Neck Injuries & Concussions

By Dr. Jason Slagel | March 6th, 2021

Anyone who hasn’t heard anything about concussion by now must be living under a rock. Though this article is not really about concussions it is about NECK INJURY, which can mimic almost every concussion symptom. The problem with most people that have concussions is that they don’t know that their injury actually caused two problems: concussion and neck injury. It takes less force to injure the neck than it takes to get a concussion, so if you get a concussion, it is almost guaranteed that you also have a neck injury as well.

Many people have very high-quality treatment for the concussion and see improvements in their symptoms, but most people overlook treating the neck injury. Both the neck and the concussion need to be addressed in order to resolve the issues and allow for a complete recovery from the injury. This is the reason why so many people with concussions have lingering symptoms long after their concussion treatment is finished and the experts say symptoms should be gone. Let’s compare whiplash symptoms with concussion symptoms:



  • Headache
  • Fuzzy or Blurry Vision
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to Noise or Light
  • Balance Issues
  • Fatigue/Tired/Lacking
  • Energy
  • Sleeping Too Much/Too Little
  • Difficulty Concentrating/Remembering New Information
  • Nervousness/Anxiety/Irritability


  • Neck Pain and Stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Numbness in the
  • Arm/Hand
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with Balance
  • Difficulty Concentrating/Remembering
  • Irritability
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Fatigue

In case you missed it, here are the symptoms that BOTH concussions and whiplash present with:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Balance Issues
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep Problems
  • Concentration Issues
  • Irritability

So let’s say Johnny gets a concussion and goes to Dr. Jones and she says “Yes, Johnny, you have a concussion.” Then Dr. Jones does all the great concussion treatment that she does and the symptoms improve greatly. After all is said and done, what if Johnny still is having issues with those overlapping symptoms? What does the poor guy do? Unfortunately, this happens more than health care professionals would like to admit. In the end, only one of the two problems has been addressed. The concussion has been treated but the neck injury (aka whiplash) has been neglected.

The neck needs to be fixed.

Now here is what most people with concussion and whiplash do not know: whiplash is damage to ligaments, and ligaments are what holds your neck all together in the correct place. This is why when you have damage to ligaments the neck can actually shift out of place.

In many cases, the shift of the head and neck (neck injury) need to be addressed before the post-concussion symptoms will completely heal.

The Atlas (the top bone in your neck) is responsible for most of the range of motion of your head, so since it is so mobile, it’s not very stable. This is why it can be shifted out of place easier than any other bone in the spine. If you have a concussive injury that damages the connective tissue that holds the atlas in place, it can shift, causing many issues, including the ones that were overlapping with a concussion that we saw earlier. This shift can cause Brainstem Pressure, which also mimics whiplash and concussion symptoms. The picture below shows what this can look like.

The way we correct this problem is by addressing the root issue, which is the shift of the atlas out of position. We take extremely precise x-rays of the head and neck and measure that shift down to 1/100th of a degree from all three dimensions. Then, we can measure exactly how the atlas has shifted out of place and we can calculate how to correct it. This is all without any twisting, cracking, or popping. Once the atlas is corrected back to its proper position, the position of the head and neck is restored as well. This means that through this the Brainstem Pressure and whiplash damage can be corrected and the concussion-like symptoms can actually improve and possibly resolve.

Stay One Step Ahead of Pain

To learn more about this connection between concussion and neck injury and what Structural Spinal Care can do to help or simply to sit down with the doctor and talk, request a complimentary consultation with the button below or give our office a call at +1 954 842 2677.

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