Ending Concussion Confusion

The Dilemma

An estimated 2.5 million high school athletes will report one concussion this year, and, because of that staggering number, high schools are becoming much better at screening those at risk and diagnosing athletes on the field. The dilemma arises because once a child is diagnosed with a concussion, there is no gold standard rehabilitation plan to get that child back on the playing field as good as they were before.

Our Mission

  1. Ensure everyone has a basic understand of concussions and what they do to your brain
  2. Give you an exact road map with extra considerations of things you NEED to do to optimally recover from your concussion

Why Concussions?

In high school my younger brother sustained a gnarly concussion that changed him for a long time. It was during wrestling season and he lost consciousness after the head trauma. His recovery was long and much more grueling that it had to be because his advice was to shelter in a dark room until his symptoms subsided. It wasn’t until I learned about what a concussion truly is that I learned the optimal way to rehabilitate one.


It is football and hockey season. They are 2 of the 3 most common concussion causing sports in high school. The 3rd being rugby.

What happens to your head?

A “brain-bruise” is the outdated thought process behind a concussion. The latest research points to a very different mechanism. Your brain is along for the ride that is playing a contact sports. During that ride your body will rapidly accelerate & decelerate. During that rapid speed change, the brain rapidly stretches and the nerves in your brain are taken beyond their stretch capacity. When that happens a massive injury cascade takes place and the resulting effects include but are not limited to:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Altered, blurred or double vision
  • Headaches
  • Loss of balance & coordination
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Sensitivity to loud sounds, strong smells or bright light

The nerves, as pictured above, temporarily lose their ability to control energy making, nerve signaling and control of electrolyte gradients. Thus, from the rapid acceleration-deceleration, calcium is flooded into this damaged nerve and causes what we know as a concussion. Symptoms can differ between person and severity. Some people will be knocked unconscious and will regain almost total function upon waking, whereas some will have no physical contact with another player and will suffer ‘wobbly’ legs and double vision. There is no telling what will happen to each person, BUT there is an exact strategy you should follow to recover after your concussion. If you have been told to sit in a dark room and sleep it off, stay tuned!

The Step-By-Step Solution

  • 1. First and Foremost: You need evaluated by an on site athletic trainer or professional who can diagnose you with a concussion. This includes a SCAT5 (Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 5) and/or sport specific protocols for your high school.
  • 2. Cervical and Brainstem Examination: You need your cervical musculature and joint structures examined for restrictions and soft tissue injuries. Once achieved, you need a full cranial nerve and thorough vestibulo-occular assessment.
  • 3. Aerobic Symptom Testing: Either the Buffalo Treadmill Test or the Buffalo Bike Test can be used to determine your symptomatic heart rate to start cardiovascular rehab. *Cardiovascular rehab should be not be performed until at least 24 hours after the concussive event but after 24 hours it should be done daily.*
  • 4. Physiotherapy Modalities: Electrical stimulation and red light therapy are critical to include and dose appropriately for concussions. They can manage the whiplash style symptoms to the cervical spine as well as stimulate areas of the brain to heal faster.
  • Finally, find a qualified professional who can perform all of these steps and walk you through the next 2-4 weeks of your concussion rehab.

The sooner you can get examined [for a concussion] by a professional and start your rehab process the better.

Take Action!

If you or someone you know has suffered a concussion, get them into our office.

We have a concussion package that offers 6 Chiropractic treatments with E-stim, red light, soft tissue mobilization, vestibulo-occular therapy and targeted cardiovascular rehab all designed to make you optimally recover and be better

Visit www.hpc-stl.com/contact or call 314-628-9898

Other Considerations


  • Magnesium: Magnesium controls the calcium influx into cells, one of the main factors for the nerve damage, and relaxation of blood vessels. I recommend 400-1,000mg of magnesium daily as magnesium glycinate, citrate, malate or threonate.
  • Beet Root Extract or L-Citrulline: There is a period following a concussion where the brain has a lack of blood flow. Beet root extract and/or L-Citrulline both help dilate blood vessels and can restore pre-concussive blood flow for optimal recovery.
  • Melatonin: Melatonin is important for 2 reasons: sleep and antioxidants. Sleep is the most critical component of recovery from any injury. Also, one of the abilities temporarily lost in a concussion is the ability to deal with reactive oxygen species or ROS. I recommend 5-20mg before bed.

Blue Light Blockers: Blue light emitted from technology can be particularly harmful in the early stages of concussion recovery due to it’s ability to stimulate the eyes. Gradually exposing the brain to stimulus is critical for concussions and quality blue light blockers should be considered. *The lenses on your glasses should be an amber color or they are not actually blocking blue light.*

Neck Strength: Research shows that the strength of your neck can be a predictor of concussions. This is because if your neck is strong your head will not be whiplashed as bad during your next contact sporting event. All contact sport athletes should be actively strengthening their necks!

Follow Us!

Check us out on Instagram: @hpc_stl or on Facebook: Health & Performance Center

A Valuable Experience

A Dream Becomes a Reality

We treat every patient with the same overall goal – to be pain free at rest and fully capable to do what they want when they want.

We strive to deliver high value to each and every patient. While some experience greater results than others, we are proud of our outstanding reviews and overall rating (98.4%).

But when a patient goes out of their way to share a major success, we get excited… ecstatic… emotional. We love hearing these stories.

