Concussion | Auckland Health and Performance


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What is concussion?


Concussion occurs when forces are applied to the skull. Either directly or indirectly leading to rapidly acceleration and deceleration in the brain.


The brain is shaken in the skull. This sudden change in movement in the skull leads to nerves shearing which produces an energy crisis. The changes in cell metabolism leads to changes in the function of deep parts of your brain which can affect mood, sleep, wakefulness, energy, fatigue and many others.


Concussion is a disturbance in the communication between your brain and the other systems in your body. There is a circuit disruption between the trillions of cells in your body and your brain that coordinates and controls it.


The issue in essences is between a few of the key players, the brain and nervous system your oculomotor system (eye), your vestibular system (balance) and cranial dural system.


This can also lead to a bit of metabolic disruption in your organs and other systems digestive immune and endocrine (hormones)

Concussion can be a huge strain on physical mental and emotional wellbeing which is why a total body and multidisciplinary approach will serve you best. Which means looking at your body as a whole and having a few practitioners chime in with their expertise to help you along the way


Concussions are broadly categorized into physiological vestibular or cervicogenic driven


Post-concussion syndrome can last from 2 days to anyway up to 18 months or longer. So, having the right people around you to support your recovery is really important


It’s important to note that the science and understanding of concussion is continually evolving


What are the symptoms of concussion?


Signs and symptoms of concussion

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Unsteadiness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Vision changes
  • Nausea Drowsiness
  • Amnesia
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Tinnitus
  • Irritability
  • Feeling slowed down or “in a fog”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Low energy, drowsiness
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Increased emotionality
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Amnesia
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Appearing dazed
  • Eye-movement abnormality
  • Inappropriate emotionality
  • Physical incoordination
  • Imbalance
  • Seizure
  • Slowed verbal responses


Diagnosis and Assessment

Concussion results in a constellation of physical, cognitive, visual, emotional, and sleep-related disturbances. Therefore a few systems need to be assessed to get you back on track. One tool that is used currently heavily to capture baseline information is the is the SCAT-5 click here

Neuro-cognitive Assessment Tools

Eyes and Ear Testing – Vestibular

Gaze Stability

Balance co-ordination Posture and Balance

Emotional Health and Wellbeing



When can I go back to sport after a concussion?

There is a lack of research to support the optimal period of time an athlete should be out of
training and competition. Below is an example of a graduated return to sport protocol based
on the best available evidence and expert experience.

It depends on your severity of your symptoms but going back to sport to soon and taking

another knock to the head will delay your recovery even further and is dangerous.



  • 24 hours between steps: Generally, each step should take at least 24 hours, so that, assuming the athlete does not experience a recurrence of concussion symptoms at rest or with exercise as they progresses through the exercise program, she will be able to return to sports in about a week’s time after symptoms have cleared.


  • Fall back if symptoms return: If the athlete experiences a recurrence of concussion symptoms during any of the steps, they need to drop back to the previous level at which they were symptom-free, and try to progress again after a further 24-hour period of rest has passed.


What can I do to help my concussion?


Your brain has had a trauma. Rest, recovery and nutrition is essential.

Increase intake of Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA, and ALA) to aid with recovery. It is especially important to increase EPA and DHA which can be found in food and supplement form. Fish oil cod liver oil chia seeds walnuts flax seeds salmon

You may feel slightly nauseas or have lost your appetite so food choices may be simple and bland like bananas toast applesauce etc…

You need as much brightly colored fruit and vegetables as possible for antioxidants. Antioxidants can help regenerate brain they prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures. Make sure you are getting 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day. Load up!

Water and protein to help with cell repair

Reduce screen time

Limit loud noise and bright lights

Another knock to the head, doing a header in soccer for example will set your recovery back

Be Patient


How long should I have off work with concussion?


After an injury, it is best to take 1-2 days off of work in order to allow your brain to rest and recover! Within the first 24-48 hours, both physical and cognitive rest are important. In the past, it was common to prescribe complete rest for up to a week for individuals who had experienced a concussion.

Everybody’s experience of concussion can be slightly different. So there is no hard and fast rule with this. A conversation between you, your health care team and your workplace. ACC will cover a portion of time away from work due to injury in some cases.

There are other strategies that can help too. Working from home, working in a quieter office in your workplace, a few changes in the environment at work can also help speed up recovery. Changing lights, noise desk ergonomics can all make a difference


Can a chiropractor help with concussion?


Yes. A chiropractor is responsible for not only good diagnosis, triage, and patient management, but also prevention of injuries and education.

Chiropractors are well trained at examining the nervous system, sports chiropractors often have extra post-graduate training in the management of concussion symptoms

You might be experiencing neck or back pain after receiving a blow to the head.

Chiropractors can help manage your concussion alongside  other health care professional like a GP, neurophysio or occupational therapist