Among sports-related injuries, post-concussion syndrome is one of the most elusive and challenging problems to treat. While many patients will recover from their concussion, just as many will not. To make matters worse, as an athlete sustains repeat concussions, the chance of recovery becomes less likely. Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome vary from patient to patient but can include headache, difficulty in tracking objects, slower reaction times, anger, lightheadedness, anxiety, depression, blurred vision, difficulty in concentration, photophobia (intolerance to bright light), and phonophobia (intolerance to loud sounds). These symptoms can range in severity from being slightly annoying to becoming an overwhelming disability.
Prolotherapy post concussion syndrome
Most patients who suffer from post-concussion syndrome will have normal blood work, normal MRI examinations, and normal vital signs. Since we cannot “see” an apparent cause of their symptoms by these traditional tests, a conventional treatment for post-concussion syndrome does not exist. Those that suffer from this disorder are asked to rest and possibly undergo physical and occupational therapy until symptoms resolve.
While my personal quest to solve my own head injury began with an automobile accident rather than a sports injury, my symptoms were quite similar to those who suffer from post-concussion syndrome. After exhausting the realm of traditional medical treatment including examination by neurologists, therapists, and surgeons – my inability to concentrate, and lack of energy continued for over 10 years. Out of desperation, I began to take matters into my own hands. I determined that most of my issues were likely caused not by damage to my brain, but by something entirely different.
Post-Concussion Syndrome Treatment
Through research into how the body fights pain, naturally, I discovered prolotherapy, a holistic procedure that involves a series of injections into damaged ligaments, tendons, and joints that produces a healing response within the damaged tissue, ultimately leading to repair of the damage. The mechanism for this non-surgical repair is mediated through immune system modulators which cause the concentration of cells known as macrophages and monocytes along with chemicals known as chemokines, to remove microscopic debris and fix damaged tissues.
Agents used for Prolotherapy restoration include lidocaine, dextrose, phenol, glycerin, and more recently growth factors derived from the patient’s own body known as platelet rich plasma (PRP). The exact mixture or substance used in prolotherapy is not nearly as important as the precise diagnosis and treatment into the area of damage that is causing the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome.
I began to treat administer injections into the base of my skull and localized areas of my neck and head. While performing this procedure on myself was somewhat risky, it was my last and only hope. Simply put, suffering in chronic pain for a decade needed to end.. Fortunately within a few treatments, my pain was drastically reduced and I’m pleased to say it has been gone now for more than 12 years!
Prolotherapy for Post-Concussion Syndrome Treatment
Since my initial use of prolotherapy, , many patients suffering from post-concussion syndrome entered my office – like me, with nowhere to turn. These patients ranged from professional athletes, to recreational athletes to people who sustained head injuries due to trauma, but our symptoms and examination results were all markedly similar. We all suffered soft-tissue damage in areas that connect the head and the neck, and repair of these areas by regenerative medical techniques like Prolotherapy was curative.
One may ask, how could injections into the neck and head possibly cure the problems of concussion and head injury? The answer has to do with a complete understanding of what happens during a head injury. I have studied films of the hits that have caused devastating concussions and observed that trauma to the skull does not just damage the brain, it also creates a significant whiplash injury to the neck and the base of the skull. Within these areas lies the brainstem, an area of the brain that controls our balance and coordination, and supplies nerves to the muscles that control the eyes, ears, face, and portions of our autonomic nervous system (ANS). Injury to the cervical and skull base changes the relationship between the brainstem, base of the skull, and cervical canal, causing increased pressure on the nerve control that I have described above. This leads to many of the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. Fortunately, Prolotherapy and PRP injections (injections of a patient’s own platelet rich plasma) into these damaged areas can normalize the relationship between the skull base and cervical canal, and relieve excessive pressure on the nerve. Once this happens, symptoms of post-concussion syndrome resolve!
Prolotherapy and PRP injections are certainly the silver lining around a dark cloud, but must be used with caution. Having performed well over 45,000 procedures in my career, I know it takes an extreme amount of skill and dexterity to treat damage from concussion. However, successful treatment leads to regaining the patient’s life, allowing them to function again without pain, headache, blurred vision, and all of the other lingering symptoms of concussion. While there has never been a controlled clinical trial on Prolotherapy for treatment of post-concussion syndrome, the results speak for themselves.
Scott Greenberg, M.D.
The Magaziner Center for Wellness in Cherry Hill, NJ. specializes in regenerative sports medicine and non-surgical approaches including the use of Autologous Stem Cell, Prolotherapy and PRP injections for both professional and high level athletes and those who suffer with chronic pain. For more information 1.856.424.8222.