Concussion: When It Is More Than Just a Headache
Headache, post-concussion syndrome chiropractor


In recent years, more and more people who engage in sports have benefited from the care of specialist who can help someone who is suffering from post-concussion syndrome, who some patients would even call their post-concussion syndrome chiropractor.  After feeling the usual body fatigue and bouts of headaches, pro athletes and recreational sports-goers have eliminated their worries by understanding more about sports injuries and how they can prevent them.

In the heat of the game, people’s bodies collide and injuries happen, especially in hard contact sports. Many dismiss the body pain and headache as nothing more than just “part of the game.” In reality, what seems a minor bump or bruise could lead to more serious health problems down the road, especially if it involves the head.

In 2015, a movie entitled Concussion was shown to help raise awareness about sports-related injuries and why professional athletes need to be protected from potentially life-threatening head trauma. Based on a true story, the biographical movie which stars Hollywood icon Will Smith as forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu dealt with the struggles of professional American football players who suffered from repeated trauma during their games.

In the film, Dr. Omalu investigated the link between the serious health problems of players in the National Football League (NFL) and the long-term effects of blows on their heads. The head injuries were due to tackles, body-to-body collisions, falls, and other game-related incidents.

The movie has helped elevate public awareness about the dangers of concussions and the risks faced by NFL players whenever they play one of America’s most popular sports. In one line from the film, Dr. Omalu said that “repetitive head trauma chokes the brain”.

What is a Concussion?

According to the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, a concussion is a brain function disturbance caused by trauma. Though it is less severe in a medically defined spectrum of head and brain injuries, it is a health issue that no one can afford to neglect.

An estimated 3.8 million Americans suffer from concussion each year; many are sports-related, while a significant number is related to car collisions and work-related accidents. This condition has been detected in many professional players or individuals who engage in football, soccer, rugby, hockey, boxing, and basketball. These sports activities all involve contact and are, by nature, require physicality and blunt force.  

It is important to note that many athletes felt fine even after receiving a head blow. Going unconscious is not a sign of sustaining a concussion, as shown by many pro boxers who finish and even win their fights, only to be diagnosed with the condition after the event.

Signs & Symptoms of Concussion

People who suffer from concussion commonly have:

  •  Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Numbness and tingling in various body parts


People who are suspected of having concussion also exhibit signs of:

  •  Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Sleeplessness
  •  A “foggy” mind
  • Slurring of speech
  • Memory problems
  • Sadness
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Being repetitive, especially in asking questions

Link Between Concussion & Headaches

Several studies show the apparent link between concussion and headaches. In fact, having head pain is one of the most immediate signs or symptoms of the condition since it is essentially rooted in head trauma.

Research also shows that this health issue leads to headaches due to a misalignment of the C1 vertebra, more commonly referred to as the atlas bone.  This bone is part of the upper cervical spine and is responsible for the neck and head’s stability and movement. Any trauma to the head and neck would naturally have an impact on the atlas bone.

When a misalignment occurs, even the neural impulses that run from the brain to other parts of the nervous system are affected or even impaired in very serious cases.  Since the C1 bone is anatomically structured to encase and protect the brain stem, a strong blow to the head and neck area would misalign it, leading to pain and discomfort.

The misalignment of the C1 vertebra also disrupts the natural flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid.  This disruption is what is believed to cause functional changes in a person’s brain. Although initially minor and temporary, brain dysfunction could lead to more serious levels if not properly addressed or acted upon.

On the part of a post-concussion syndrome chiropractor, the initial response would be to understand the individual’s background and know the possible causes of the head trauma. Next is to ask the person to enumerate all the sensations or discomfort they feel due to the trauma. Headache, of course, is one of the most reported symptoms among people who have a concussion.

Pain Relief for Concussion-Related Headaches 

One of the best pieces of information that people receive from health care providers, including a post-concussion syndrome chiropractor, is that this health issue is “more than just a headache.”

You cannot have a head injury without also suffering a neck injury.

Among pro sports athletes, especially the superstars who are paid in the millions of dollars, getting injured and side-lined is a no-no.  They have a reputation to protect, fan expectations to fulfill, and a business contract to attend to. Simply put, they do not want to miss even a single game. As a result, they neglect their health and pay for the consequences later on in their careers or retirement.

When the nature of the health condition is explained to them professionally, they begin to realize the possible implications of neglect and the positive way forward to find relief and recovery.

The post-concussion syndrome chiropractor would typically take time to explain human anatomy, specifically explaining how the upper cervical spine works and how trauma impacts a person’s health. A detailed discussion about careful, gentle adjustment of the C1 vertebra enables athletes to understand why such an adjustment is key to pain relief and return to optimal health.

Indeed, sustaining a concussion is more than just a headache that can be handled by popping a pain reliever. With a proper evaluation and accurate NUCCA adjustments, this trauma-related injury can be addressed and more serious health problems are averted.

To know more about trauma-related headache and pain relief options, visit a NUCCA doctor near you or search for one here: