Overlap of concussion, neck injury symptoms makes diagnosis difficult

Researchers have found that symptoms from concussions and neck injuries tend to overlap, which can make discerning between the two injuries difficult.

In a study published by University at Buffalo (UB) medical faculty, researchers evaluated responses about symptoms from 128 patients, including some professional athletes, who were being treated at the UB Concussion Management Clinic in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The researchers’ aim was to determine how to distinguish between concussion and neck injury based on the symptoms reported, according to a press release about the study.

Symptoms reported by patients in both injury groups included headache, dizziness, blurred vision, poor concentration and memory deficits, the researchers found.

“Based on our research, we conclude that some patients who have been told they've suffered a concussion, and whose symptoms persist for several months, may actually have suffered a neck injury, rather than a concussion, or in addition to a concussion,” John J. Leddy, MD, clinical professor in the UB Department of Orthopaedics and senior study author, said in the press release.

Leddy said patients who believe they have a concussion and whose symptoms have not diminished after several months should be examined for neck and vestibular injury by a sports medicine physician, neurologist or a physiatrist.

Reference: Leddy JJ. Clin J Sport Med. 2014;doi:10.1097/JSM.0000000000000128.

Researchers have found that symptoms from concussions and neck injuries tend to overlap, which can make discerning between the two injuries difficult.

In a study published by University at Buffalo (UB) medical faculty, researchers evaluated responses about symptoms from 128 patients, including some professional athletes, who were being treated at the UB Concussion Management Clinic in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The researchers’ aim was to determine how to distinguish between concussion and neck injury based on the symptoms reported, according to a press release about the study.

Symptoms reported by patients in both injury groups included headache, dizziness, blurred vision, poor concentration and memory deficits, the researchers found.

“Based on our research, we conclude that some patients who have been told they've suffered a concussion, and whose symptoms persist for several months, may actually have suffered a neck injury, rather than a concussion, or in addition to a concussion,” John J. Leddy, MD, clinical professor in the UB Department of Orthopaedics and senior study author, said in the press release.

Leddy said patients who believe they have a concussion and whose symptoms have not diminished after several months should be examined for neck and vestibular injury by a sports medicine physician, neurologist or a physiatrist.

Reference: Leddy JJ. Clin J Sport Med. 2014;doi:10.1097/JSM.0000000000000128.