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.

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Whiplash Injuries from Past Accidents Can Be Linked to Chronic Conditions

What is whiplash? It is defined as a neck injury caused by sudden forward, backward, or sideways movement of the head. We generally hear the term ‘whiplash’ in reference to car accidents. For example, when a person is hit head on, rear-ended, or hit from the side. But did you know that whiplash can occur during bike accidents, blows to the head, falls, ski accidents, and other head and neck trauma? What are some symptoms of whiplash?

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Pain in the arms, hands, feet or legs
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Neck stiffness and/or pain
  • Depression
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Nausea
  • Jaw or facial pain
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Fatigue
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Low back pain or stiffness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or even hearing loss
  • And many, many more!

You might wonder, “Isn’t it true that if I don’t have symptoms right away that I am okay?” No! Symptoms after many sports-related or auto accident-related traumas can be mild at first. A person may not even realize they have been injured. It is always a good idea to be examined, even if a person feels relatively fine after an accident. Symptoms may not show up for days, months, or even years.

What are some of these more severe conditions that result from neck/head injuries, sometimes years later? They can be immune related, neurological, pain and conditions such as:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Susceptibility to infection
  • ADHD
  • Seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis

Facts About Whiplash

Tests of low-speed, rear-impact collisions show that even at speeds of 5 mph a person can be injured. Most rear-impact accidents happen at speeds of 6-12 mph which place them below the threshold for property damage while still being able to cause neck trauma.

Some two million people are exposed to whiplash through auto accidents in the US every year.

Ligaments that support the neck can be overstretched (sprained) or torn when the head is suddenly jerked side to side or back and forth farther than normal. This results in vertebrae being forced out of their normal position.

Whiplash injuries can occur in falls on stairs or an icy sidewalk. They can occur in sports like hockey, football, skiing, cycling, gymnastics, ice skating, or boxing.

Can Upper Cervical Help Sufferers? How?

When a person of any age suffers an accident, they should have a proper spinal examination. This is necessary to assess whether there has been an injury to the neck. An upper cervical chiropractic specialist, such as Dr. Dan Spinato of Rancho Penasquitos, California, will use a specialized test and specific X-rays of the neck to see if there has, in fact, been injury to the upper neck. If so, an adjustment by hand is given to correct the subluxation. This can reverse, improve, and prevent numerous whiplash symptoms.


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Your Body on Whiplash in San Diego

How Your Body Works

The muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your body is also the connective tissue that keeps your spine from collapsing. An accident or injury can cause that tissue to weaken leading to the break down of the spine. This will cause the spine to lock into a stressed position, and the longer it stays in that position the more it causes the joints, discs, muscles, and more to wear down.

Now, this is not something that is new in an upper cervical chiropractic office, as it is common to see patients who have suffered from various accidents with spines in this position. Those accidents are often vehicular accidents they patient suffered recently, but that's not always the case. They could have sustained an injury from a car accident perhaps as long as 15 years ago.

Degenerative Disc Disease

How long it takes for the impact of the injury to manifest itself as the breaking down of bones, ligaments, disc, etc (Degenerative Disc Disease) is dependent upon various factors. Though, an upper cervical chiropractor can determine the approximate time when the injury occurred based on the extent of the degeneration of the spine.

For the last several years upper cervical chiropractors have seen and cared for countless patients who suffer from  Degenerative Disc Disease, which is also called Arthritis of the spine, and is often the result of an injury due to a colission such as a car accident.

Reversing Your Injury

Now the question is whether or not the effects of Degenerative Disc Disease can be reversed or not, and the answer is they can be. Though reversing the effects of this disease will mean allowing an upper cervical chiropractor to examine your upper neck vertebrae for any misalignments that may be the underlying cause of many of your conditions.

That's because a misalignment in your upper neck vertebrae of only 1/4 of a millimeter can place enough pressure on the brainstem to hinder the brain's ability to communicate with the body. The brain's inability to communicate with the body can then lead to various health problems throughout the body.



The Cervical Spine-The Cervical Spine Research Society, Lippincott, 1989 Mason Hohl, MD Professor of Surgery/Orthopedics, UCLA Medical Center Page 440


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NUCCA Chiropractic Care

What is NUCCA
The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) is an organization of Doctors of Chiropractic dedicated to patient care, education and research.

Spinal health care using the NUCCA procedures focuses on detecting and correcting a small misalignment in the upper neck area. Gentle, non-invasive adjustments don’t require any turning, twisting or popping.

Your upper cervical spine (neck) area influences all areas of your body. Injury or chronic misalignments can cause headaches, migraines, neck pain, low back pain, weakness and more.

The NUCCA technique is currently offered by less than 1% of all the Doctors of Chiropractic.

Before the NUCCA procedure can be performed, I will sit down with you and discuss your history and symptoms. If I determine that NUCCA can help, a thorough examination and x-rays will be done. A complete report of your findings and treatment options will be discussed. 

First adjustment
Precision x-rays are taken of the spine before any treatment begins. The adjustment is performed with the patient lying on their side and the doctor applying a very light pressure behind the earlobe. A full demonstration can be seen on the video above.

The NUCCA procedure can be summed up with 5 major distinctions as compared to traditional Chiropractic:

  • Gentle adjustment to the neck with no turning, twisting or popping.
  • Precision x-rays to measure before and after corrections.
  • Total body posture and balance improvement
  • Greater stability to the spine
  • Hold adjustments longer with fewer visits

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