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Winter Sports – Injuries & Concussions


Winter Sports - Injuries and Concussions

Winter sports injuries can occur from an accident on the slopes, which can be very extensive.  Injuries such as a broken bone or a concussion should seek medical attention: however, minor injuries including but not limited to sprain/strain of a muscle, whiplash, or a herniated disk, can be resolved by chiropractic or physiotherapy treatment. 

How Chiropractic and Physiotherapy Can Help With Winter Sports Injuries?

The number one goal is to return the patient back to a healthy form in no time! A comprehensive exam will be done to determine what is causing your pain. This exam includes taking a medical history, assessing the injury and evaluating the body. Once a diagnosis has been determined based on the injury, the chiropractor will then treat the area with various techniques including but not limited to:

  • Soft tissue therapy
  • Joint mobilizations/manipulations
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Pain- relieving modalities

However, did you know that you can sustain a concussion even if there is no impact to your head? Forceful head movement or whiplash can lead to a concussion. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of a concussion and how best to treat it early on to avoid further difficulties.

Concussions Management in an Integrated Care Setting

Post-concussion syndrome refers to a complex of symptoms caused by a traumatic head injury. Usually, symptoms last for a few weeks and in some cases can linger for months. The most common symptoms are headaches, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, light sensitivity, difficulties with memory or concentration, and psychological issues.

1) If more serious symptoms occur, such as trouble speaking or hearing, seizures, weakness or numbness, sudden, severe headache, repeated vomiting, skull tenderness etc. your MD will probably order a CT scan or MRI to rule out a fracture, bleeding or swelling.

2) In the last years, the standard of care for concussions has shifted from prolonged rest and minimal mental activity to gradual introduction of physical and social activities as soon as possible post-injury.

3) A recent study including 253 teens and young adults with an acute concussion has shown that early initiation of aerobic exercise improves recovery time and allows for earlier return to normal activities.

4) Another shift in concussion care involves an integrated approach that addresses the neurometabolic changes following a mild traumatic injury. The metabolic cascade includes increased neuronal excitotoxicity, free radicals and inflammation, impairment of mitochondrial function and neurotransmitters as well as depletion of certain nutrients, vitamins and minerals due to increased cellular utilization.

5) With its holistic approach, naturopathic medicine plays an important role in supporting neurological dysfunction associated with concussion. The naturopathic doctor can recommend an individualized treatment plan based on the severity of symptoms and posttraumatic phases (eg. acute or chronic) that includes lifestyle changes, nutritional support, botanical medicine and acupuncture. In terms of nutrition, consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and adequate protein improves cellular regeneration and healing while a diet rich in processed foods, added sugar, artificial sweeteners and alcohol could delay recovery.

6) Moreover, restoring the necessary nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, niacinamide, vitamin D, choline and mitochondrial antioxidants modulates neurotransmission, reduces oxidative stress and replenishes energy deficiency after the trauma. Curcumin and green tea extract are some of the herbal compounds with neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits that can be part of the naturopathic treatment.

7) Other supportive interventions include mindfulness practices, sleep hygiene, massage and chiropractic manipulations.

This information is not intended as a substitute for diagnosis or medical advice provided by your physician or naturopathic doctor. Naturopathic interventions can interact with medications and potentially cause side effects in certain individuals. Visit your naturopathic doctor for a comprehensive assessment and recommendations.

Furthermore, an Occupational Therapist can provide education and early onset treatment to help speed the recovery. Rest is important, but movement and activation are also very important, your health care providers can guide you through this process. Pacing and energy conservation is vital, in conjunction with understanding what activities are good to do and which ones will increase your symptoms. Your occupational therapist will look at your vision, cognition and functional abilities post-concussion and provide you with objective measures to help you understand when you return to school, work or sport.

What other professional are Involved in Post-Concussion Therapy?

Speech-language pathologists (S-LPs) have specialized knowledge of communication and swallowing disorders that follow traumatic brain injuries of all severities (including concussion), as well as the interaction between cognition and communication. S-LPs are established members of brain injury rehabilitation teams and provide treatment that targets meaningful goals including improved communication with family and friends and returning to work or school.

S-LPs are skilled in identifying and treating challenges with auditory comprehension, verbal expression, reading and writing, speech clarity, social communication, cognitive skills (e.g. memory, speed of thinking, attention) and swallowing disorders. Communication and cognitive difficulties following a traumatic brain injury can significantly impact an individual’s day-to-day functioning, social relationships and well-being, as well as return to work, school and play and therefore, S-LPs play a crucial role in supporting individuals with brain injuries on their rehabilitation journey.

To summarize, it is highly recommended to look at all your options when it comes to treatment and the best ways to recover fully from an injury or a concussion. In a multidisciplinary setting, you will have the advantage of having different services and skillsets in one place. As long as health practitioners collaborate during the assessment and treatment process, the recovery should be much faster than seeing one practitioner in a silo.

At Pillars of Wellness, we do offer a fully integrated care approach and a strong collaboration amongst practitioners. We provide comprehensive and joint assessments that help our patients with more flexibility, reduce the redundancy of care, save time and money but more importantly, speed the recovery process.

Laurent Pinci
Laurent Pinci
Pillars of Wellness is a truly Integrated Healthcare Centre providing a high degree of collaboration and communication among health providers.