If you or someone you know has had had a concussion, you know all too well the severity and consequences of a concussion. Whether the concussion just occurred, or it’s been some time now, proper treatment is essential for better recovery from concussion. In this article we’ll explore some of the effects of Post-Concussion Syndrome.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. However, the head area does not need to be hit directly to cause a concussion. A hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth may also cause a concussion. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.
Did you know?
- 90% of people do not lose consciousness – this can be harder to determine if you have a concussion.
- 70% of people will recover in 1-2 weeks
- 10% recover in just over than 2 weeks
- The remaining 20% may need post-concussion care to recover if they cannot on their own
- Younger people typically have a harder time recovering from a concussion, as well as females typically have a harder time recovering compared to males
As you can see, concussions are a serious matter but are something that can be treated well if given proper attention.
First steps to do if you think you might have a concussion
- Remove yourself from the activity – for example, if you obtained a blow to the head from a sport, it is best to remove yourself from the game. Although you may feel ok, with little to no symptoms, a concussion affects your brain and should be taken seriously.
- Document your status with standardized tests – There are tests that can be found online that are easy to print out, a coach, teammate, parent, friend or medical professional should walk you through one of these tests to get a better understanding on the severity of your injury
- Notify a trained medical provider immediately – Any injury regarding your brain should be treated as such. Often times someone with a concussion may not feel symptoms, which can lead to no further treatment.
- Monitor symptoms 24-48 hours – After a hit to the head, any symptom, even as little as a headache could require immediate medical attention. Monitoring these symptoms reduce the risk of any risks.
Scat 3 Form & The King Devick Concussion Screening Test
There are tests available to assess various areas of brain functionality. The individual will be asked about their history of concussions, basic information about themselves, which not only allows this to be documented right away but also tests the person’s memory and awareness.
A detailed symptom checklist allows for the symptoms to be immediately documented and determine the status of the head injury.
The cognitive assessment has two parts, orientation asks basic questions usually regarding the individual’s whereabouts, while immediate memory is a simple test to see if the individual can repeat back the words said to them. Concentration is tested by asking the individual to follow along to basic sequences.
If an individual has any of the following symptoms, you should call 911 right away!
- loss of consciousness over 2 minutes
- worsening headache
- repeated vomiting and seizures
- open wound
- slurred speech, double vision
- fluid discharge from ears or nose
What to expect if admitted to the hospital for a potential concussion
Once in hospital, patients will be tended to by specialists who will do further cognitive testing to get a better idea of the severity. Much like the Scat 3 Form & The King Devick Concussion Screening Test, doctors will test various areas of the brain to determine whether any areas of the brain are affected.
In some cases, a doctor might order imaging tests — such as MRI or CT scans — to make sure there’s no bruising or bleeding in your brain. In the event that a doctor finds bleeding in the brain, surgery might be required to drain the blood.
After Discharge Post-concussion treatment
Everyone’s symptoms should be treated differently as each concussion is unique. A factor to decide how to treat the concussion is where the severity of the lesion, and where it has occurred on the brain.
A doctor will refer the individual to a healthcare provider with in-depth concussion training to perform ongoing testing. They will perform testing on that specified area and evaluate the recovery process.
Exercises & treatments that can be done at home post-concussion
- Hand-eye coordination activities
- Balance activities
- Oculomotor exercise
- Vestibular exercises
Diet is also very important for a speedy recovery
- Avoid drinking any alcohol
- Avoid eating sugary foods
- Pay attention to your dietary choices (and journaling could help identify patterns of what works well and what does not)
If you are experiencing post-concussion syndrome and are looking into testing or treatment options, Broadview Spine & Health Centre can help. Over the years we’ve treated hundreds of patients with post-concussion syndrome, so we understand both the severity and frustrations of this unfortunate condition as well as the path to effective treatment. Contact us today to find out more and request an appointment.