Concussion & Whiplash 101

What is a Concussion/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

Concussion is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to the soft tissues of the brain including nerve cells, supporting tissues and blood vessels. Concussion/TBI may occur from:

    • A blow to the head or body,
    • A whiplash of the head and neck,
    • A fall or other trauma that violently shakes the brain inside the skull

Can cause nerve interference in the brain that will eventually cause the brain to shrink progressively over time as nerve cells reduce in size and in many cases die. Concussion/TBI can also occur without the individual having to lose consciousness.

At the Concussion & Whiplash Clinic we empower our patients of any age to take a more active role in reversing this negative trend and restoring and maintaining optimum health.

What happens to the brain with Concussion/TBI and Whiplash?

The brain is normally protected by the bony skull and insulated from jarring by fluid that cushions the brain during movement. When the head or body experiences any sudden movement (i.e. whiplash) brain movement can overcome the fluid cushion and be stretched, damaging nerves and become bruised by bumping into the inside of the skull. These tissue injuries disturb the transmission of nerve signals causing pain, dysfunction and symptoms.

Some common ways to get a concussion/TBI are from car accidents that result in whiplash, sports injuries and falls. Most people sustaining a mild concussion with appropriate care will generally recover fully within weeks or months. Recovery may be slower for older adults, young children and teens. More serious concussions or repeated concussions often take longer to recover and may lead to long-lasting problems with thinking, communicating, learning and movement.


Some symptoms may appear right away, while other symptoms may not appear for days or even months after the injury. Some symptoms may not show up until the person begins to resume their everyday activities, and when additional demands are placed upon.

Often times there are no visible signs of a concussion (and whiplash) but there may be symptoms or changes in behavior as listed below:


    • Difficulty thinking clearly
    • Taking longer to think, feeling slowed down
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Difficulty remembering new information
    • Physical Symptoms


    • Neck and Back pain and stiffness
    • Fuzzy and/or Blurred vision
    • Nausea and/or Vomiting
    • Dizziness and/or Balance problems
    • Numbness and/or Tingling
    • Increased Sensitivity to light and/or sound
    • Feeling tired and/or having no energy


    • Feeling more emotional
    • Being irritable, frustrated, and/or easily angered
    • Feeling sad and/or depressed
    • Feeling nervous, restlessness and/or anxious


    • Sleeping more than usual
    • Sleeping less than usual
    • Having trouble falling sleep
    • Having trouble staying asleep

"Physicians can significantly improve patient outcomes when concussion/ traumatic brain injury (TBI) is suspected or diagnosed by implementing early management and appropriate referral."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Our Approach

Our doctors and staff at Concussion & Whiplash Clinic have extensive training and clinical experience in the early diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation to relieve suffering from Concussion/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Using evidence based diagnostics and therapeutics we enhance the brain-body connection, reversing the causes of a shrinking brain and improving our patients. Quality of Life TODAY and into their FUTURE! 

Call (503) 512-5359 today for a complimentary consultation.

How is a Concussion/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) diagnosed?

Any person suspected of having a concussion/traumatic brain injury should see a doctor specializing in the management and recovery of concussion/TBI – ASAP. The doctor will ask specific questions to determine how your brain is currently functioning including your ability:

    • To pay attention
    • To solve simple problems
    • How your memory is working

Other tests will include:

    • Checking your balance and movement through space
    • Checking your strength, reflexes, and sensation

Additional tests may be ordered including:

CT scan and/or MRI to ensure there is no internal bleeding or other damage.
Neuropsychological tests to check your brain regarding any:

    • Information processing difficulties
    • Memory deficits
    • Language difficulties
    • Organization and planning difficulties

Sometimes people may be unwilling to admit that they are having a problem or may not recognize a problem. They can become angry, frustrated and/or confused about what is happening to them. They may think they are okay even though they are behaving differently. It is important that family members and others acquainted with the person assist in pointing out changes in symptoms and behavior to the doctor.

Young Children and Concussion

Young children may have the same symptoms of concussion/TBI. However concussion may be harder to diagnose because of their inability to communicate. Symptoms listed below may indicate a concussion:

    • Crying more than usual
    • Changes in the way they act or play
    • Changes in nursing, eating or sleeping
    • Becoming easily upset, exhibiting more tantrums
    • Loss of new skills, such as toilet training
    • Lack of interest in favorite toys
    • Loss of balance and trouble walking

Older Adults and Concussion

Concussion/TBI in older adults are often missed and can be dangerous if not addressed quickly. Identifying a serious problem may include sudden onset of headache, increasing confusion or other symptoms previously not expressed.

When concussion/TBI is suspected in any age group, the person should be seen by a doctor specializing in concussion/TBI right away to ensure early diagnosis, appropriate treatment and timely referral.

