Concussion & Post-Concussion Syndrome

Are you experiencing concussion symptoms more than a month after your initial injury? While the majority of concussion symptoms will resolve in the first few weeks to a month, about 15% of cases will persist beyond this time and continue to cause major issues for people.

If you still have concussion symptoms after a month, then you may be experiencing a condition known as Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS). The good news is that you’re not alone and there are treatment options available to help with PCS.

At Northoak Chiropractic, we offer an integrative approach to the treatment of concussions and PCS. Our team combines neurologic, metabolic, nutritional, and biomechanical tools and techniques to help you get your life back after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Book an appointment and get your life back on track!

Our Approach to Concussion & PCS Treatment

The team at Northoak Chiropractic in Oakville is led by Dr. Jay Burness. Dr. Jay is one of only a few doctors in Canada to hold an American Chiropractic Neurology Board (ACNB) certification. In 2015, he also became one of 50 doctors worldwide to earn a fellowship certification in post-concussion syndrome management, granted by the American Board of Brain Injury and Rehabilitation.

Dr. Jay’s approach is based on over 20 years of clinical practice and case management, which has evolved to best suit the needs of difficult and chronic cases. Our team develops tailored, effective programs of care targeting the specific needs and conditions of each patient. Each treatment plan is unique to the patient and their injury.

When treating PCS patients, we do not make any chiropractic adjustments. Instead, we will use gentle eye and body movement exercises, as well as light, sound, and electrical stimulations to drive neural plasticity. Nutritional supplementation and dietary changes are recommended to reduce inflammation and support the formation of new neural connections.

Our team will repeat testing at regular intervals, in order to ensure functional improvement in response to treatment can be measured. This takes away the guesswork of when the patient has recovered and when it is appropriate to return to work or play. A similar treatment approach has helped high profile athletes, such as Sidney Crosby, and others from all walks of life.

What Our Clients Have to Say

  • "I cannot say enough about working with Dr Jay Burness and his team. I arrived with several issues that came about as a result of my concussion: headaches, balance issues, spatial awareness, eye problems, anxiety, and memory. Quickly I started seeing improvements and in three months significant change had taken place."

    Janice R.
  • "When I found Dr. Burness I was experiencing insomnia, daily headaches, memory fog, blurry vision, anxiety, and depression. I had been experiencing all these symptoms for close to a year with little help from other doctors. The first two weeks of treatment comprised of 6 treatments, and that's all it took to start feeling a difference. I definitely recommend Dr. Burness for PCS or other neurological-based illnesses."

    Salima V.
  • "[I had a] high school daughter (athlete) with PCS. [She experienced] speech and memory loss, debilitating headaches, and personality changes. I was referred to Dr. Jay’s functional neurology program by an ex-NHL athlete. We are almost done the program and my daughter has her life back. We owe it all to Dr Jay and his staff. Almost unimaginable how far she has come."

    Kim S.
  • "Dr Jay and his team have been able to resolve symptoms of post-concussion syndrome that I've been dealing with for 5+ years. All of my symptoms are improving, if not already gone. He and his team are willing to problem solve — it's not a blanket program. They actually want to know how you are feeling, and use your feedback to guide the rehab program. If you've been struggling with PCS, I highly recommend you contact Dr Jay."

    Lindsay B.
  • "After half a year of suffering with debilitating side effects from PCS, I had no other choice but to fly across the country to stay with my parents. I found Jay's videos on the internet and he was the first practitioner who was able to relay the type of symptoms I was struggling with. I saw a dozen specialists before I saw Jay and no one offered me any solutions for this condition and continually sent me home to suffer. Jay and his team literally saved me from losing myself in PCS."

    Alicia G.
  • "You and your staff kept us "sane" in a time of true despair. Tom was in his 5th month of Post Concussion Syndrome and after seeing 4 doctors and ending up in a couple of different hospitals, then crashing...we still did not have any real answers or concrete suggestions as to how to proceed to begin the recovery process. The anti-inflammatory plan is something he did religiously for numerous months and even now he is sticking to it most of the time. Again, I am truly grateful for your help!"

    Roma D.

How Functional Neurology Can Help

At Northoak Chiropractic, our state-of-the-art examination and analysis includes:

  • Videonystagmography (VNG) — Testing and recording of inner ear function and controlled eye movements as indications of regional brain function.
  • Saccadometry — Testing of saccadic eye movements.
  • Force Plate Testing — Testing balance through pressure mapping.

These tests allow us to gather objective data on neurological, oculomotor, and balance dysfunction, which can help us identify the areas of injury within the brain as well as the specific functional losses behind the symptoms of PCS.

Using functional neurology techniques, we can then carefully activate these specific areas (remaining within the patient’s tolerance limits) to promote normal firing patterns and repair neural pathways.

Learn More About Concussions & PCS

It is estimated that there are approximately 500,000 to 2 million concussions that occur per year in North America. Most of these injuries are the result of sporting accidents, but any occurrence where the head is bumped, or even moved abruptly, can cause brain injury.

In many cases, significant injury can occur with seemingly trivial trauma. In fact, recent research has shown that repeated subconcussive impacts without symptoms can be just as damaging over time as confirmed concussions.

In a concussion or traumatic brain injury, damage is most often caused by:

  1. The impact of the brain against the inner surface of the skull.
  2. The twisting force on the brain stem.

While helmets protect the bones of the skull and the skin of the head against injury, they do not protect the brain from internal damage. One common concussion myth is that helmets will protect the wearer against the likelihood of suffering from a concussion — this is not the case.

Learn more about concussions below:

Acute Concussion Management

Acute concussion management is best handled in the emergency room. We do not treat acute head injuries at Northoak Chiropractic, so if you have suffered a concussion in the past 24 to 48 hours, we recommend that you seek medical attention.

After receiving emergency care, the best medicine in the first 10 days post-injury is complete physical and mental rest. In the case of mild traumatic brain injury (not involving unconsciousness), 80% to 90% of cases will recover in that first 10 days. In more severe cases, recovery may take as long as one month.

Concussion Facts

  • Approximately 15% of people who have had a severe concussion have symptoms lasting a year or more.
  • 20% of all concussions take three weeks or longer to recover.
  • If symptoms persist beyond one month, then Post Concussion Syndrome exists and intervention is necessary.
  • Traumatic brain injuries range from mild to severe, but all are dangerous and may cause medical problems that can last for years.
  • 47% of all high school concussions in boys are caused by football injuries. Soccer poses the biggest concussion danger for girls.
  • The recovery time for all head injuries, including concussion, is much longer in children and teens than adults.
  • Many mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are not diagnosed until some time after the injury. Often the person notices difficulty doing something that was once an easy task. Many TBI patients first notice difficulties in social situations.

Concussion Symptoms

Concussions can lead to a variety of signs and symptoms, which may not show up for hours or days after the injury. As explained above, these symptoms can persist for days, weeks, months, or even years. If they remain for longer than one month, then it is an indication that you have developed PCS.

Every injury is different and each person may exhibit different symptoms, as a result of their concussion. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

Want more information or have specific questions?