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Concussions ARE Treatable


Living in a mountain town where, it seems like nearly everyone has had a concussion, it’s a good time to discuss what us Osteopathic Physicians can do about them.

Here’s a common scenario. Patient hits head, let’s say, snowboarding. They go to the doctor to get checked out. Because they have normal vital signs and no major neurological deficits found on a quickie physical exam, they are diagnosed with a concussion. Patient is then sent home with instructions to “monitor” symptoms while perhaps taking Tylenol or ibuprofen to ease the pain. At best, they are told to avoid screen time and contact sports. They might be given a handout on home tests to help them monitor their symptoms while they follow the doctor’s primary instructions to “wait and watch.”

I know these physicians. They are my friends, colleagues, and teachers. I know they intend to be helpful. However, they were not trained to consider what’s happening inside the concussed cranium and how it can be healed using other approaches besides medication. And so unfortunately, many patients do not get the opportunity to learn that there actually IS something that can be done for a concussion and traumatic brain injury. This is where Osteopathic Manual Medicine (O.M.M.) can help.

In Osteopathic Manual Medicine (O.M.M.), we understand that the human head and face is comprised of 22 bones that are interconnected by tissues and fluids which support the brain and the architecture of the cranium. When someone gets a blow to the head, forces get dispersed into these bones as well as the tissues and fluids that connect them. Compressive forces onto these structures affect proper flow through the vessels in these areas, resulting in poor nutrient and oxygen delivery as well as inadequate drainage of cellular waste and inflammation. The diminished circulation and inflammation caused by a blow to the head are at the the root of the headaches as well as other concussion symptoms like brain fog, poor balance, and dizziness.

So what if there was a way to restore circulation? Wouldn't it be great if the forces straining those vital structures could be undone? Doesn’t it make sense to cleanse the brain of all that inflammation?

Osteopathic physicians who practice O.M.M. can improve the body’s inherent ability to restore normal circulation and therefore, restore function to an injured area. With the injury forces in mind, osteopaths treat the cranium using our hands to sense and affect the anatomy and physiology. As proper function is restored, symptoms are relieved and patients often leave feeling significantly better after an osteopathic treatment.

Pro tip: The sooner a patient gets treated osteopathically, the easier it is to “undo” the injury process. Chronic concussion symptoms can certainly still be treated but it can be a longer process given the body has likely created negative patterns to try and compensate for the injury over time.

Moral of the story, if you or your loved one hit their head, get it treated by an Osteopathic Physician who practices O.M.M. right away, before the fluids in the brain stop moving and before your body has to endure an unnecessary chronic condition!

This concussion example is essentially why O.M.M. helps in just about any injury or condition. To see a list of common conditions addressed by O.M.M. click here

To learn more about osteopathy, concussion and traumatic brain injury, check out these links below:

“Concussion Evaluation and Management; An Osteopathic Perspective”

“What is Cranial Osteopathy”

“Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Resolves Concussion Symptoms, Reports Suggest”

“Concussions and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment; An Adolescent Case Presentation”

“Osteopathic Treatment of Concussion”

Photo: Outside Magazine (

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