Traumatic Brain Injury in Children

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brain injury, head injury, whiplash, headache, migraineTraumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the two age groups at greatest risk for TBI are age 0-4 and 15-19.

Among those ages 0 to 19, each year an average of 564,000 children are seen in hospital emergency departments for TBI and released.

Traumatic brain injury is frequently referred to as closed head injury when the skull has not been fractured. Society in general, including some health care providers, have the mistaken notion that in order for a person to have traumatic brain injury, he or she must suffer coma, skull fracture, lacerations and broken bones, or at least have been rendered unconscious. However, many brain injuries occur from motor vehicle accidents in which a person suffers a whiplash injury, or from more minor blows to the head that do not cause loss of consciousness.

Many of those children seen in hospital emergency departments and then released continue to have symptoms years and sometimes even decades later. The most common symptoms are:

  • Cognitive problems (Inattention, memory loss, mental confusion, etc.)
  • Headaches/Migraines
  •  Fatigue
  • Insomnia/Sleep Disorders
  • Dizziness/Vertigo
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Speech Problems
  • Neck and Back pain

A Natural Approach

Dr. Erin Elster an upper cervical chiropractor and former WCA researcher of the year posted several case studies about the effects of upper cervical misalignments on children who suffered head injuries resulting in traumatic brain injuries or mild spinal cord injuries. Here are summaries of two examples below:

An 8-year-old male fell hard on the school playground hitting his head. He had moments of tingling in his arms and legs when he fell and was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury by his physicians. He also began suffering from loss of bowel control and urgency and found himself rushing to the bathroom multiple times per day to avoid an accident. When the bowel problems continued 6 months later, his mother brought her son in for an upper cervical evaluation upon recommendation by a friend.

During this boy’s initial evaluation, an upper neck injury was discovered during digital infrared imaging and radiographic diagnostics. Most likely, the severe blow to his head caused the displacement of his skull slightly from his upper neck, injuring his spinal cord and causing the bowel malfunction. After his initial neck correction, normal bowel activity was restored quickly.

Here is another example…

A 6-year-old boy suffered a traumatic head injury when a television fell off of a cabinet and landed on his head while he was lying on the floor. The T.V. fell on top of his face causing multiple fractures around his eye. He required multiple surgeries to reconstruct his eye socket and his sinuses. Post-surgery, after the fractures had healed, his mother began to notice that her son’s personality and behavior had changed. He also had constant double vision and suffered continuous headaches as a result. They consulted with numerous physicians and neurologists who surmised these symptoms were permanent from the head injury and stated there was nothing they could do.

Upon recommendation from a friend, this mother brought her son in for an upper cervical chiropractic evaluation. An upper neck injury was discovered, most likely stemming from the head trauma. Within a few weeks of care, all double vision and headaches were absent and his mother described his personality as returning to normal.

What to Do Next

To find a Doctor in your area go to or if you are in the Boise Idaho area to schedule a consultation to discuss your health concerns click the button below:

Dr. Alan Fox of Advanced Upper Cervical Chiropractic Wellness in Boise, Idaho has been helping people with a variety of different problems for over 30 years. He is one of only a few doctors in the entire state of Idaho who are trained in specialized upper cervical chiropractic procedures. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Meridian, Nampa, Mountain Home and across the country and around the world. He is board certified in Orthospinology and specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, neck and back pain, multiple sclerosis, vertigo, insomnia, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and more. More information can be found on his website at

To hear from real people like you, check out our patient results HERE.

If you would like to learn more about the connection between the upper neck and migraines, click the button below to check out our Overcoming Migraines video series.

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