There is no one answer for concussion treatment

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 We don’t understand exactly how and why concussion occurs in some people and not others. We have not determined any single test that will diagnose concussion accurately, and we have not got a single treatment that works on everyone, or even most people.

A holistic approach needs to be taken in the treatment of concussion. Dr. Lawrence, an Ottawa chiropractor, has been using vestibular therapy to treat concussion with some good results.

Vestibular therapy is also known as functional neurology and was developed by a Canadian chiropractic neurology specialist Dr. Ted Carrick who has used the treatment successfully in treating NHL hockey player Sydney Crosby. Crosby has suffered a series of concussions in his career. The treatment uses the concept of neuroplasticity which is the idea that we can change the communication paths in the brain. The idea is that you can re-wire the brain’s internal communication system avoiding damaged parts and strengthening or re-activating other parts.

One of Dr. Lawrence’s patients describes her life post soccer concussion as very frustrating. She would spend days in the dark quiet of her bed. She had trouble forming thoughts and was not her bubbly self.  She heard about Dr. Lawrence’s work and decided that she would try the treatment after her doctor, physiotherapist, and eye specialist were not able to help her. After just nine weeks of treatment she says she is much better.

Medical researchers suggest that there is no ‘best approach’ for treating post-concussion syndrome and that persisting symptoms pose a challenge that need further investigation. There are no clear answers to why, how, and how long. The director of CHEO’s concussion clinic has gone on record indicating that patients should use caution if considering vestibular therapy as there isn’t a lot of research supporting its efficacy and because it is relatively expensive.  Doctors and concussion specialists say that anyone with a concussion should be seen by a medical doctor before seeing other health care providers.

Chiropractors are not restricted from treating concussion as long as the treatments fall within ‘chiropractic scopes of practice’ according to the College of Chiropractors of Ontario. They encourage chiropractors to work closely with medical doctors when treating patients with concussion and post-concussion issues. Only medical doctors can order diagnostic test like MRIs and CT scans as an OHIP insured service in Ontario.