The Complete Guide to Concussions
by Jane H. Baxley, D.C.
What is a concussion? How do you get one? What does a concussion do to your brain and your life? How long do the effects last? How many concussions can you safely have? Are there any effective treatments?
These are critical questions that many people have, and it is difficult to find reliable answers, because current medical knowledge about concussions is limited. In early 2020 I was fortunate to be introduced by Dr. Michael Fiske, the previous owner of White Oak Chiropractic, to the work of Dr. Roger Turner DC, of Toronto, Canada. Dr. Turner is, in my opinion, one of the foremost authorities on concussions in the world today. He has been successfully treating concussions and other brain conditions such as autism, learning disabilities, migraine headaches, insomnia, and dizziness for almost 30 years and has helped tens of thousands of patients from all over the world. Most of the information in this article is based on Dr. Turner’s research and experience, as well as my own and Dr. Fiske’s combined 7 years of clinical experience treating patients with Dr. Turner’s profoundly healing cranial adjusting technique.
What Is a Concussion?
The word “concuss” comes from the Latin word meaning “to shake”. This is why doctors will tell you not to shake a baby. Shaking alone is enough to slam the brain against the inside of the skull and cause a concussion, or “shaken baby syndrome”. If you think about this, you will see that concussions are probably a lot more common than you ever suspected. For example, I perform a comprehensive concussion evaluation on every one of my car accident patients. They may tell me, “Oh, I didn’t hit my head.” But I check them anyway, and about 80% of the time I find that they have a mild to severe concussion, even if the ER doctors have told them they are fine.
There are several reasons for this. First, almost everyone who is in a rear end collision hits their head on the head rest, even if they don’t remember it. If their car is hit from the side, they will often hit their head on the door or window. But let’s say that their car is hit from the side, and their body is shaken from side to side, but they do not hit their head. You can see that they will almost certainly have some degree of concussion from the severe jarring of the brain inside the skull.
Let’s talk about sports. In the 2015 film “Concussion,” Will Smith plays Dr. Bennett Omalu, a pathologist examining the brain of “Iron Mike” Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who committed suicide. Dr. Omalu says, “This man had 70,000 concussions.” How is that possible? It’s possible because every time one 300-pound guy smashes into another 300-pound guy and tries to take him out, both players sustain some degree of concussion from the tremendous jarring and shaking. They may not be lying face up on the field, unable to tell you what day of the week it is, but they still have sustained a minor or moderate concussion, and the sad and terrible truth is that concussions are additive and cumulative. The more concussions you have, the more damage occurs to your brain, your personality, and your life.
How Do You Test for Concussions?
At this time, there is no completely accurate medical test to determine whether you have had a concussion and the degree of your concussion. However, there is a simple, practical way of measuring a concussion. It is a commonsense evaluation – we look at the number and severity of possible concussion symptoms that you have currently. If you have a lot of severe symptoms, you have a severe concussion, and if you have only a few symptoms, you have a milder concussion. As I said, I perform this evaluation with every car accident patient who comes to me, and also with every new patient in my clinic. Concussion symptoms are often cumulative and very long lasting, and many people are still suffering the effects of concussions they had years ago.
What Are the Symptoms (of a Concussion)?
A concussion is a brain injury, and so symptoms of a concussion can be any kind of brain problem or impairment. You can have severe headaches, difficulty sleeping, brain fog and confusion, anxiety, depression or irritability, balance problems or vertigo, severe fatigue, learning disabilities or difficulty reading, apathy or changes in your personality. Once again, the specific brain problem that you develop depends on the specific area of the brain that is being compressed by the head trauma.
What Are the Effects of a Concussion Years Later?
A concussion is a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI). It is damage to the brain. If it is not treated properly so that the brain can fully heal, you will experience negative effects for years to come, which can increase in later life.
Studies have found that children with moderate or severe TBI experienced a substantial, long-term reduction in their quality of life, participation in activities with others, and ability to communicate and to care for themselves. Other studies found that cognitive impairments and lower IQ persist for at least a decade in children who receive a traumatic brain injury at an early age. Also, ADD, learning disabilities, or behavior problems frequently get worse after a concussion.
