A concussion can be induced by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head and any fall or contact to the head. This invisible damage alters the way the brain functions by reducing mental endurance, requiring the brain to work longer and harder even to execute basic tasks. Concussions can cause loss of consciousness, although, in the vast majority of cases, this does not happen.
It is critical to understand the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
The Danger Signs of a Concussion
If you or your child experiences any of the following signs or symptoms after a fall or hit to the head, call 911 immediately:
– Unconsciousness (passing out)
– A headache that gets worse and does not go away
– Repeated vomiting
– Slurred speech
– Seizures (convulsions)
– Drowsiness or cannot be awakened from sleep
– Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination in arms or legs
– Increasing confusion, restlessness, or agitation
– Loss of balance and unsteady walking
– Double or blurry vision
– Concerning behaviour changes, such as increased irritability, sadness, nervousness or unusual behaviour
Suppose you or your child does not experience any of the above signs or symptoms after a fall or hit to the head, and instead experiences one or more of the following concussion symptoms. In that case, it is still important to seek medical attention:
– Memory problems (amnesia), such as forgetting what happened before or after the fall or hit to the head
– Concentration and attention problems, such as feeling sluggish, fuzzy-headed or foggy
– Dizziness and lightheadedness
– Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
– Bad taste in the mouth
– Fatigue or low energy
– Sensitivity to light (photophobia) or noise (phonophobia)
– Sleep changes, such as feeling more sleepy during the day than usual
If you seek medical attention, a concussion specialist will likely perform tests to assess your concussion symptoms and how well your brain functions. These tests may include:
– neurological examination, which assesses your reflexes, coordination and balance;
– neuropsychological testing, which measures thinking skills such as memory and attention span;
– vestibular assessment, which evaluates your sense of balance; and
– posturography, which measures your ability to stand still on an uneven surface with your eyes closed.
Immediately after a concussion, most people experience some cognitive (thinking) and physical symptoms. These symptoms are normal and usually go away gradually over time.
Concussion Recovery and Treatment: What to Expect
The vast majority of concussions resolve within two weeks with rest and home care. However, some people experience persistent symptoms for months or even longer. If you or your child is experiencing concussion symptoms, it is important to see a concussion specialist for an assessment and develop a recovery plan.
During the first 24-48 hours after a concussion, it is important to:
– Rest your brain: Avoid activities that require mental concentration, such as reading, watching television, playing video games, working on the computer and texting.
– Rest your body: Avoid physical activity, including exercise, sports and other recreational activities.
– Take it easy: Avoid any activity (mental or physical) that makes your concussion symptoms worse.
After the first 24-48 hours, you can slowly start to add back in activities as tolerated, but be sure to take breaks and rest when needed. It is important not to return to your regular activities until all concussion symptoms have resolved.
If you or your child experiences a fall or hit to the head, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Most concussions resolve within two weeks with rest and home care, but some people may experience persistent symptoms for months or even longer. If you or your child is experiencing concussion symptoms, it is important to see a concussion specialist for an assessment and develop a recovery plan.
Physiotherapists at Manhas Health & Co. aim to educate individuals on how their body operates and maximize their ability to function as a whole by primarily utilizing manual therapy and exercise-based approaches to rehabilitation. Help us help you recover from the effects of concussion by booking an appointment with us today!