In my office, I frequently see people suffering from conditions such as migraines, headaches, vertigo, fatigue, and chronic pain. Most of the time people can remember a head or neck trauma they once sustained, and since then they have not been the same. Recently we have decided to hold free monthly workshops on these conditions. Our upcoming class this month is on concussions and head trauma.
Concussions are a big deal and affect many people. In fact, recently there was a Hollywood movie made starring Will Smith called Concussion. If you haven’t seen it, the movie is based on a doctor who discovers the dangers of repetitive head trauma and how it affects players in the NFL.
The name of the real doctor is Bennet Omalu. After careful examination of the brain, Omalu discovered clumps of tau proteins, which impair function upon accumulation. It was similar to “dementia pugilista,” a degenerative disease documented decades earlier in boxers, though it had yet to be connected to football players. After confirming his findings with top faculty members at the University of Pittsburgh, Omalu named the condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and submitted a paper titled “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in a National Football League Player” to the medical journal Neurosurgery. He also published a book called: Play Hard, Die Young: Football Dementia, Depression, and Death. After watching the film, it made me think of my childhood/young adult experience with competitive sports, spanning all the way into my college career.
I distinctly remember my first concussion when I was 11. I was playing goalie in soccer, and there was a break away where the forward was all alone coming at the goal. I came out to try to prevent a goal, and I collided with the other player. Her knee contacted my temple and I was knocked out cold. When I came to, my teammates were staring down at me. I got up, walked to the sidelines, and took a sip of water. I probably was there for 5 minutes when my coach asked if I could go back in. “Of course I can” I replied, and went back in to finish the game. Even at the age of 11, I knew what was expected of me and not returning to the game would have been considered weak. This is pretty much how it went for the rest of my career as an athlete. If you’re hurt, you play. If you’re sick, you play. If it is Thanksgiving, you play. If it is Christmas vacation you have 2 days off, then you play.
Looking back at all the trauma to my head and neck, I feel very fortunate that I found my way into chiropractic. And, more specifically, I feel extremely fortunate that I found my way into Upper Cervical Chiropractic. Every day I get to help people that have experienced head trauma who feel like nothing can be done to help them. It is amazing to see someone get their life back. I am also grateful that I am able to get care myself.
I wouldn’t want to change all that has happened playing sports and getting pretty banged up, but if I didn’t have this care, I don’t know what my health would be like. The only thing I wish is that I had had Upper Cervical Chiropractic care when I was playing in high school and college. Today I continue to play competitive sports, and even more contact sports. I will be 34 next month, and I feel better and more energetic than when I was 24. I feel so great because I take care of myself by eating right and making sure I get my nervous system checked by Dr. Rich Baez. I am able to continue to play competitive sports and still feel great. In fact, I will be trying out for the U.S National Australian Rules Football team this year. I know this would not be possible without Specific Upper Cervical Chiropractic care.
You may be wondering if I see a lot of top-tier athletes in my practice. The answer is no. I see regular people who usually have had some sort of head or neck trauma and are now experiencing neurological symptoms such as vertigo, headaches, migraines, fatigue, and/or brain fog. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to understand that head trauma and concussions are a big deal, and can have lasting effects on your health.
The biggest mistake I see is that people wait too long to get help. It is only when their condition makes it impossible to live their lives the way they want to that they finally seek medical attention. Luckily, even at that point we can help them. So if you know someone who is dealing with a chronic health issue and doesn’t know where to go, please have them call one of our offices for help. If you are in the Boulder area and would like to come to our monthly workshops please go to www.thespecific.com or call our office at 303-442-5911 to speak to one of our doctors.