Which High School Sports Have the Highest Concussion Rates?

A report published this week by CNN sheds some new light on rates of concussion in high school sports in the United States.  There are some promising take-aways, such as, the rate of recurrent concussions has decreased since 2013-2014. This is most likely due to various forms of legislation passed in all 50 states in 2015 which require adherence to  “return to play” guidelines.  Other recent studies have shown that many adults still have a limited understanding of concussions, so I am sharing this article here for educational purposes.   (see link below)

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/15/health/concussion-high-school-sports-study/index.html

A couple of things to keep in mind:   This particular study was focused on high school sports, but it did not study all high school sports.  That does not mean that other sports do not cause concussions.  Also, concussions do not only come from sports.  People of any age can suffer with a concussion and the post-concussive symptoms can last for years.  A “little” concussion is still a concussion and should be professionally assessed and treated.

The current protocol for treating concussions is pretty much to just wait it out. With intermittent doctor visits, of course, but not much else.  If any one has ever gone through this “watchful waiting” period, you know how difficult it can be.  Headaches, nausea, darkness, no screens, hoping….It not only affects the patient, but the whole family.  That is why Matrix Repatterning is revolutionary.  Matrix Repatterning is a gentle hands-on therapy that has proven successful in relieving post-concussive symptoms.  Read through my other posts to learn more about how Matrix Repatterning can help if you or someone you know has been injured and  is suffering.

 

Understanding Matrix Repatterning

There are so many people living their lives with some kind of condition that they would rather not have.  The problem is, they don’t know what to do about it.  Many people live with chronic pain. In fact, according to the CDC, an estimated 20% of Americans are living with chronic pain.  Some studies indicate that perhaps as many as 40% of Americans are living in chronic pain.  Pain and other symptoms are caused by many things including injuries, fractures, surgeries, our jobs, sports, our lifestyles – the list is endless.  Did you know that even something as seemingly routine as dental work can leave a person with nagging symptoms they didn’t have before?

I have found that when I describe Matrix Repatterning to people, more often than not, I can literally see their faces light up with hope that maybe they can get help with a certain condition they have, or they think of a loved one who needs help.  Matrix Repatterning is different than other forms of therapy in that it works on the deeper tissues of the body and it specifically targets areas that have lost their normal electrical pattern due to some form of injury.  Even intentional injuries, such as surgery, are disrupting the normal tissue matrix of the body.  When there is an injury on a deeper level, not only is the bony framework affected, but the connective fascia will become restricted. Because this fascia acts as a fabric sheath throughout the body, a restriction in one area will lead to tension patterns in many places which show up in the more superficial soft tissues like the muscles and ligaments. Imagine if you tug on a piece of fabric or clothing, you will notice that tension or strain patterns pull throughout the fabric.

                                  matrixblue

In the figure above, if there is an injury to the hip, you can see the strain patterns traversing the body in many directions.  So this person may in fact be looking for help with a painful shoulder and not getting any relief.  The shoulder in this case is not the problem.  Until the restriction in the right hip is released, they will likely continue to suffer with that “bad shoulder”.  The beauty of Matrix Repatterning is that by locating and treating restrictions in the body, the strain patterns release and the symptomatic area feels better.  And it stays that way.

A couple of added benefits of Matrix Repatterning are that it is a very gentle, hands-on technique.  It is very common for someone to feel extremely relaxed and refreshed following treatment.   This is because there is more electricity flowing through the body and the inner framework and the fascia are returning to their normal, relaxed state.  And that is our goal.  Matrix Repatterning is the best thing I have found to help people on their path to living a healthy, pain-free life.

 

Dr. Clare Larkin, DC, CMRP is one of only 9 Certified Matrix Repatterning Practitioners in the United States.  She maintains a practice in New Jersey, where she treats people suffering from many unresolved injuries and symptoms.  For more information, go to www.DrClareLarkin.com and www.MatrixRepatterning.com.  Dr. Larkin can be reached at 908-930-0628 and drlarkin@optonline.net.

 

Solution or Suffering?

back pain

One of the body’s greatest built-in mechanisms is the ability to feel physical pain.  You may not have ever looked at it this way, but the ability to feel pain is a gift.  If we didn’t feel pain, we would never know that something was wrong.  Or that something we are doing is damaging our body.  Or that we need to get help from someone other than ourselves.  Most people look at pain as a bad thing, or a curse.  As if they were expecting to get through life unscathed.  No way.  No one gets a free pass in life.  We all feel pain at some point.  And that’s a good thing.  Unless we ignore it and it turns into suffering.

