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Relief from the Headaches of Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) can occur after a person suffers from an MTBI. Even minor head injuries run the risk of leading to further symptoms. According to some researchers, there really is no link between the severity of the head injury and the risk of PCS developing. With estimates putting sports-related head injuries at more than 3 million per year, this makes PCS a major public health concern.

The Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome

The primary concern when it comes to a concussion is that it can lead to chronic issues with headaches. This is often the primary symptom used to diagnose PCS. Other symptoms may include insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, and more. As a result, care often focuses on medications that address each individual symptom. Therefore, a person may end up taking painkillers for the headaches, sleep aids, anti-anxiety meds, and so on. Is there a better way?

Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Concussions

When it comes to post-concussion syndrome, many of the symptoms relate to an injury that may have occurred at the time of the head injury. Any time the head is struck hard enough to cause a concussion, it is possible that the vertebrae of the upper neck have become misaligned. When this happens, pressure may be placed on the brainstem, blood flow to the brain may be reduced, or proper drainage of cerebrospinal fluid may be hindered. Any of these factors can contribute to the headaches and other symptoms of PCS.

Thus, it is a good idea to seek the care of an upper cervical chiropractor following any suspected concussion. An examination of the upper cervical spine can reveal such a misalignment, and allow a practitioner to correct it before the symptoms of PCS can present or worsen. If you are already suffering from PCS, an adjustment may help to alleviate some of the symptoms.


Mayo Clinic. Post-concussion syndrome. [homepage on the Internet]. 2014 [cited 2015 Jun 4]. Available from:

Leddy JJ, Sandhu H, Sodhi V, Baker JG, Willer B. Rehabilitation of Concussion and Post-concussion Syndrome. Sports Health. 2012;4(2):147-154. doi:10.1177/1941738111433673.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.


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Do Concussions Lead to Chronic Headaches and Vertigo?

Concussions and Other Head Traumas

For years NUCCA doctors have been asking patients if they have a history of head and neck injuries including, car accidents, falls, times where they have been knocked unconscious, had a concussion or stitches to their head.


When accidents and injuries tear loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in place it creates a weakness, which allows the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position.

The area of  the body that is the most vulnerable to injury and has the most far reaching effects is the upper neck.  The top bone in the spine,  the atlas sits right underneath the skull and when the tissues around it become stretched and damaged the weight of the head will be shifted from center.

Once the position of the head is altered the position of the eyes and ears is altered as well.  The brain will initiate a reflex called the righting reflex in order to balance the eyes and the semicircular canals in the ears with the horizon.

The problem is now the head is slightly off center and the spine must adapt to that position by twisting and turning the remaining structure of the spine.  This will lead to tilting of the shoulders, the hips and imbalance all the way down to the legs leading to an unequal distribution of weight.

Body imbalance can lead to a variety of different health problems, but frequently has the same root cause...

The original head or neck injury created a misalignment of the Atlas bone at the base of the skull which led to the subsequent problems with the structure of the body, nerve and blood flow from the brain to the body.

Concussion Research

Here is a great example from a research article published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ January 6, 2011

A 23-year-old female patient presented for upper cervical chiropractic care five months after a slip and fall that resulted in a concussion.  The patient presented with symptoms of vertigo and headaches consistent with post concussion syndrome.  The patient had a longstanding history of headaches that were exacerbated by the concussion and a new complaint of positional vertigo that occurred immediately following the trauma.  Significant body imbalances were noted including a leg length difference.  Specific Upper Cervical X-rays demonstrated an upper cervical misalignment.

She began to receive Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic care and the headache and vertigo was gone immediately following the first adjustment. Post X-Ray evaluation showed a significant improvement in the alignment of the head and neck.  The follow up examination the following day revealed a significant decrease in muscles spasm in the neck and the legs were balanced.

The patient’s care was continued on a frequency of twice per month for evaluations and progress monitoring. She continued to report a complete resolution of vertigo and a significant improvement in the headaches as well.

Who do you know that has had a concussion?  Do they have a chronic health problem?  Is there a connection to the upper neck?

Only an upper cervical specialist could tell you for sure.

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Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is 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, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at


Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research ~ January 6, 2011

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care of a Patient with Post Concussion Syndrome, Positional Vertigo and Headaches


Alisha Mayheu DC & Matthew Sweat DC

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