Recent research reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, describing an athlete with post concussion syndrome reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing these patients.  The literature included supports the role of chiropractic in those suffering from related health challenges and calls for more research in this area.

“Research is revealing that structural shifts in spinal alignment and the nerve obstruction they cause may be a factor in a number of disorders and can be involved in a host of health problems like concussion because of the relationship between the spine and the brain.” stated Matthew McCoy DC, MPH a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study.

McCoy added “If you damage or compress or otherwise interfere with the neurological structures in the spine this can have far reaching implications on the functioning of the body. Through research reports like this we are finding that correcting the structural abnormalities associated with these spinal problems reduces the nerve obstructions and people experience improvement. In this study it was resolution of symptoms of concussion.”

Cervical spine injury and concussions are both forms of traumatic injury that can occur, often concurrently, in events such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, or sports injuries. The cervical spine is the uppermost part of the spinal column, located in the neck and responsible for supporting the skull and enabling neck movement. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury typically caused by a blow to the head or body that shakes the brain inside the skull. The two injuries can be related in that the same impact force can cause both a cervical spine injury and a concussion.

Research has shown not only that the brain relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement, but that complex neurological communication and pathways involved in helping humans balance and orient themselves in space are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways.

According to researchers the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions of the body and structural shifts in the spine can occur that obstruct the nerves and interfere with their function. By removing the structural shifts, chiropractic improves nerve supply and function.

The 20-year-old male reported on in the study had complaints of headache, nausea, dizziness, photophobia, and diplopia after suffering a concussion while playing hockey.  This was the third concussion in five years.  He also had trouble with short term memory, concentration, sleeping, and constant fatigue.  He sought medical care and was told to rest.

The chiropractor examined him and found structural shifts in his neck, upper back, and shoulders.      Decreased range of motion, swelling, and pain in his neck were noted along with muscle spasms in the neck and upper back muscles.  X-rays confirmed these findings.  These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.

Following chiropractic care, he experienced complete resolution of all symptoms after one week of care.  He was asymptomatic for the remainder of his course of chiropractic care.

The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this population.


To learn more about this study and chiropractic research visit, Vertebral Subluxation Research.