A concussion is considered a “mild” traumatic brain injury that affects the brain’s function, but any head injury should be taken seriously.
The doctor who diagnoses your condition will likely give you instructions for recovering from your concussion. These typically include avoiding any physically or mentally strenuous activities until your symptoms have receded and calling your doctor if you suddenly feel worse.
You should follow your doctor’s instructions and rest until you’re feeling better, then go slowly when resuming your typical activities.
Unfortunately, many doctors’ instructions end there. Unless you have a specific and significant problem – such as pronounced memory loss – your physician might not recommend a follow-up appointment or refer you to a specialist.
For many people, this means they don’t get treatment for any long-term problems stemming from the concussion. Sometimes, they may not even realize a particular issue is related to their head injury.
Another concern is that many concussions are not diagnosed by a doctor – it’s estimated that roughly 5 in 10 concussions are unreported. In many cases, the injured person believes their head injury is minor and doesn’t require any treatment.
Unfortunately, this often means that they don’t get the necessary rest, treatment, and follow-up care they should.
Can You Recover Without Concussion Treatment?
You might, but it’s not recommended. Studies have shown that limiting exercise during the recovery phase and receiving prompt medical care leads to a faster recovery from concussion with fewer symptoms.
Follow-up care also helps patients identify symptoms of persistent post-concussive symptoms (which last more than three months and occur in 10-20 percent of concussion victims) so they can seek additional treatment.
How Do You Know if You Have a Concussion?
The best way to know for sure is to see a healthcare provider for an evaluation after any head injury. If you didn’t seek medical care after your injury but have any of the following symptoms, you should see a healthcare provider as soon as possible:
- Mental confusion, difficulty concentrating, or memory loss
- Visual disturbances like blurred vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Tinnitus (a ringing sound in the ears)
- Sensitivity to light
- Loss of smell or taste
- Sleep disturbances or insomnia
- Mood swings or behavior that others point out is unusual for you
- Struggling with tasks you used to do easily
Your doctor will probably want to run some tests to rule out a more severe head injury, such as a brain bleed. They might order a CT scan or an X-ray if they suspect a skull fracture.
Additionally, the doctor may do bloodwork to look for other causes of your symptoms. If these tests don’t reveal any severe problems that require surgery or other interventions, you will probably be released with instructions to rest.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From a Concussion?
It varies from one person to another, but most adults should be back to normal or close to it within about two weeks. If your symptoms persist longer than that, you should follow up with your doctor, and you may want to consult a specialist.
Another issue to look out for is a return of your symptoms after you resume your normal activities – if this happens, you should also see a specialist.
What Is Persistent Post-concussive Syndrome?
This refers to a situation where concussion symptoms last longer than is typical, sometimes for months after the initial head injury. It isn’t clear why some people develop this syndrome and others don’t, but it is more common in women and older adults.The risk of Persistent Post-Concussive Syndrome (PPCS) is not related to the severity of the head injury, so even if you had a mild concussion, you could still find yourself dealing with long-term symptoms.
How Can You Get Help With Concussion Symptoms in Hiram?
Optimum Health Rehab can diagnose and treat concussion symptoms, even if you didn’t get a diagnosis immediately after your injury.
Our team of neurological specialists, chiropractors, therapists, and other experts will order the appropriate imaging, blood work, nerve conduction studies, and other tests to explore your symptoms.
We will then create a unique treatment plan to address all your symptoms and help you recover any lost functions.
One of the first steps is determining what your brain may struggle with as you recover. A neurological specialist will spend some time learning about your challenges, and in some cases, they may identify symptoms you didn’t notice.
Here are some examples of tests you may have during this evaluation:
- The specialist may ask you a series of questions to understand if you have any challenges with your memory or cognition.
- You might be asked to complete simple physical tasks like standing on one foot or picking up objects. Sometimes this will reveal if the patient has any motor difficulties (challenges with movement).
- In some cases, the specialist will do a nerve conduction study to rule out local causes for your symptoms (such as a pinched nerve in the neck). A nerve conduction study is a simple test in which two electrodes are placed on your skin, and a low-volt current is run from one to another. It isn’t painful, and the time it takes can indicate if there is a problem with a nearby nerve.
- You could be given a vision or hearing test if you’re experiencing blurred vision, tinnitus, or other sensory disturbances.
After the specialist learns the areas you need help with, they will put together a plan, which may include multiple treatments:
Persistent and sometimes debilitating headaches are a common problem after a concussion, and they’re not always solely caused by brain injury. In some cases, tension in the neck muscles or a nerve impingement in the shoulders or upper back can also contribute to headaches.
If so, we may adjust your neck to correct any misaligned vertebrae or relieve pressure on an impacted nerve. Sometimes we may also recommend massage therapy to relieve muscle tension.
Refraining from physical activity is recommended while you still have acute symptoms of a concussion. However, after this phase of recovery is complete, returning to light exercise is an excellent way to improve blood flow and speed up the healing process.
A physical rehab specialist can create a program to help you regain strength and exercise safely.
Many patients also need help with specific skills or functions that were affected by the concussion. For instance, concussion patients often have difficulty with balance or coordination after a head injury.
Your physical rehab specialist can recommend exercises to assist you with these challenges or help you find new ways of doing everyday tasks.
What if I Can’t Afford Any More Treatment for My Head Injury?
Unfortunately, this is a common concern.
People who have been injured in car accidents or other personal injury situations may have multiple bills for car repairs, previous medical care, and more. It’s understandable if you can’t afford any more costs for your accident.
However, you may not have to be solely responsible for your medical bills. If you were in a car accident, there is a good chance an insurance policy will cover your accident-related healthcare.
When the other driver was at fault, you can seek compensation from their liability insurance (the minimum amount required in Georgia is $25,000 per person) or sue them personally for any bills that are not covered.
Additionally, your own insurance may also cover your medical bills depending on the type of policy you have – in some cases, it may even cover you if you were at fault. (You should not assume you were at fault, though – many people believe this and turn out to be incorrect.)
With other types of head injuries, such as those from a slip-and-fall accident or a sports injury, it’s possible there may be a liable party or a relevant insurance policy.
Injuries that happen at work should be covered by worker’s compensation (although your employer may look for an excuse not to cover your injury).
The bottom line is that if you need help paying for concussion treatment, the best solution is to seek advice from a personal injury attorney.
We can put you in touch with a law firm that handles personal injury cases and provides free consultations, so there is no risk in finding out your options. If there is a way to get your medical bills covered, your attorney will find it.
How Can I Schedule an Evaluation for My Concussion or Head Injury?
Please contact Optimum Health Rehab, and our friendly staff members will be happy to answer questions or set up an appointment at your earliest convenience. Call (770) 439-6997 today.