What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that is caused when the brain ‘jolts’ or ‘shakes’ inside the skull. This force can be applied directly or indirectly to the head. Ultimately this causes a neurocognitive disruption (motor and thinking skills) to a person. So your brain function is not normal for a certain extended period of time. Sometimes this happens instantaneously or sometimes this occurs overtime. Brain and Spinal Cord injuries are the most lethal injuries and should not be taken lightly. If you suspect someone or yourself that may have a concussion, you should consult with a health care provider such as a Doctor, Athletic Trainer, Nurse, or other health professional.
What does a concussion look like?
You can’t see a concussion physically but there are some symptoms you can see and ask the patient. This is also why it is coined ‘The invisible injury.’ The most common signs and symptoms of a concussion are headache, dizziness, and ‘feeling out of it.’ Other symptoms include and not limited to nausea, feeling tired, difficulty concentrating/remembering things, blurry vision, sensitivity to light/noise, balance problems, and mood changes. So you physically can’t see damage from a concussion but you can tell someone is acting different and doesn’t appear right.
So what’s the plan of action when you suspect a concussion?
If they are participating in an activity or just hanging out, please remove them from activity or from any situation that could make their injury worse. One of the biggest reasons for this is to prevent something called Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). SIS is when somebody sustains another concussion before their initial concussion heals. This causes a cascade of events of the brain, losing its ability to regulate proper blood flow and can cause swelling of the brain inside the skull. These events are catastrophic and few survive these brain alterations. Again, brain and spinal cord are the most deadly injuries. Concussions are not deadly themselves but should be managed properly with appropriate rest and certain prescribed treatment from your doctor.
What is the treatment for concussion?
There is no ‘cure’ for a concussion besides limiting activity that causes symptoms to occur, and that of course means REST! Truly resting is limiting physical AND mental activities. It is recommended to limit blue/bright lighting (phone use, TV, bright rooms, smart-boards, etc.) and activities that require high concentration (small-print reading, mathematics, work, etc.). Overall limiting intense brain activity will help your body heal. There is research being done now on certain activities that may help with concussion recovery such as light aerobic activity, and certain medications that can help with brain activity. There is no magic pill or medicine that ‘cures’ a concussion. Rest is the number one recommended treatment.
I hope you have a better understanding what a concussion is, major signs/symptoms of the injury, treatment and appropriate care for a concussion as well. Please reach out to health care providers for more information about this recent epidemic that is occurring to all populations. A concussion is a very serious injury and should be cared for appropriately. I hope this information was helpful to you or a friend.