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Post-Concussion

Post-Concussion Treatment in Lakeview, Chicago Loop, and Glenview 

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. A concussion is termed medically as a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. Concussion severity can range from “mild” (a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury). Both children and adults are at risk for concussion-related injury or even death from head injuries. Many children and adults are undertreated after concussion when they could benefit from manual treatment to the head and neck. Our staff is trained to help children and adults who experience symptoms of concussions after sport-related injuries at any age, motor vehicle accidents, or other head trauma.

What are the Leading Causes of Concussion?

  • In 2013, falls were the leading cause of TBI. Falls accounted for 47% of all TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States
  • Being struck by or against an object was the second leading cause of TBI
  • Among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes were the third overall leading cause of TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths (14%)

What are the Signs of a Concussion?

Signs of a concussion can include, but are not limited to:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Confusion
  • Irritability or being more emotional
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty with sleep

If concussion is suspected, seek immediate medical attention from a health care professional. Following the immediate emergent phase, physicians, nurses, physical therapists, athletic trainers, occupational therapists, and social workers may all be involved in the care of a person who has sustained a concussion.  

Most people recover well from symptoms experienced at the time of the injury. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Some people may also find that it takes longer to recover if they have previously had a concussion.

Our physical therapists assist patients by prescribing and monitoring a program of light to moderate activity or exercise balanced with rest for a smoother return to regular activity.

Concussion Treatments May Consist of:

Nasal Release Technique

What is the Nasal Release Technique?

Nasal Release Technique is a physical technique to mobilize the bones of the skull and was developed by Dr. J. R. Stober, DC, ND of Portland, Oregon, in the 1930s. The procedure utilizes a small balloon affixed to an inflatable device that is inserted into the nasal passages. As the balloon inflates, it presses outward against the bones lining the breathing passages and mobilizes the sutures of the skull, particularly the sphenoid. 

One of the confusions of this technique are the multiple names used to refer to it—Endonasal Technique, Nasal Cranial Release, Bilateral Nasal Specific Technique, Functional Cranial Release, and Neurocranial ReStructuring. Each of these terms describe the same procedure.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Our body is in constant search for balance. Whenever there is a loss of mobility or alignment, the rest of the body compensates and changes the way we move, contributing to poor posture, breathing difficulties, and chronic pain.  Chronic pain can even contribute to depression. Nasal Release Technique is theorized to optimize the neurotransmitter activity throughout the Central Nervous System.

What Can I Expect from a Treatment?

Nasal Release Technique is performed using a finger cot (small balloon) affixed to a blood pressure bulb. The finger cot is lubricated and then placed between the nasal turbinates.  The blood pressure bulb inflates the cot to expand inside the nasal passage. The opposite nostril is lightly compressed to prevent air from escaping. As the patient takes a deep breath and holds it, the finger cot is gently inflated making its way into the nasopharynx, causing it to widen. The finger cot is inserted into the lower portion of the nose on both sides, then the middle portion, then the upper portion. It is then repeated in the lower portion.

The process is not usually painful because only one inflation in the passageways is performed the first time. When this is tolerated, more inflations may be indicated. With the procedure, pressure is felt in the nose and inside the head. It is not unusual for the patient to experience clicks and pops in the bones of the head.

What are the Contraindications for the Nasal Release Technique?

  1. Caution should be taken with patients who might have “bleeding disorders” or who are taking anticoagulant medications. This population may not be good candidates for this procedure.
  2. Patients with prior nasal or facial bone surgery, especially with modification of the turbinates, are not good candidates for nasal specific because the integrity of the structures is unpredictable.
  3. There has been at least one case reported where an asthma attack was initiated by the nasal release technique and is suggested as a precaution.  Patients with a history of asthma should have their inhaler present when undergoing this technique.

The therapist will perform an extensive medical history before attempting this procedure and consider any precautions or contraindications. 

What are Some Possible Side Effects?

  • Epistaxis, or nose bleed, can result from the Nasal Release Technique.
  • Minor soreness over the maxillary-zygomatic or inter-maxillary articulations, tenderness of the nasal passage regions, a tingling feeling in the central maxillary incisors, and mild soreness of the gums is possible. In some cases, these mild symptoms persist, though diminishing, for up to several days. Infrequently, a patient might experience a headache after treatment.
  • Throat irritation due to increased drainage from sinuses may also happen following Nasal Release Technique. This is temporary and resolves in a short time. Draining of the sinuses is a common side effect from this procedure. Some people’s passageways are very tight and feel uncomfortable during the procedure, but report feeling better afterwards. The therapist may suggest gradual opening of the nasal passageways with multiple treatments to prevent some of these side effects.

Craniosacral Functional Manual Medicine (FMM)

FMM may be recommended following a concussion.  This type of manual therapy mobilizes the cranial bones and is theorized to optimize cerebrospinal fluid flow. Early intervention to restore the cranium’s working relationship with the spine, pelvis and sacrum can expedite the healing process.

For a patient with a concussion, special attention will be given to ensure that the rehabilitation pace is conducive to not only physical, but also mental healing. Overly aggressive exercise performed before the body is ready can be cause regression.

If you have hit your head and believe that you may have had a concussion, consider an evaluation with a Functional Manual Medicine practitioner.   Katherine Matias-Riggs, PT, MPT, has trained with osteopathic physicians and Dr. Jennifer Hobson has also studied FMM through Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine.  They often co-treat and have found that the combination of Nasal Release Technique and Craniosacral Functional Manual Medicine to be particularly helpful in speeding recovery after concussion.

A Concussion Treatment Case Study:

  • Samantha was a 21 year-old basketball player who sustained a concussion 8 years prior while playing her sport. She reported that a player’s elbow struck the left side of her temple region as she fell to the floor and hit the right side of her head.
  • She experienced memory loss, headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, motion sickness and neck pain that lingered.
  • Samantha underwent 5 treatment sessions that consisted of the following:
    • Manual therapy to the head, neck, upper back and TMJ
    • Nasal Release Technique performed 5 times
    • Craniosacral Functional Manual Medicine techniques over 5 sessions
  • Samantha shares her treatment experience and results in this video.

Please call (312) 986-9833 for more information or schedule an onsite or virtual appointment.

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