Posted on 05-06-2013
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in the News
Everywhere you look these days the top of concussions and/or mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBIs) is being discussed. The issue came to the national forefront over the summer when famed football player Junior Seau tragically took his own life. An autopsy revealed that Seau's brain had signs of damage consistent with multiple concussions over his long playing career. Those who knew him well said that he was depressed, isolated, and generally just "not himself" prior to his death.
In addition to seeing signs of MTBI in football players and athletes, we are starting to see signs of MTBI and concussions in veterans. In yesterday's 60 Minutes there was a news story entitled "Invisible Wounds of War" where the broadcasters looked into the "silent epidemic" of MTBI in our veterans. They determined that it was a severely underdiagnosed condition in our veterans. Just like how athletes are expected to rest and take time away following a concussion, so to are soldiers expected to take a break. Unfortunately they are not given the same opportunity to rest as professional athletes are often given. Concussions and PTSD are frequent conditions seen in our veterans returning from combat.
As a Baltimore Chiropractor that focuses on treating acutely injured clients with whiplash, concussions, mild traumatic brain injuries, along with headaches, neck pain, and back pain, I routinely see patients involved in auto accidents that results in concussions. In most cases the Emergency Room staff have not diagnosed these patients with these injuries. It is important to remember that ER staff are doing their job correctly in the majority of cases- they are ruling out life threatening conditions and releasing these patients when it is safe to do so. Chiropractors such as myself are some of the best resources to be able to diagnose and monitor concussions and MTBI since we see patients frequently following the onset of their symptoms. We are able to pick up on subtle differences day to day in behavior, emotion, cognition, and sleep differences that can be crucial in making an accurate diagnosis. Often the patients themselves do not realize that they are behaving differently and it is with the help of friends, family, and loved ones that help me make an accurate diagnosis.
The good news about concussions is that they are often self limiting and resolve in up to 12 weeks. Research has shown that repeat concussions, such as often seen in patients involved in multiple crashes in a short period of time, can lead to a worsening of symptoms, and in some cases, a problem that never completely resolves. At our office we routinely refer these patients to neurologists for appropriate diagnosis and testing. Don't be afraid of your concussion- get the help you need!
Dr Gulitz said:
I forgot to mention. The "Invisible wounds of war" is actually a hyperlink to the 60 minutes video. Check it out here: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50146231n