Could You Have a Predisposition to Getting a Concussion?

Written By: Dr. Fiona Lovely, DC

What if I told you that there was a way to predict whether you might be more likely to have symptoms when you hit your head than the person sitting next to you?  It’s true.  If we were to line up 10 people at random and ask them a few questions, we could determine who was more likely to have a concussion.  Intrigued?  Read on…..

Things which can predict your likelihood to have a concussion:

1.  Playing recreational sports.  You are likely to injure yourself at some point when you engage in sporting activities.  And you will have a higher chance of having a concussion than someone who doesn’t play contact sports.  Make the decision to play with a full understanding of the risks and a plan for how you will manage injury when it does happen.  Get a baseline brain test at the start of each season so should an injury occur, you have a professional to help already cued up.

2.  Inflammation.  This is a very common problem fed by the human condition.  Stress.  Poor nutrition - the typical sugary, high-carb, processed food diet is a common cause of inflammation.  Toxic relationships.  Money concerns.  Work you dislike.  Health challenges like diabetes, high blood pressure, and food allergies (many of these are caused by inflammation.)  These things all fuel inflammation in the body.  Inflammation excites the brain tissues which support function.   This overstimulation of the brain tissues makes you far more likely to have symptoms if you bump your head!

3.  Gender. It is well documented that girls playing the same sports as boys their age are more likely to have a concussion that produces symptoms.  The female body is diverse anatomically and the muscles of the neck are less protective in the case of head injury than those of their male counterparts.  Additionally,  a head injury sustained during the second half of the menstrual cycle can cause a crash of high progesterone levels which can make symptoms of a concussion feel much, much worse.  Females are also prone to physical damage to the pituitary gland during a TBI event causing hormonal imbalances which can last a lifetime.  

4.  Brain function imbalance.  This can be from birth as the birth process is meant to toggle a number of primitive reflexes that are necessary for our early development.  With the rise of C-section births, this critical process can get missed.  When the brain develops without these switches activated, imbalances can occur.  Previous concussions, chemical exposures, poor nutrition, and other things can cause a functional brain imbalance which can make you more likely to suffer a concussion.  Your Chiropractic Neurologist can help correct these imbalances of the nervous system.

Knowledge is power.  If you or your child are going to play contact sports, please be conscious of the risks.  Prepare yourself ahead of time and have a plan should you have a traumatic brain injury (concussion).  Look at the list above and see what you can do to moderate the risk by making some diet and lifestyle changes.  Get a brain assessment before you begin to play to correct the functional concerns (lowering your risk for concussion). 

If you would like to book an appointment with Dr. Fiona Lovely DC, please contact Active Sports Therapy today.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  

Common Hockey Injuries & Treatments

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Active Sports Therapy

There are many hockey players that walk through our front doors at Active Sports Therapy with an array of injuries, however, there are a few that stand out as being quite common to a hockey player.

Concussions – Concussions are a big topic in the hockey world as a contact sport. They are one of the most common injuries that a player can sustain when out on the ice. It usually occurs from a big hit or fall, but a blow from an elbow or a stick can also cause concussion issues. Some symptoms might include dizziness, nausea, balance problems, headache, and mood changes. Concussions need to be taken very seriously, and medical attention and advice should be consulted immediately.

AST does have a concussion specialist working at the clinic, and here is an article she’s written with Three Things You Need To Know if You Have a Concussion

Groin Issues – This is another injury that goes hand in hand with being a hockey player and there are several muscles that can be affected in the area including the hip flexors and adductors. Since hockey players are often stopping and changing directions and performing a lot of agility related moves, these muscles are susceptible to injury.

At AST we can help assess and treat the root cause of groin issues as it may be related to an imbalance of strength between propulsive muscles and stabilizing muscles and assign exercises to help resolve the issue.

