The role of the cervical spine in post-concussion syndrome

Phys Sportsmed. 2015 Jul;43(3):274-84. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2015.1064301. Epub 2015 Jul 3.


While much is known regarding the pathophysiology surrounding concussion injuries in the acute phase, there is little evidence to support many of the theorized etiologies to post-concussion syndrome (PCS); the chronic phase of concussion occurring in ∼ 10-15% of concussed patients. This paper reviews the existing literature surrounding the numerous proposed theories of PCS and introduces another potential, and very treatable, cause of this chronic condition; cervical spine dysfunction due to concomitant whiplash-type injury. We also discuss a short case-series of five patients with diagnosed PCS having very favorable outcomes following various treatment and rehabilitative techniques aimed at restoring cervical spine function.

Keywords: Brain concussion; musculoskeletal manipulations; pathophysiology; post-concussion syndrome; whiplash injuries.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology
  • Cervical Vertebrae / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / complications
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Whiplash Injuries / complications
  • Whiplash Injuries / physiopathology
  • Young Adult