Acute Concussion Managment

When it comes to acute concussion, early assessment and education is the key to better outcomes. Research shows seeking treatment within the first 72 hours are the most critical in predicting recovery. Physician and patient education is severely lacking due in part to the rapidly evolving research which makes it nearly impossible for the busy practitioner to keep up with changing guidelines.

How we are different

Our Doctors of Chiropractic have completed a 50 hour certification course and examination through Complete Concussion Management Inc. (CCMI): a research-based concussion care network that provides education and training to multidisciplinary healthcare practitioners as well as comprehensive assessments, treatment and rehabilitation for athletes and concussion patients.

Suncoast Integrated Health is additionally certified as a Complete Concussion Management clinic. We can properly assess, educate, and treat acute concussions include graduated prescriptions for return-to-driving, return-to-work/school, and return-to-sport/activities. We are able to provide off-work/school documentation and will communicate and collaborate care with your family physician. Should imaging be needed to rule-out red flags, we work with Physicians within the CCMI network via TeleHealth to achieve same-day referral for imaging.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a form of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI that causes a temporary disturbance in how your brain functions. Concussions happen because of a hit, bump or blow to the head or elsewhere on the body. This impact causes the brain to move back and forth inside the skull. The force required to sustain a concussion is quite considerable: a minimum of 70 g’s to potentially cause a concussion; while 90 g’s of force is definitive.

The brain is made of different types of cells organized in layers. Each of the layers is a different density – that means that when a force is applied, they will move through space at different speeds. This causes the brain tissue layers to sheer resulting in a stun-gun-like effect. The nerve cells of the brain are temporarily flooded with ions like calcium and sodium that are supposed to (for the most part) stay outside of the nerve cells. Pumps within the brain cells that would normally pump those ions out effectively, are also temporarily disabled by the influx of calcium. These physiological responses are what cause the typical concussion symptoms in the first 7 days.

The presence of calcium in the cell also effects the cells ability to make ATP – the fuel source of the cell. It can take as long as 21-28 days before nerve cells are able to produce enough ATP to meet the energy requirements of a high functioning nerve cell (think enough energy for complicated thoughts, tasks, or strenuous exercise). During this time, many people feel completely asymptomatic, which is why it’s important to undergo proper testing by a concussion specialist to make sure your brain is functioning optimally.

What are the symptoms of acute concussion?


  • Headache
  • Neck Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light/noise
  • Balance issues
  • Visual problems


  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Feeling “in a fog”
  • Trouble thinking clearly


  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • More emotional than usual


  • Fatigue
  • Low energy
  • Sleep more or sleeping less
  • Difficulty falling asleep
RED FLAG Symptoms

Report Immediately to the ER if you have experienced these symptoms, they can be a sign of a more severe injury such as a brain bleed. These must be ruled out immediately.

  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Unable to wake up
  • Worsening headaches
  • Bad nausea of repeated vomiting (>2x)
  • Increasing confusion
  • Unsteadiness standing or walking
  • Bruising around the eyes or ears
  • Odd behaviour
  • Slurred speech
  • Inability to remember the injury (amnesia)
So you have a concussion, now what?

Immediately stop driving, playing sports and going to work/school.
See a CCMI certified concussion practitioner right away for assessment (make sure when you call you indicate it’s for an acute concussion, special times are reserved for you!!)
Rest your mind and body for 24-48 hours after the injury.