Broken Collarbones - Many hockey players will have a broken collarbone in their career. A doctor and an x-ray will assess the break and you’ll usually have to keep it in a sling for several weeks. If you work closely with your physician and physiotherapist, you can hopefully regain your mobility and full strength again. A physiotherapist can help with your recovery by working with you on your range of motion to ensure it is properly restored, giving you strengthening exercises to help restore what you’ve lost during the immobilization period, and use different techniques to help minimize scar tissue through different massage techniques.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injuries - When the ligament on the inside of the knee is overstretched, or even torn, it can result in a major knee injury to the MCL. There are many different grades of tears which you will have to have assessed by a professional in order to determine your way forward. A grade 1 tear can take a few days to a couple of weeks to heal enough to return to normal activities, a grade 2 can take up to 4 weeks to heal, and  a grade 3 tear can take up to 8 weeks to heal. Most often, the focus is reducing the inflammation and the pain, keeping it elevated, as well as immobilizing the knee in a brace or cast to keep it stable as it heals. A physiotherapist can help with designing a program to help you get back on your feet. Exercises to bring back proper strength and range of motion in the knee. We also help our patients using Low Intensity Laser Therapy as it can help to improve healing in injuries and Active Release Techniques can help with pain and stiffness in the kinetic chain that may have developed while not being able to use the leg.

These are just a few of the common hockey related injuries that we see and successfully treat. If you’ve suffered from one of these injuries, please come and see us in Calgary.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  


Three Things You Need to Know if You Have a Concussion

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Dr. Fiona Lovely

Concussions can happen anytime to anyone. We are learning quickly just how far reaching the effects of a mild traumatic brain injury can be. Unfortunately, they can last way beyond the original injury. There is much you can do when you have a recent concussion and getting this info into play in a timely fashion can go far into resolving the symptoms of a concussion.

There are three things you should know if you have a concussion. Here is that critical info for you:

  1. Rest is the most important factor in whether your symptoms last a week or 6 months or more. Get serious about rest during this time! Take a week off of work, school and all recreational activities. Yes, I’m serious! Your brain needs this rest. But please don’t fill up your time with screen time - smart phone, tablet, laptop or TV. The bright lights, loud sounds and rapidly moving graphics on a screen are deadly to your brain at this sensitive time.

Things you can do while resting:

Yes, this sounds boring but lots of us grew up without devices and turned out just fine! Embrace the quiet. Sleep as much as you want to. Give yourself permission to rest. Just to drive this point home a bit more - taking time off now will absolutely make the difference in whether this injury continues to make you miserable for months (or years even) or for a week. Rest like your life depends on it, because the quality of your life after concussion, does.

  1. Food is the second critical piece to getting yourself back to your life after a concussion. Here are some things that you should do:

Drink plenty of water - 2-3 litres daily if you are an adult (half of your body weight in ounces if you are uncertain exactly how much). No sugary drinks or milk. Drink water.

There are 3 supplements I recommend for everyone with a traumatic brain injury:

Now, if you have managed to do a good job of 1 & 2, you won’t need number 3. If your symptoms persist beyond a week or two, refer to number 3:

  1. Rehab for a concussion is sometimes the only way to feeling well again. If you have applied rest and good food principles and you still don’t feel well, you may require some help getting your brain firing on all cylinders again. Functional Neurology, often called Chiropractic Neurology can help. After completing a thorough assessment of your specific brain function, we can create a rehab plan specifically for your brain and its needs. Using adjustments, movement and the 5 senses, we can re-wire the parts of your brain that are broken. It’s called neuroplasticity and basically it means that the neurons that fire together, wire together. Reinforcements of these connections over time mean you get your brain back to normal! Neuro rehab is fun and will teach you a great deal about how your brain functions and how it can function optimally.

There are few in the country who are trained properly to assess and rehab your brain functionally after injury so it’s important to research and select a qualified professional. If you have questions about a concussion please reach out to me: I am proud to be a part of the wellness team at Active Sports Therapy.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]