If you or someone you know has 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?
- Approximately 90% of people who experience a concussion do not lose consciousness. This makes it challenging to determine if a concussion has occurred.
- Around 70% of individuals recover from a concussion within 1-2 weeks.
- About 10% of people take just over 2 weeks to recover.
- The remaining 20% may require post-concussion care to facilitate their recovery.
- Younger individuals often face more challenges in recovering from a concussion. Females generally experience more difficulties compared to males.
As you can see, concussions are a serious matter, but with proper attention, they can be effectively treated.
Four Steps to Take if You Suspect a Concussion
- Remove yourself from the activity: If you experience a blow to the head during a sport or any other activity, it’s crucial to remove yourself from the situation. Even if you feel fine with little to no symptoms, a concussion affects your brain and should be taken seriously.
- Document your condition with standardized tests: Online tests that are easy to print out can help assess the severity of your injury. Seek guidance from aa trusted person who can walk you through these tests. This process provides a better understanding of the extent of your injury and helps accurately document your condition.
- Notify a trained medical provider immediately: Any injury involving your brain should be treated with utmost care. It is essential to inform a trained medical provider as soon as possible. Individuals with concussions may not always experience immediate symptoms. Seeking timely medical evaluation ensures appropriate treatment and reduces the risk of potential complications.
- Monitor symptoms for 24-48 hours: Following a head impact, it is crucial to closely monitor your symptoms for the next 24-48 hours. Even seemingly minor symptoms, such as a headache, could indicate the need for immediate medical attention. Consistently monitoring these symptoms helps mitigate potential risks and ensures your well-being.
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 and basic information about themselves. This not only allows for immediate documentation but also tests the person’s memory and awareness.
A detailed symptom checklist enables the immediate documentation of symptoms and helps determine the status of the head injury.
The cognitive assessment consists of two parts. The orientation part asks basic questions usually regarding the individual’s whereabouts. The immediate memory part 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 with basic sequences.
Urgent Symptoms: When to Call 911 Immediately
In certain cases, specific symptoms following a head injury require immediate medical attention. If an individual experiences any of the following symptoms, it is crucial to call 911 without delay:
Loss of Consciousness over 2 minutes: If the person loses consciousness for an extended period, it may indicate a more severe head injury that requires urgent medical intervention.
Worsening Headache: A headache intensifies significantly and persists or worsens over time could signify a potentially serious condition.
Repeated Vomiting and Seizures: The occurrence of repeated vomiting episodes or seizures after a head injury demands immediate medical attention. These symptoms could indicate significant brain involvement.
Open Wound: If there is an open wound or a penetrating injury to the head, it is crucial to seek immediate medical care.
Slurred Speech, Double Vision: The presence of slurred speech or double vision can be indicative of neurological impairment following a head injury. An urgent medical assessment is necessary to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.
Fluid Discharge from Ears or Nose: If there is any fluid discharge, such as clear fluid or blood, coming from the ears or nose, it may suggest a skull fracture or injury to the brain. Immediate medical attention is vital to evaluate the extent of the injury and provide appropriate care.
If you or someone around you experiences any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to call 911 or seek emergency medical assistance. Prompt evaluation and treatment are essential to ensure the best possible outcome and minimize the potential risks associated with severe head injuries.
What to expect if admitted to the hospital for a potential concussion
During hospitalization, patients will receive specialized care from brain injury specialists who will conduct comprehensive cognitive testing to assess the severity of the injury. Similar to the Scat 3 Form & The King Devick Concussion Screening Test, these specialists will examine different areas of the brain to identify any potential effects or impairments.
In certain cases, the attending doctor may request imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans to ensure there are no signs of bruising or bleeding within the brain. If bleeding is detected, surgical intervention may be necessary to drain the accumulated blood and mitigate further complications.
At the hospital, the expertise of brain injury specialists plays a crucial role in evaluating the extent of the injury, guiding treatment decisions, and providing optimal care to facilitate concussion recovery.
After Discharge Post-concussion treatment
Each concussion is unique. For this reason, the symptoms experienced by individuals should be treated on an individual basis. A key consideration in determining the appropriate treatment approach is the severity and location of the brain lesion resulting from the concussion.
When seeking treatment for a concussion, a doctor will refer the individual to a healthcare provider who specializes in concussions and has extensive training in the field. This healthcare provider will conduct ongoing testing and evaluations specifically targeting the affected area of the brain. By closely monitoring the recovery process, they can assess the progress and make informed decisions regarding the most effective treatment methods.
By tailoring the treatment approach to the individual’s specific needs, healthcare providers with in-depth concussion training can optimize the recovery process and improve overall outcomes.
Exercises to Aid In Concussion Recovery
Post-concussion recovery involves a holistic approach that encompasses not only medical treatments but also exercises and lifestyle adjustments that can be done at home. These activities aim to support the healing process and promote a speedy recovery. Here are some exercises and treatments that are commonly recommended:
- Hand-eye coordination activities – Engaging in activities that require hand-eye coordination, such as throwing and catching a ball can help improve cognitive function and coordination skills. These exercises stimulate neural pathways and enhance the connection between the brain and body.
- Balance activities – Standing on one leg or practicing yoga poses, can help strengthen the muscles responsible for balance and stability. By gradually challenging balance abilities, individuals can regain their equilibrium and reduce the risk of falls or dizziness associated with concussions.
- Oculomotor exercises – Oculomotor exercises focus on improving eye movement control and coordination. These exercises may involve tracking moving objects or practicing visual scanning techniques. Enhancing oculomotor skills can aid in reducing visual disturbances and promoting visual recovery.
- Vestibular exercises – Vestibular exercises are special exercises that focus on the part of your body responsible for balance and spatial orientation. These exercises may include moving your head in different ways, rotating your body, or changing your body position. By doing these exercises, you can help retrain your balance system and reduce dizziness.
Diet Tips Aid In Concussion Recovery
In addition to physical exercises, a proper diet is crucial for supporting the recovery process. Here are some dietary considerations:
- Avoid drinking any alcohol – Alcohol can interfere with the brain’s healing process and exacerbate symptoms. It is important to abstain from alcohol during the recovery period to allow the brain to heal effectively.
- Avoid eating sugary foods – High sugar intake can contribute to inflammation and hinder the recovery process. Minimizing the consumption of sugary foods and beverages can support a healthier environment for healing.
- Eat a balanced and Nutritious diet – Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for overall well-being and optimal recovery. It is beneficial to focus on nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Also, journaling food choices can help identify any patterns between diet and symptom fluctuations. Keeping track of food can provide insights into what works best for individual recovery.
By incorporating these exercises and dietary considerations into the post-concussion recovery routine, individuals can actively support their healing process and improve their chances of a successful and quick recovery. It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a brain injury specialist to receive personalized guidance and recommendations based on individual needs.
If you are in Ottawa and experiencing post-concussion syndrome, finding the right testing and treatment options is crucial. At our Ottawa concussion clinic, our dedicated team of brain injury specialists understands the severity and challenges associated with this condition. With years of experience in helping hundreds of patients with post-concussion syndrome, we are well-equipped to provide effective treatment and support.
Contact Broadview Spine and Health Centre today to learn more about our comprehensive services and request an appointment. Your path to concussion recovery starts here.