What I have noticed is that every one of us has a different tolerance for pain and suffering.  Some people have very little tolerance and seek out help after a seemingly minor injury.  I have had patients who told me, “I bumped my arm over the weekend and it hurts a little, so I just want you to check it to make sure it’s okay.”  They were not feeling too much pain, but wanted to be sure everything was functioning normally so the pain would go away.  In no way did these folks want to suffer.

Then there are many people who will take pain to its highest limits before they seek help.  A lot of people do this. They power through, thinking the pain will disappear on its own, or that they will ignore it until it is really bad. They have a high tolerance for suffering.  Take a former co-worker of mine named Ruth.  We were working together in an office many years ago.  She had terrible back pain and it was obviously very uncomfortable.  Ruth found a chiropractor close to her home and within a few visits, she was feeling much better.  So I was surprised a few weeks later to see her walking around the office very gingerly, really guarding her back.  I asked her what was going on.  Wasn’t she still going to the chiropractor?  She told me, “Well I only have six visits left on my plan, so I want to wait until my pain is really bad before I go back.  It’s ok.”  Really? You can barely walk!  I encouraged her to go back to see the chiropractor, which she did.  Once again, she was feeling better very quickly.  But, her approach didn’t surprise me.  Many people will wait and live with pain until they can no longer bear it.  I do understand that some people have problems that have not been solved yet, and they too are suffering, but not by choice.  I am talking about when someone consciously chooses to put off the solution and lives with their pain.  An old Buddhist proverb says,

“Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.”

We need to re-frame how we look at pain and see it as the perfect mechanism it was designed to be:  a signal that we need to change something or get some help for our problem area. People who approach pain like my friend Ruth, think that suffering with a problem will be okay.  But I look at it this way.  We only get one life.  And we all want to live a long life.  The quality of our days should be just as important as the quantity of our days.

Also, if you are suffering through pain, putting off the solution, you are making a potentially simple problem much worse by forcing your body through movement it cannot tolerate.  When the “Oil change” signal in our car lights up, we can only drive around ignoring it for so long before we risk damaging the engine.  Which is a much worse and more expensive fix than an oil change.  The same thing goes for your body.  We are all going to experience pain.  The quicker we take care of it, the less suffering we have to endure.

 

Dr. Clare Larkin, DC, CMRP is one of only 9 Certified Matrix Repatterning Practitioners in the United States.  She maintains a practice in New Jersey, where she treats people suffering from many unresolved injuries and symptoms.  For more information, go to www.DrClareLarkin.com and www.MatrixRepatterning.com.  Dr. Larkin can be reached at 908-930-0628 and drlarkin@optonline.net.

A Thing or Two About Concussions

concussion picture

When I was in school, I loved studying neurology.  As hard as it was to learn, it was, and still is, one of my favorite subjects. I have learned a lot about the brain over the years.  I have studied all the pathways of the brain, the neurological pathologies and what parts of the brain they affect, how they affect different parts of the body and why, what symptoms they cause and how to diagnose them. I have held brains in my hands and examined too many cross-sections of the brain and spinal cord to count.  At one time, like all my classmates, I could identify where each slice of the brain and spinal cord came from.  So, I know a thing or two about brains.

When I learn about the brain and its functions these days, it is usually in the form of the brain in relation to a pathology or concussion.  And what surprises me, even today, is that most of us – lay people and those of us in healthcare – have limited knowledge of concussions.  In fact, a paper put out by the Mayo Clinic in Dec 2017 revealed that only 1/3 of high school athletes, high school coaches and parents of athletes know that a concussion is a brain injury.  This may not surprise you, but it sure surprised me!  I thought everybody knew that.  But I guess not.

