What is Sport Related Concussion?

Sport related concussion (SRC) is defined quite broadly as a mild traumatic brain injury as a result of a direct blow to the head, neck, face or elsewhere on the body with impulse force referral to the brain. It is commonly referred to as a “head” or “brain” injury, however there is evidence to support the involvement of the upper cervical spine either coexisting with a head injury or in the abscence of a head injury. The potential whiplash forces involved in SRC can result in disruption to the motor control, postural and vestibular-ocular systems in the upper cervical spine resulting in symptoms commonly associated with SRC including neck pain, headache, dizziness, vertigo, unsteadiness, blurred vision.

Why Choose the Shannon Clinic – Melboure Chiropractic and Sports Care for your Concussion/Whiplash Assessment?

Dr. Shannon together with sports medicine physician and SRC expert Dr. Jon Patricios have co authored a journal paper outlining the role the upper cervical spine plays in concussion and the contribution of chiropractors in the assessment and management of SRC. This paper was published in December 2022 in Chiropractic and Manual Therapies and it is hoped it will be a stepping stone to the development of the first chiropractic SRC consensus statement. Additionally, Nick has experience working with concussed athletes and whiplash patients.

The Shannon Clinic – Melbourne Chiropractic and Sports Care uses a SRC cervical spine assessment protocol that was formulated by Dr. Shannon following the literature review for their paper This protocol can be used in athletes and patients with post concussion symptoms, persistent concussion symptoms and those who have suffered a whiplash injury to the cervical spine.

The Shannon Clinic – Melbourne Chiropractic and Sports Care Concussion/Whiplash Assessment Protocol

The comprehensive asessment protocol is based on the best current evidence and examines;

Cervical spine (potentially causing neck pain and headaches);

  • Range of motion
  • Strength
  • Motor control

Vestibular-ocular (potentially causing balance difficulties and blurred vision)

  • Gaze stability
  • Saccadic eye movemnt (fast eye movements)
  • Smooth pursuits (slow eye movements)
  • Balance assessment (static and dynamic)

Gait analysis (potentially causing unsteadiness and a slower, protected gait)

Concussion/Whiplash Treatment Options

Following the assessment, an individual treatment program can then be developed to target the problems identified in the examination. This might include chiropractic mobilization and manipulation to the upper cervical spine, soft tissue treatment to the muscle around the neck, rehabilitation of the positional sensors and strength of the neck muscles, gait and balance retraining, as well as Cawthorne-Cooksey exercises for dizziness and visual exercises. Referrals to other concussion expert practitioners maybe required and any rehabilitation should be occurring in collaboration with your managing clinician as the best outcomes in SRC are achieved through a multidisciplinary team care approach.

For more information or to book an assessment today you can either call the Shannon Clinic – Melbourne Chiropractic and Sports Care or book an appointment online below. For more SRC, sports nutrition and sports and exercise medicine related information be sure to check out our blog, Facebook and Instagram posts.