Today, a new peer-reviewed medical study showing significant and substantial improvements in sports-related head trauma, was published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology: Neurotrauma Section (Impact Factor 3.552). Concussions are part of a group of injuries categorized as mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs). Current research suggests that as many as 4 million mTBIs are reported every year. Other research has demonstrated that the majority of symptoms that are associated with concussions resolve on their own within 14-30 days. However, in about 10% of all cases (approximately 400,000 people annually) the symptoms experienced after sustaining a head trauma enter a "chronic"phase, in which symptoms may persist for weeks, to months, or even permanently. Once symptoms are experienced for greater than three months, a patient may be diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. Currently, there is no treatment for post-concussion syndrome. Patients' symptoms are managed with pharmaceuticals and are often prescribed physical and behavioral therapy. However, even this approach is still lacking evidence.
In this paper, the authors reviewed records on 620 patients that had experienced a head injury and were suffering from Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS). They set their inclusion criteria to include only individuals that had sustained a sport-related concussion, had persisting and debilitating symptoms of greater than 6 months, and had not responded to prior interventions. The selection of subjects based upon the defined criteria yielded a population sample of 70 patients.
As described in the study, each patient was assessed individually utilizing instrumentation designed to measure and quantify over 40 variables such as symptoms, cognitive function, reaction time, vestibular-ocular function, gaze-holding, and eye-tracking. The treatments that were administered consisted of the following five components, over a 5-day "intensive" period:
Head-Eye Vestibular Movements (HEVM) performed 5 times per day.
Head-Hand-Eye Coordination Movements performed 3 times per day.
Vestibular-Only Therapies in a Multi-Axis Rotational Chair (MARC) were termed Head-Eye performed twice per day.
Somatic-Sensory Limb Movements performed 3 times per day.
Spinal Manipulation Therapy of the Cervical Spine performed when neck tightness prohibited proper head-eye tracking.
After a statistical analysis of these data, the authors concluded that after 5 days of intensive treatment at their international brain rehabilitation center, there was a significant and substantial change in symptoms of individuals that had been diagnosed with refractory post-concussion syndrome related to a sports-injuries.
The authors also noted a few points of interest:
The pre-treatment symptom scores did not predict how well someone would perform after treatment. This means that pre-existing symptoms did not correlate with post-treatment results. So patients with very severe symptoms did not have any worse results than those with mild symptoms.
Irritability and sleep disturbances were the largest predictors of overall symptoms. It is uncertain whether this means that higher symptoms make people more irritable and less able to sleep soundly, or if people with irritability and difficulty sleeping have higher symptoms.
There was a remarkable improvement in symptoms associated with mental health, such as irritability.
A 5-day intensive therapy scenario involving patient-specific vestibular, ocular, sensory, and physical therapies demonstrated to be an effective modality that might be considered in chronic treatment refractory PCS.
What does this all mean to a patient?
This study demonstrates that there are options available for people have post-concussion syndrome, who have tried traditional therapies, and have had their condition for 6 months or greater. It also suggests that healing from a concussion and a substantial reduction of symptoms associated with post-concussion syndrome can be realized in less than a week of treatment, if patients are treated as individuals, not with generic protocols. It also suggests that post-concussion disorders may present with physical, emotional, and neurological components, that can be addressed by tailored sensory integration modalities involving vestibular rehabilitation.
For more information on the type of treatment provided in this study, please visit www.PlasticityBrainCenters.com or contact Plasticity Brain Centers of Orlando at 855-955-9727.
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