Concussion

Concussion has become a major health concern in recent years. The media mostly associates concussion with contact sports like hockey and football, but car accidents and falls are other common causes. Really, anyone can get a concussion.

Early recognition of concussion symptoms and prompt, appropriate treatment help ensure optimum recovery.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) that temporarily changes brain function.

Though must often associated with a blow to the head, concussions can have other causes. Body blows, falls, and even whiplash can cause mild injury to the brain. In fact, you don’t even actually have to hit your head to cause concussion. Any sharp movement that jars or shakes the head can cause damage to the brain.

How do I know if I have a concussion?
Concussion is commonly signaled by temporary loss of consciousness. However, you can have concussion even if you weren’t unconscious. Any time you shake or jolt your head violently, be on the lookout for signs of a concussion.

Brain injury symptoms can be physical, cognitive, or emotional

Physical symptoms of concussion include:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • neck pain
  • ringing in the ears
  • nausea or vomiting
  • blurred or double vision, “seeing stars”
  • loss of balance, poor coordination, slow reaction time

Cognitive symptoms of minor brain trauma include:

  • confusion
  • feeling “foggy”
  • drowsiness/fatigue
  • trouble concentrating
  • amnesia or memory trouble
  • slow responses to directions
  • feeling “off,” “out of sorts,” or not like oneself

Emotional symptoms of brain injury include:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • aggression
  • depression or apathy
  • frequent or rapid mood changes
  • excessive, inappropriate, or uncontrollable reactions

Concussion often occurs with no outward sign of trauma. If you move your head sharply and then experience any of these symptoms, book a concussion assessment immediately.

What causes concussion?

Technically, concussion is the result of minor brain trauma. Common causes of brain trauma include sports, motor vehicle accidents, falls, and blasts.

  • Sports concussions may result from one large impact, like a tackle or collision. They can also result from multiple minor impacts, like head-butting a soccer ball.
  • Car accident concussions may occur from contact with an object like the dash, window, or headrest. More often than not, though, they’re the result of whiplash.
  • Fall concussions are common workplace injuries. They can result from hitting the head on impact, or simply from the force of falling.
  • Blast injury concussions are caused by explosions. These are common among military personnel and in various industrial settings, like construction and mining.

How do I treat concussion?

The first thing to do after any head injury or potential brain trauma is book an assessment.

Early diagnosis and intervention is a crucial part of successful concussion therapy. Your first visit may be to your family doctor or an urgent care clinic, but ongoing treatment should be provided by a medical professional certified in concussion therapy.

Concussion affects everyone differently. Your concussion management program will depend on your specific symptoms and medical history.

Possible treatments for concussion include:

  • rest
  • exercise
  • physiotherapy
  • physical exertion testing

Whatever your treatment plan, you should limit physical activity until you are completely symptom free and plan for a gradual return to work or sport. Your concussion therapist will provide specific recommendations.

Let Main Street Health get you slowly and safely back to normal with a personalized concussion management plan.

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