According to a 2018 study, military veterans who experienced mild traumatic brain injury through exposure to bomb blasts have a 56% increased risk of Parkinson’s disease and 200% increased risk of dementia.
Another study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery in 2016, concluded that, “Analyses… revealed higher odds of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, depression, mixed affective disorders, and bipolar disorder in individuals with previous TBI as compared to those without TBI.” Prior TBI caused a 55% greater chance of a neurological condition and a 200% greater probability of a psychiatric disorder.
The bottom line is that concussions do not heal by themselves and can lead to a lot of suffering after the concussion, and even greater suffering later in life.
Is There Any Way to Heal a Concussion?
Modern medical science has limited effective concussion treatment. The usual advice is, “wait and see.” This advice assumes that the brain will be able to heal itself eventually without any outside help. But the experience of many concussion victims and hundreds of research studies tells us that the brain can heal itself only rarely. Why is this?
The reason is that head trauma misaligns the cranial bones, or bones in the head. Many people are not aware that they have cranial bones, and most people do not understand that the bones can be moved or dented. But this movement was proven by Dr. John Upledger in the 1960s using micrometers to measure the small, but real movements of the cranial bones. Everyone has seen someone who has had a severe head trauma whose head now looks asymmetrical. And who has not felt a dent in their own head after they whacked it on the corner of the kitchen cabinet?
When a cranial bone is moved out of place, there is a series of damaging consequences. First, compressing or moving the cranial bone will compress the soft, delicate brain tissue directly under that bone. This will cause an impairment or deficit in the function of the brain at that location. So, depending on where the compression is located, you will experience a corresponding brain problem. As I discussed earlier, this could be a headache, insomnia, brain fog, irritability, depression, or any other brain symptom. But that is not the only result. The space between the cranial bone and the brain is also compressed. This is a very important space where the cerebrospinal fluid circulates around the brain. The function of this cerebrospinal fluid is to bring nutrients to the brain and take away toxins and waste products. When this space is compressed, the fluid cannot circulate as well as it should. Dr. Roger Turner discovered that this misalignment of the cranial bones and reduction of the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid were the reasons that the brain was not able to heal concussions by itself. What then would be the treatment?
Dr. Turner’s revolutionary cranial treatment is remarkably simple, logical, and straightforward. If a traumatic force has pushed a cranial bone into the wrong position, it should be possible for the correct therapeutic force to push that bone back into the right position. Once the cranial bone is re-aligned, the space between the cranial bone and the brain is opened, and the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid is restored. This allows the brain to begin to finally heal.
How Many Treatments Do I Need?
The answer is common sense: it depends. How severe was the trauma? Did you lose consciousness? How many head traumas have you had? How bad are your symptoms? How old are you? How long has it been since your last concussion?
The more severe the concussion(s), the worse the symptoms are, the more concussions you’ve had, the older you are, and the more time since the concussions — all add up to a longer treatment time. A younger person with fewer concussions may only require 4–8 treatments. If it’s been a long time since you had a concussion and you are still experiencing major symptoms, it could take a series of treatments. It’s very difficult for me to predict exactly how many you will need. But what I can say is that I am confident that the treatments will help you, usually after the very first treatment.
The improvements I see in people’s well-being are profound. The treatment gives more of yourself back to yourself. In other words, the Turner Cranial Treatment will remove the blockages to you being who you really are. It is almost as if there is a dimmer switch on you and we are turning it back up. People look visibly brighter after the treatment. And because I am examining and correcting every cranial bone, every brain function improves. Your whole brain, being, personality, and outlook on life blossoms and thrives. It is a beautiful transformation for me to witness and for you to experience. I hope you will give me the opportunity and privilege to help you. I am happy to give readers of Vacaville Magazine a free 15-minute consultation by phone or at my clinic to determine if I can assist you.