Integrating Chiropractic Care in Concussion Management: A Holistic Approach for Healthcare Providers



Concussions are a prevalent concern in today's sports and healthcare landscape. They require comprehensive management to ensure a smooth and successful recovery for the affected individual. In this blog post, we'll explore how chiropractors play a pivotal role in the multidisciplinary approach to concussion care, working alongside other healthcare providers to optimize outcomes.

Understanding Concussions

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury(mTBI) that occurs as a result of a sudden blow to the head or body. It is important to note that the majority of concussions do not result in a loss of consciousness or being "knocked-out". A Concussion is; an Acute neurophysiological event related to blunt impact or other mechanical energy applied to the head, neck or body (with transmitting forces to the brain), such as a sudden acceleration, deceleration or rotational forces.

Concussions can often be accompanied with Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD) which is a common sprain/strain affecting the cervical spine and associated musculature. These are often seen as a result of sports-injuries, motor vehicle accidents and falls.

Concussions can lead to a range of symptoms such as;

1. Headaches

  • Temporal pain, Eye pressure

  • Throbbing

2. Cognitive Difficulties

  • Brain Fog

  • Memory problems

3. Light and Sound Sensitivity

4. Dizziness/Vertigo

5. Nausea and/or Vomiting

6. Mood Changes

  • Irritability

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

7. Sleep Disturbances

  • Difficulty falling asleep

  • Excessive fatigue

The Multidisciplinary Approach

Successful concussion management often requires a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers. This can include physicians, physical therapists, neurologists, and, importantly, chiropractors. Each professional brings a unique set of skills and expertise to the table, contributing to a well-rounded and holistic approach to care.

The Chiropractor's Perspective

A Chiropractor specially trained in concussion management can focus on the nervous and musculoskeletal system to evaluate and understand the impact of the injury.

Here's how chiropractors can play a crucial role:

Assessment and Diagnosis: Chiropractors are skilled in performing thorough assessments to identify any impairments, neurological deficits, vestibular symptoms and/or imbalances that may exacerbate concussion symptoms. Their expertise in musculoskeletal health can uncover underlying issues that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Manual Therapy: Chiropractic adjustments involve the use of controlled, quick and gentle forces to the spine and other joints. This can alleviate pain, restore range of motion, and decrease tension. In the context of concussions, gentle adjustments can help alleviate tension and pressure on the cervical spine. This alleviates many of the symptoms associated with concussion; such as headaches, muscular pressure/tension as well as helping to restore balance.

Concussion & Vestibular Rehab: Vestibular rehab for concussion involves a combination of exercises and techniques to:

  • Improve Balance: Improve balance and stability by targeting specific exercises that challenge the vestibular system and help the brain adapt to any disruptions caused by the concussion.

  • Reduce Dizziness and Vertigo: Address sensations of dizziness and vertigo through exercises that gradually expose the individual to controlled head movements and positional changes.

  • Enhance Gaze Stability: Work on exercises that help stabilize vision during head movements, reducing symptoms like blurred vision or difficulty focusing.
  • Improve Proprioception & Co-ordination: Promote a better awareness of body position and movement in space, which is important for overall coordination and balance.

Patient Education: Chiropractors empower patients by providing them with tools and knowledge to take an active role in their recovery. This may include exercises, stretches, and lifestyle adjustments that support the healing process.

Restore Functionality: Developing a proper timeline for return to work or return to play is also essential for a full recovery. Chiropractors work one-on-one to establish a safe and progressive timeline to get you back to your activities.


Concussion management requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach. Integrating chiropractic care & concussion rehab into patients' treatment plan can offer great benefits. Chiropractors can help by addressing underlying musculoskeletal issues that may be exacerbating concussion symptoms. Working with other healthcare providers is also important to ensure a smooth recovery for patients suffering from a concussion. Remember, a holistic and collaborative approach to care is often the key to successful outcomes.

written by Dr. John Del Col, DC Ba.Kin (Hons)

SHIFT Concussion Certified Practitioner