The brain is a contained in a hard shell, the skull, and is formed of a soft pudding-like mass of neurons and connective tissues that act as our body’s operating system. When that system is damaged in any way, even mildly, it can cause the body to crash like a computer with a virus. The brain sends out signals to the body and back again using nerves, which are best thought of as little electrical wires that send and receive signals. The nerves have a body and axons, amongst other parts. The axons are long offshoots from the body that are where the actual work happens, so if the axons take a hit, then the work of running the body falls apart and the system crashes.
Why Doesn’t The Skull Protect Us?
While the skull does an excellent job of protecting our brains, sometimes our heads take a hit and it causes the brain to move around inside the skull faster and more forcefully than is safe. The movement of the brain tissue in a rapid manner can literally rip the tiny nerve fibers, called axons, that communicate between nerves. Even though the brain if protected from the outside, the simple force of the motion is enough to cause harm. Imagine putting a chunk of Jell-O in a jar and shaking the jar versus if you just hit the jar from the outside. The Jell-O will break apart and may even dissolve.
What Is a Concussion?
There are few things more frightening than the idea of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and yet many will experience a common and mild form of TBI, the concussion. Concussions occur when there is a traumatic event, such as an injury, to the head that creates tiny tears in the axons of the nerves in the brain. The axons are the long arms of the neurons, the cells that communicate nerve impulses to and from the brain. When axons are damaged, it can lead to impaired functioning of the nerves and the tissues they control. Fortunately, such damage is often temporary and the body will heal itself. In some cases, the injury leads to long-term complications, such as post-concussive syndrome.
Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion:
• Change in mood and affect, such as new irritability or sadness
• Impaired cognitive function
• Short-term memory loss
• Alterations in gait and balance
• Blurry or double vision
• Excessive or inadequate sleep
How Can a Chiropractor help?
Since concussions are associated with injuries that tend to include some amount of impact, they can also occur with alterations in the structures of the upper spine and neck. Correcting any issue that has occurred, even mild misalignments, can help restore normal nerve communication and blood flow to the head and neck. This can help reduce the symptoms of concussion and associated injury. Your local Des Moines chiropractor, Dr. Shane Hoffman, can help by creating an individualized care plan to restore your health.
Contact Dr. Shane Hoffman at Thrive Family Chiropractic in Des Moines, IA today to get started on the road to recovery.