While some concussions may be considered “mild,” a blow to the head is always something to take seriously because of the serious impact that an injury to the brain can have on the entire body. A brain injury can result in injuries to coordination, movement, speech, and more, so preventative care and continued treatment after an injury can be the best way to catch or avoid the development of serious symptoms.
If you have experienced a sudden blow or jolt rattling the brain, a concussion specialist in Woodstock can help you better understand the severity of your TBI through diagnostic testing and offers personalized rehabilitation services based on your injuries. A skilled concussion specialist from Optimum Health Rehabilitation Center is standing by to help.
To schedule your initial appointment, contact us online or talk to a trusted member of our team when you call (770) 516-7477 or contact us online today!
Understanding Concussion Treatment
The brain is an incredibly sensitive organ guarded by the skull, but a traumatic injury can penetrate that protective layer in some situations.
A concussion is a highly reported mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can affect anyone from newborns to seniors and varies in severity. Sports alone cause an average of 3.8 million concussions every year in the United States, but the injury has a wide variety of causes, including falls, jolts, and bumps.
It is important to remember that the term “mild” does not imply that the injury is harmless or should be taken less seriously but simply that it is unlikely to result in life-threatening effects. In rare cases, a mild TBI, such as a concussion, can become life-threatening, oftentimes caused by other related injuries like brain swelling and bleeding.
Concussion treatment is unique to the individual because of how vast the symptoms and experiences relating to brain injuries can be. Some victims of a concussion may walk around seemingly unfazed by their accident with no visible symptoms, while others may not be able to enjoy normal activities like television or reading for an extended period of time.
The most urgent step in a concussion sufferer’s treatment is an evaluation of their condition to ensure that they do not need further testing to identify any more serious injuries. Thankfully, roughly 80% of concussions resolve on their own within two weeks, but it is important to track the road of your recovery.
After the diagnosis, the healing journey is separated into two categories: the acute symptomatic and the recovery phases. This distinction marks the progression of healing and separates the way you should be caring for your body to promote rapid rehabilitation.
Acute Symptomatic Phase
This is the immediate aftermath and the symptoms that follow shortly after. The acute symptomatic phase of a concussion refers to the days after an injury when the symptoms are the most prevalent and intense. This stage of recovery can take anywhere from one to two weeks, but if symptoms persist or worsen after this period, another round of diagnostic testing will be the next step to identify any further injuries.
During this time, it is critical that the injured person avoid excessive stimuli and allow their brain time to rest. Television, reading, technology usage, physical activity, bright lights, cooking, driving, or other activities that require the use of injured parts of the brain can make symptoms worse or create physical strain.
After a concussion, an injured person can mark the beginning of their recovery phase with the decline of serious symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and headaches. A person will want to spend the next couple of weeks readjusting to normalcy and only re-incorporating certain stimuli after slow integration.
A slow transition back to increased stimuli can help avoid shocking the brain and creating strain.
How to Know If You Have a Concussion
A bump to the head doesn’t always mean a concussion, but after a serious impact, it is understandable to want professional assurance about your physical state. You should always see a concussion care specialist after an intense blow to the head, especially if you begin to feel disoriented after the fact.
Many victims of a concussion report feeling like “something is off” shortly after the accident occurs. These instincts can be a useful indicator in understanding how urgent your condition is and shouldn’t be ignored.
A professional can then run diagnostic testing that analyzes your condition and solidifies the extent of your injuries.
Below are some of the most common symptoms of concussions:
- Lack of coordination
- Slurred speech or changes in speech patterns
- Ringing in the ears
- Feeling tired or fatigued
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling like something is ‘off’
Do I Need to Lose Consciousness to Diagnose a Concussion?
No. It is a common misconception that a concussed person must lose consciousness or “blackout,” but most concussions do not result in any loss of consciousness or amnesia.
While some people may experience these extreme symptoms, it is not a necessary effect to diagnose a concussion. A concussion is formed when a bump, blow, or jolt causes the brain to rattle inside the skull, which is why even minor accidents can have consequential damage.
Diagnosing a Concussion
Concussion testing is unique because the injury will not appear on traditional scans like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Concussions are microscopic cellular injuries, and because it is a brain cell injury, these scans will likely come back as normal.
You may be urged to undergo many of these traditional tests if your doctor believes that you may be suffering from another type of injury.
When imaging tests are inefficient, a care specialist must rely on other methods of diagnosis, like cognitive testing. An examiner will test many of your cognitive functions in order to test skills like speed and comprehension.
A neurological examiner will assess the following in your concussion test:
- Ability to pay attention
- Facial expressions
- Response times
Who Is at the Highest Risk for a Concussion?
Anyone can experience a concussion. This type of head injury is not specific to any age or condition and can happen from accidents like falls, crashes, or sports.
In fact, student-athletes have a high risk of concussions, and that risk is growing even with the increased knowledge regarding sports-related injuries.
Aside from athletes and student-athletes, infants and the elderly have a high risk for concussions because of their physical sensitivity. Infants rely on others to hold and carry them, while seniors have limited movement, making them more susceptible to serious falls.
Concussions are also common for military personnel, victims of abuse, and car crash victims.
Student-Athletes and Concussions
A student-athlete recovering from a concussion may endure some overwhelming changes, and it is essential to eliminate as much stress as possible in the early stages of recovery in order to reserve as much energy as possible for recovery. Students won’t be able to participate in school tasks, after-school activities, homework, or chores, but they should also avoid mobile devices, television, loud or intense music, bright lights, and physical activity.
The best course of action for the early days of healing is to avoid any and all activities that require long periods of brain stimulation.
When the student feels their intense symptoms such as headaches, drowsiness, and brain fog dissipate, parents can work with the school to help their child slowly transition back to full-time schoolwork. Advocating for your child to have extra time on assignments, early release from classes for slower passing periods, and the ability to copy teacher notes and record audio lectures can greatly decrease feelings of anxiety and promote a willingness to reintegrate.
Preventing a Concussion
While there is no way to guarantee protection against a concussion, following these tips can greatly decrease your chances in certain situations:
- Always wear your seatbelt
- Helmets are important not just for cyclists and skateboarders but also horse-back riders, skiers, and those in any contact sport
- Invest in safety gates on stairs for young children
- Use hand-railings
- Strategically place flashlights around the home so you are never walking in the dark
- Install safety guards on windows
Endured a Concussion? Explore Neurological Services at Optimum Health Rehabilitation Center in Woodstock
A concussion can be a nerve-wracking injury that affects other parts of your body and can even alter the state of your mind. The road to recuperation after a concussion can take weeks, and having a team of specialists on hand to track how your body is managing the injury can make all the difference in your confidence surrounding your own recovery.
The concussion specialists at Optimum Health can offer insightful diagnostic tests that provide a better understanding of your mental status, motor functions, sensory functions, coordination, and much more. After this neurological assessment, your care provider will put together a course of action that can help guide your healing process in a comfortable way.