Musculoskeletal Medicine and PainORIGINAL ARTICLE

Cranial Strain Patterns Associated With Concussions

Lauren Schwartzberg, OMS IV; Lilit Aslanyan, DO; Nicole Angelo, DO; Jayme Mancini, DO, PhD; Patricia S. Kooyman, DO; Reem Abu-Sbaih, DO; Hallie Zwibel, DO; and Sheldon C. Yao, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: August 30, 2019

Accepted: November 15, 2019

Published: August 6, 2020

J Osteopath Med; 120(9): 601-606

Context: Concussions can cause cognitive impairment, somatic symptoms, and behavioral changes. Symptoms may vary in severity, depending on the degree of traumatic force. Due to the biomechanical nature of this trauma, cranial somatic dysfunctions may commonly be seen in patients with concussion.

Objectives: To determine whether patients were more likely to have nonphysiologic cranial somatic dysfunctions than physiologic cranial somatic dysfunctions after sustaining a concussion.

Methods: College athletes who had a concussion based on the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive test were evaluated by a physician within 1 week of the injury. Patients were evaluated for somatic dysfunctions of the cranium. Cranial somatic dysfunctions were documented; test scores and force vectors were compared with the type of strain pattern using SPSS, with P<.05 demonstrating statistical significance.

Results: Sixteen patients were included in the study: 10 with nonphysiologic cranial strain somatic dysfunctions and 6 with physiologic dysfunctions. Compared with lateral forces, forces of impact with anterioposterior vectors were associated 1.5 times more often with nonphysiologic rather than physiologic cranial somatic dysfunctions (P=.697). An analysis of specific cranial strain patterns and impact force vectors showed no statistical significance (P=.096).

Conclusions: There was no statistically significant association showing that concussion patients were more likely to have nonphysiologic cranial somatic dysfunctions compared with physiological cranial somatic dysfunctions. However, nonphysiologic cranial somatic dysfunctions did show a trend toward association with concussion. Further studies are needed to better understand the potential association between concussion and cranial somatic dysfunctions.

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