussion, it’s important to give your brain time to properly heal by taking it easy, getting plenty of rest, eating healthy and slowly returning to normal activities.
But, what happens when things are not improving? Post-concussion syndrome refers to the lingering symptoms following a concussion, sometimes lasting for weeks, months, even years. Headaches and migraines are very common symptoms and may progress in severity over time. Studies have shown that if recovery hasn’t occurred within the first three years, symptoms may be permanent.
One thing that is often overlooked when suffering from a concussion is having the NECK looked at in a skilled manner to determine if it is involved in post-concussion issues. Since our head is on top of our neck, it must be affected somehow, right?? Research is showing that the neck may be a large contributor to post-concussion headaches and migraines. The upper neck influences the lower brainstem which can be sensitized from the traumatic event and lead to headache and migraines.
One way to self evaluate your upper neck (if you haven’t already) is to turn your head side to side and assess how far you are able to go each direction. You may determine that one direction (or both) is limited and may be painful. Another way is to perform the Chin tuck exercise. If the movement is asymmetrical, limited or increases your pain then you may need to have your upper neck evaluated in a skilled manner. **Performing this exercise multiple times may improve the former so give this exercise 1 week to try before making a conclusion.
If you have suffered a concussion and would like your NECK assessed, contact Vertical Wall Physical Therapy today for a FREE 15 minute headache/migraine interview.