Over the past few years, we have become much more aware of the effects that concussions can have on the brain. Untreated concussions can lead to decreased mental performance and a great deal of additional difficulties years down the road. In particular, the concussion controversy in the NFL has shone a light on how important it is to recognize and treat concussions effectively.
Signs of a Concussion
Concussions are usually caused by a blow or impact to the head, neck, face or jaw. After an individual has sustained a concussion, there are many associated symptoms that may be reported. Some symptoms include nausea, headaches, vomiting, dizziness, neck pain, irritability, changes in emotion, and difficulty concentrating on tasks for an extended period of time.
How do we treat concussions?
Concussions are complex to treat, as there are many factors that can affect recovery. The good news is that most concussions get better within a couple of weeks, and symptoms may even resolve in the first ten days! In some cases, however, symptoms can persist for over a month.
Because the brain is a very complex organ, experts are still not exactly sure how long it takes for a concussion to heal completely – even if the patient is symptom-free. When we work with patients who have suffered concussions, we will assess the severity of the concussion and then make recommendations about resting, returning to school, returning to work, and returning to sport.
Creating a Concussion Treatment Plan
We treat each concussion on a case-by-case basis. The first step is to have an assessment performed by one of our physiotherapists trained in concussion management. The first assessment will last approximately 60 minutes. Based on the outcome of the assessment, the physiotherapist will make recommendations about what forms of treatment may be appropriate.
Education and guidance on return to school, work and sport will be provided to help ensure the safest transition. Seeking out treatment from a professional trained in concussion management will help you get back on the right track faster. If you leave a concussion untreated, there is the risk that you may have persistent, unresolved symptoms.
If you think you have a concussion…
Things you should keep in mind
- The most important thing you can do is to seek the opinion of a qualified healthcare professional.
- Too much rest may not be as good for you as you think.
- Sustaining a second concussion within the first month of the initial concussion can have additive effects,making recovery much longer.
- Returning to school/work/sport should be done on a gradual basis. In general, if you can’t return to school or work, you should not return to sport.
- If you are experiencing symptoms beyond 3-4 weeks, there are many explanations as to why this may be the case. Treatment should be sought out as physiotherapy or chiropractic care may be of great assistance.
Don’t waste any time!
If you are unsure whether or not you have sustained a concussion, do not wait for things to get better on their own. Consult with a trained health care professional who can guide you along your way to recovery. Concussions are just like other injuries. They should get better when given the correct guidance, information and treatment. If you have any specific questions related to concussions or concussion management, give us a call.