It is common to find that trauma involving the upper body results in injury to not only the neck (cervical spine) but also the head.
It is now universally recognized that a concussion – regarded by many as the least serious form of brain injury, can occur in the absence of a loss of consciousness. As well as, the result of direct impact to the skull. The mechanism of acceleration and deceleration can produce sufficient force to cause a serious injury. So the important question addressed by health care providers is often: Has the patient suffered a neck injury, a concussion, or both?
The answer is not always easy because a headache can be cervicogenic – originating from cervical muscle spasm or spine injury.
A headache is common to both cervical injury and concussions. Even the more serious form of a migraine headache can result from a cervical injury. Particularly for someone suffering from pre-existing headaches. Concussions can also cause a headache while reflecting both the primary and secondary injury to the brain following trauma. This includes an acceleration/deceleration injury from a motor vehicle crash, fall, or sports concussion.
Your choice of a health care provider may also have an affect on outcome following injury.
Like any professional, there are good and not so good health care providers. An M.D. after someone’s name does not convey diagnostic expertise. Neither does specialization or board certification. Board certification implies that the provider “passed” the test. However, perhaps he or she did not demonstrate the skills that differentiate between a cervical injury and concussion. In fact, some health care providers have failed to stay current on the rapid developments in the brain injury field. They are wedded to the old paradigms – now considered to be myths in the field.
Remember, not every traumatic event that warrants health care intervention warrants a claim.
However, in Connecticut the law affords a remedy for anyone wrongfully injured by another. Also, not every injury requires the best or most educated health care provider. With a shortage of physicians and alternative health care providers supplementing the rolls of traditional health care providers, persistence of symptoms may warrant a second and even third opinion. While this author readily recognizes the benefits of chiropractic care to treat many conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, a 2018 study suggested that the field of chiropractic medicine had not adequately prepared the profession to recognize concussion. “Survey of chiropractic clinicians on self-reported knowledge and recognition of concussion injuries”, Taylor DA & Wynd S, Chiropractic & Manual Therapies (2018)(open access).