How is Concussion/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) treated?

The best way to recover from a concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI) is to see a functional neurology doctor specializing in the management and recovery of concussion/TBI and whiplash. This will ensure:

    • Early diagnosis
    • Appropriate treatment
    • Timely referral and
    • Implementation of a concussion self-management plan

The Functional Neurologist will examine you to determine how your brain and nervous system are working and where nerve disruption is occurring. A customized program of care will be designed for your specific needs. Treatment may include:

    • Functional Neurology Stimulations – very gentle
    • Chiropractic Percussion Instrument Adjusting – very gentle and without the “cracking”
    • Acupuncture and Physiotherapies – very gentle
    • Massage and Cranial Sacral Therapy – very gentle
    • Specific therapeutic exercises and therapeutic activities designed to increase functional, dynamic tasks mimicking real-life activity to address weakness and loss of joint mobility

Functional Neurology
methods provide immediate “real time feedback” from your brain and body. This biological feedback allows the functional neurology doctor to refine your program of care each visit according to what your brain and body needs to further its healing.

Concussion/TBI self-management planning includes:

    • Getting plenty of sleep at night, and taking it easy during the day
    • Use ice or a cold pack on any swelling for 15 at a time with 15-30 minutes in between the next application. Always put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin
    • Ask your doctor when it’s okay for you to drive a car
    • Avoid activities that are physically demanding such as housework, exercise, riding a bike, operating machinery and strenuous labor *
    • Avoid activities that are mentally demanding such as schoolwork, video games, text messaging, or using the computer*
    • Your doctor may require you to take time off from work if necessary or change your school or work schedule while you recover*
    • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs

Take only prescription medications and over the counter medications as directed by your functional neurology doctor.

    • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines decrease pain. They are available without a doctor’s order. Ask your functional neurology doctor which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow your functional neurology doctor’s directions.
    • These medicines can cause stomach bleeding if not taken correctly. Ibuprofen can cause kidney damage. Do not take ibuprofen if you have kidney disease, an ulcer, or allergies to aspirin. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage. Do not drink alcohol if you take acetaminophen.
    • Take your medicine as directed. Call your functional neurology doctor and or primary care doctor if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him/her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


Check out our reviews from our satisfied patients!

  • "I was in a vehicle that spun around 180 degrees and then rolled over three times before landing in the sagebrush along Interstate 80 in Wyoming, and I walked away from an incident that totalled my vehicle and the 30 foot Airstream I was hauling. I walked away with a neck, back (rib), and brain injury that I was unaware of: I was ALIVE. My physician referred me to a chiropractor, who also referred me to Dr. Nelson and his team. I have seen 12 doctors since the incident in Wyoming, but Dr. Nelson was the first and ONLY ONE to hand me a book with "help" inside: a book of God's Promises. He prayed with me, and I had HOPE for the first time since this incident that there was HOPE. His TEAM of professionals restored my mind. And my hope. I thank God for sending me to Dr. Nelson. His staff is a group of people who practice LOVE and HEALING. PRAISE GOD."
    Tina Brown
  • "If you have concussion symptoms, regardless of when the incident was, don't delay. Get an appointment ASAP. Dr Nelson and team are amazing."
    Brian Ottaway
  • "This is a wonderful clinic! Very professional, courteous and thorough. The staff is amazing. They go above and beyond. With their knowledge and treatment I feel like I have my life back. Thank you to The Concussion and Whiplash clinic!"
    Janine Bainter
  • "Dr. Nelson and staff are fantastic and helped with my fast road to recovery. Everything from chiropractic, massage therapy, and neurology all under one roof. They truly care about your body and mind wellness. I'd highly recommend them to anyone in need of concussion and whiplash care."
    Erin Clark
  • "Dr. Nelson is the first place we go when my kids get concussions and athletic injuries. Because of his excellent diagnosis and care, my three children have made full recoveries from concussions. In addition to a careful diagnosis where he can pinpoint the location of the lesion in the brain, he creates a treatment plan which hastens healing. We trust his perspective on when to return to school and athletics. Most of all, he really cares about his patients and is invested in their getting well as soon as possible."
    Krista Anderson Ross
  • "I suffered a brain injury from a serious automobile accident last August. Since that time I have been visiting Dr Nelson and Dr McCann on a regular basis, 2 to 3 times a week. They and the massage therapist's have done a great job of helping me through this injury and getting me back to some semblance of normal. I don't know where I would be through this healing process without their expertise. Kudos to the staff at concussion & whiplash clinic. I highly recommend this clinic to anyone who needs medical treatment."
    Mark Miller

Our Location

7100 SW Hampton, Suite 121 | Tigard, OR 97223

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