But all that is changing.  The more we study concussions, the more we are learning about them and how devastating the effects of a concussion can be on a person’s overall health and quality of life, in both the short term and the long term.  Ever since Dr. Bennet Omalu’s study on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in football players, on which the book “Concussion” was based, was published in the journal Neurosurgery in 2005, the science world has been scrambling to learn and understand as much as we can about concussion.  The good news is as we gain a better understanding about concussions, we are developing new and better ways to prevent and treat them.

soccer player collision

And yet new findings are being discovered, but if these discoveries are not making it to the news, then most people don’t know about them.  So, for the purpose of becoming better informed, I’d like to share with you a thing or two that you may not know about concussions:

  • A concussion is defined as a head injury from direct or indirect forces, with or without loss of consciousness leading to symptoms immediately after the injury or within weeks or months after the injury. Direct force would be a blow to the head, collision, hitting the head.  Indirect force could be form a whiplash or perhaps even a hard blow to the body, because all the fluid inside the body has to disperse somewhere.
  • A concussion can happen in any sport or recreational activity.
  • Current concussion management is for a doctor to re-test an athlete before clearing them to resume practicing and playing their sport again. However, even though clinical tests may show improvement, many athletes may feel “off” for months or even years after a concussion.  Studies show higher rates of anxiety, depression and even suicide among people who have suffered a concussion.
  • A concussion occurs at an average of 92 g-force. This is equivalent to smacking your head against a wall at 20 MPH.   For comparison, a high g-force roller coaster has a g-force of 3.5 – 6.3 g.  A turn in a fighter jet produces between 9 – 12 g. Astronauts experience a maximum of 3 g during rocket launch.
  • The average high school football player takes an average of 650 impacts per year, with a maximum of over 2,000/year. Not all of these are occurring at 92 g-force, but studies suggest that enough cumulative “subconcussive” head impacts could cause long term health problems.  A study out of Italy found that there was a higher incidence of ALS among former soccer players who had at least one head injury.  Some hypothesize that this is due to the repetitive neuro-trauma that occurs from heading the ball.
  • Over 3.8 million concussions are reported every year. I wonder how many are not being reported?
  • Over 500,000 kids report to the ER every year with a concussion.
  • 47% of concussions occur between the ages of 12 – 15. At these ages, the skull is not fully formed and the supportive muscles of the neck are pretty weak.
  • In the NFL, 92% of players return to practice/play 7 days after a concussion.
  • Myelin is a fatty substance that insulates nerve cells and speeds up the information being transmitted from one nerve cell to another. Studies show that myelin loosens around the nerve cells two weeks after a concussion and does not return to normal until two months after a concussion.  And football players are back out on the field after 7 days?!  Yikes!
  • Blood flow and glucose to the brain are both decreased 7-10 days after a concussion. Keep in mind that glucose is the brain’s fuel.  If it is not getting to the brain, how is the brain functioning properly?
  • Once you receive a concussion, you are 1.5 times more likely to receive a second one. After the second concussion, you are 3 times more likely to receive a 3rd.  Well this makes sense if you read the previous statistic about lack of blood flow and glucose to the brain. If the brain is not receiving nutrients and oxygen (remember, blood carries oxygen), it is going to have delayed processing and reaction times.
  • Depending on the sport, women are 2-3x more vulnerable to concussion than their male counterparts. This may be due to such factors as neck muscle strength and hormone levels at the time of the head injury.

Up until recently, treatment options for concussion were limited.  Most concussion patients were told to stay in a dark room, limit their TV and electronics usage and wait it out for a period of time before returning to their doctor for clearance.  Fortunately in recent years, treatment options are improving.  Some concussion patients are being treated with nutritional and brain-specific rehab protocols.

Another option for concussion symptoms is a revolutionary therapy called Matrix Repatterning.  Matrix Repatterning is a gentle, yet powerful, hands-on therapy that detects and releases restrictions that have built up in the deeper, denser framework of the body, and allows the patient to resume normal function again.  It has proven very successful in treating concussion and post-concussive syndrome.  In his book “The Brain’s Way of Healing”, Dr. Norman Doidge states:

“I view it as prudent to have a Matrix Repatterning assessment after a blow to the head….Observing such cases has led me to hope that one day Matrix Repatterning will be routinely applied in hospital emergency settings.”

The hopeful take away from all of this is that every day we are learning more about concussions.  And because we are learning more about the causes and outcomes of concussions, we are developing new and better treatments for concussions.  So there is hope for those suffering post-concussive symptoms.  If you or someone you know is suffering from post-concussive symptoms, seek treatment.  Not just sitting in a dark room avoiding electronics.  Real treatment.

 

Dr. Clare Larkin, DC, CMRP is one of only 9 Certified Matrix Repatterning Practitioners in the United States.  She maintains a practice in New Jersey, where she treats not only concussion patients, but people suffering from many unresolved injuries and symptoms.  For more information, go to www.DrClareLarkin.com and www.MatrixRepatterning.com.  Dr. Larkin can be reached at 908-930-0628 and drlarkin@optonline.net.