Concussions are getting a lot of attention in the news lately. From football to hockey to soccer, concussion awareness is on the rise. That’s great news, because one of the leading causes of long-term brain injury is getting better attention.
Interest in concussions has been on the rise since 2004.
Concussions can be serious and can cause headaches and other problems. The good news is that most people recover from a concussion without any long-lasting effects.
But for people with more severe concussions, it can lead to more serious consequences, including memory loss, a change in mood, and even changes in thinking which may require concussion therapy.
Getting concussion therapy as early as possible can help you recover more quickly. That’s why it’s so important to know the symptoms of a concussion, the different types of concussions, the treatments, and how to prevent them. In this short guide we help you understand all of the nuances of a concussion so that you can make an informed decision on your next steps.
Concussions: What Are They?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when the head experiences a direct blow with an object or when a sudden or jolting movement occurs hard enough to cause the brain to move inside the skull. A concussion is not the same as a bruise or a sore spot on the head. The symptoms of a concussion include headache, dizziness, confusion, memory problems and feeling light-headed or weak. You may also have nausea and vomiting as well as lack of energy. Concussions can lead to mood changes or cognitive difficulties in the long term.
Concussions are an mTBI can have prolonged concussion symptoms and affect brain functionality.
Even though the cause of a concussion is different for each person, there are some common things that increase your risk for getting one:
- having weak neck muscles
- playing football, hockey, or any high impact sports
- participating in martial arts like karate and boxing/wrestling
- riding bikes without helmets
- working on a construction site, farm or factory setting where there is machinery that can cause you to fall
- car accident whiplash
What Happens To The Brain When It Is Injured?
Concussions happen when your brain moves quickly within your skull while your body is still. Sudden movements can twist and stretch cells and nerves in the brain, changing how chemicals work. This changes these messages sent to the body by the brain after a concussion.
When the brain moves too much inside the skull, it can sometimes hurt its protective tissue. The brain can then collide with the ridges that are on the inside of your skull. Depending where it hits will determine what parts of your brain are affected. Any level of bleeding would be a hemorrhage and medical emergency. If determined to be minor enough on CT then will self resolve.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Concussion
One of the best ways to know if you’ve had a concussion is to keep a journal of your symptoms. And the sooner you get treatment, the better your chances of a full recovery.
The symptoms of a concussion may include:
- confusion and overall brain health
- memory problems
- feeling weak
- lack of energy
- declining quality of life
- mood changes
- changes in thinking or behavior
- brain damage in severe cases (brain trauma)
If you have any of the above symptoms, it is important to get medical attention.
If you or someone you know have several of the symptoms below, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away:
- Loss of consciousness, even for a short time
- Vomiting more than once a day
- Significant confusion
- Problems with memory
- Aggression or irritability
What Is Considered A Good Concussion Treatment?
Concussion symptoms may get better on their own within two to four weeks after a concussion, but they can last for months or years after the injury.
People who seek out an early treatment plan have a better chance of recovering completely. That’s why it’s important to know the symptoms of a concussion, the different types of concussions, the treatments, and how to prevent them.
The most effective concussion therapy is to simply rest and avoid physical activity. But many people with concussions want to get back to their normal activities as soon as possible. Some may try to “tough it out” or hide their symptoms. This can delay recovery and make the symptoms worse.
It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s advice about when you can return to school, work, or other activities. If your symptoms don’t go away within a few weeks, talk with your healthcare provider again.
Some people need more time off from school or work than others do, but most people recover completely in two weeks or less. Most young athletes are able to return to sports after one week if they have no concussion symptoms at rest and during exercise testing (such as running on a treadmill). But it is important that they are evaluated by a healthcare provider before returning to sports and that they follow the healthcare provider’s instructions about when they can return and how often they should be
Cognitive therapy may be useful for some people, including focused rehabilitation that helps you train in the specific areas that need strengthening.
Advanced Concussion Therapy: Shift Concussion Certification
Shift Concussion Management is a global network of concussion management professionals who offer various programs for concussion. They are dedicated to providing an accessible, individualized and effective concussion management solution for those suffering from concussion and mild traumatic brain injury.
Our very own Dr. Simon McFarlane is a certified Shift concussion provider who offers a wide range of services to support your recovery.
Dr. McFarlane has extensive training in concussion management and offers three levels of service:
1) Concussion Assessment – An initial evaluation to determine if you have suffered a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). If you have suffered a concussion or mTBI we will provide you with recommendations on how to manage your symptoms while waiting for the next step in your recovery process.
2) Concussion Management – A series of follow-up appointments to manage your concussion symptoms and determine the next steps in your recovery process.
3) Concussion Rehabilitation – A series of follow-up appointments to help you return to your pre-injury state.
Shift Certification sets the standards for effective concussion care and recovery. It’s important that whoever you choose to help with your recovery has the skill sets and experience required.
How To Prevent A Concussion Injury
The best way to prevent a concussion is to stay safe during sports and activities in order to avoid being injured. Whenever you play a contact sport, make sure you follow the rules of the sport and wear protective gear when necessary. Wear a seat belt when you are in a car; and wear a helmet when you are riding your bike or skateboarding.
The Bottom line
Concussions are common and can happen to any person. They can affect anyone of any age, gender, or athletic ability. Concussions are usually easy to treat, but you need to get medical attention as soon as possible after you suffer a concussion.
Concussions can be often easily treated with rest, rest, and more rest, but having a professional review your situation is key to preventing serious injury.
Located in South Edmonton, Aspire Physiotherapy specializes in concussion management (and vestibular therapy) and can help you navigate through this complicated trauma. Our treatments give you a better chance of recovering from a concussion quickly and fully. Call our clinic for concussion treatment today. We’re here to help!