Karen’s Story

Hi Kristina. I was hoping you could share this with Dr. Van Anne because I don’t have his email address. I just wanted to say thank you for all your help getting my back and everything else in shape so I was able to take my dream trip to trek with the Mountain Gorillas.  Without your help my back would never have made it through the hours of driving on very bumpy “roads” and especially the very difficult hike up the side of the mountain.  I attached just a few pics from my trip that I took of the gorillas and some of the other animals I saw.  Thanks for all you guys do!

Karen Coughlin

Current Economic Climate

Recession or not, we realize times are challenging. Whether gas prices or the consumer price index (inflation), discretionary income is being pinched in households across the country.

Knowing this, we strive to increase the value we deliver to our patients. It is our mission to always provide high value care regardless of the economic climate. But, when times are tough, we want to double down.

Thank you for your continued commitment to your health, wellness, and longevity. And thank you for trusting us to be a part of that journey.

Good Luck and #keepmoving

HPC Doctors and Staff

CrossFit Open 22.2 – Never Again

Deadlift, Burpees, Breathing, & Avoidance

Another test and another experience. CrossFit Open 22.2 was just like every other workout, but was unique because of the pyramid challenge. I hope you did well, stayed safe, and learned a lot. I know I did.

Enjoy the video highlighting the two most important concepts that we “never again” want to miss in this workout or any other.


  • Breathing and Bracing are connected in that they should support each other. However, they should not be specifically dependent upon each other. In other words, you should be able to breath, brace, and move without needing them to be specifically connected. The training you do in warmups, planking, holds, and loaded walks, should transition to your ability to continue breathing, bracing, and moving under extreme fatigue… 22.2!
  • In terms of complexity and intrigue, the movements in this workout were… BORING! However, that doesn’t mean we should avoid it. In fact, this is the exact type of workout I need to focus on more in my training. If you have a tendency to cherry pick only the workouts you enjoy or are already good at, stop! You aren’t doing yourself any good. You should be actively seeking those that challenge your improvement and attack your weaknesses. Getting stronger at a strength doesn’t make you any better at the things you struggle with. Yet, improving on a weakness allows you to expand your strengths. Focus energy on the right areas to make monster gains over time.

Good Luck and #keepmoving


CrossFit Open 22.1 – Never Again

New Segment, Same Focus

Welcome Back Friends,

Having competed in the Worldwide Open since its start in 2011, I have continuously trained for the purpose of longevity and incremental improvement over time. In 2013, I started putting out Strategy and Preparation videos as well as Repeat videos to help educate my patients and the entire CrossFit community. The goals was to help participants understand how to prepare and approach workouts and how to improve on a repeat attempt.

Seeing CrossFit evolve significantly over this time, I wanted to do the same. So, you are now seeing the “Never Again” series for each Open workout. Instead of focusing so much on instantaneous performance, I want to focus on long term adaptations. In other words, I want to produce content based on how to understand the lessons from a specific workout and how we can improve across the board in the years to come. Welcome to the “Never Again Series”… enjoy the video!

22.1 Never Again Highlight

  • Wall Walk – Learn a Rhythm moving up the wall and back down – preferably 4 steps up and 3 steps down. Also, refine your overhead shape to protect your back, neck, and shoulders while increasing your efficiency. Long story short, burn less energy with each repetition as you move quickly from a strong bottom and top position. Look at the different variations of handstand practice and the seated overhead press to help you get better.
  • Dumbbell Snatch – Understand the bottom shape and avoid letting the dumbbell drift forward or allowing the low back to round. Learn to transition the dumbbell high in the movement so that you can easily find a strong and stable bottom position. The stretch in the video will help if you struggle with achieving a good shape.
  • Box Jump Over Step-down – Do you squat to full depth? What about your squat clean, thruster, or wallball? If you are consistently hitting a deep squat position, then this task was very easy. If you are struggling with stable depth, this movement was awful. Check out the stretch in the video so you can get better any time you walk into the gym.

I hope you enjoyed this segment. Never again will you feel the way you did in this workout if you take these concepts and work them into your everyday training.

Good Luck and #keepmoving


Keep Moving

When Things Fall Apart, Keep on Going!

So it February. And there was a snow storm. Not to mention there have undoubtedly been things that have distracted you from your 2022 goals. In other words, many of us have fallen short of perfection with making 2022 our year.

No worries!

Seriously, if you started this thinking you would be perfect then you were dreaming. You are a human and you live on a planet called earth that operates within chaos. So, there is no perfect.

See… you’re off the hook.

Enjoy this video discussing the inevitability of set backs and things you can do to get back on track.

  • Don’t panic – Set backs are inevitable and should be expected. Don’t beat yourself up for doing something that was obviously going to happen. Instead accept it and move on to the next phase of your improvement.
  • Regroup – The set back can give you an opportunity to assess you plan and your adherence. If you were doing great, get back on that horse and ride! If you were struggling, assess where you might need some modifications to help move things forward.
  • Recommit – Once your evaluation is complete and you are ready to start again, find the same excitement you had at the start. If it’s tough, remember you are doing this for you (the most important person in your life). Let’s Go!
  • Remember – This whole thing wasn’t about perfection, it was about PROGRESSION. Progression is like the stock market. There will be ups and downs with highs and lows. But if we do it right, we should see progression… Up and to the Right!

Up Next… At Home Options

We are in the heart of winter. Snow is on the ground and we are likely to see a few more dustings as the coldest temperatures are yet to come. It crappy to say out loud. But, it’s true.

That reality means that most people like to stay inside and minimize their outside travel and exposure. So, we will take the next month to help you build out your low profile and low cost home gym.

See you soon and #keepmoving

HPC Doctors and Staff