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Concussions Can Stop You In Your Tracks!

Image of brain made up of text.

It seems everywhere you turn you see something about concussions and head injuries in the news, sports or media.  Concussions can halt you in your tracks and keep you from your daily activities.  You will need to take a break from such things as driving, working, and using your cell phone, computer or any other multi-media devices as well as from watching TV until the concussion has healed.

What exactly is a concussion?  A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that alters the way the brain functions. Think about a computer with a software problem not a hardware problem. That’s a concussion. The MRI’s, CT scans and imaging will all show nothing! So we must be all good, right? False! When our software (our brains) is damaged, we cannot run all our processes normally. This includes your icon for emotions, memory, motor function, learning and any number of processing issues contained within our brains.  What does this mean?  It means that our lives can essentially be shut down and we will be unable to use our cell phones, drive, exercise, work/do school work, watch TV,  and the list goes on and on…  So it is vital to get the necessary medical care and therapies in order not to delay healing.

There is still much confusion and misunderstanding surrounding concussions. Most people believe that a concussion will just get better on its own within 7-10 days like the common cold or flu.  That belief is contrary to what you should do in order to ensure you heal completely and without delay.  You should seek immediate medical examination by a trained healthcare professional. 

 

What are the signs and symptoms to look for?

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy or ‘slower’ than usual
  • Difficulty walking
  • Poor balance
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Irrational or irregular behavior

 

RED FLAGS

  • Unconsciousness OR abrupt changes in consciousness
  • Increased confusion or irritability
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • UNequal pupils
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech or inability to speak
  • Inability to recognize people or places
  • Worsening headaches

Post-Concussion Guidelines:

  • Monitor for the next 24 hours. Look for any worsening signs or symptoms.
  • SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL EXAMINATION BY A TRAINED HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL!
  • Remember that there is no diagnostic imaging for a concussion. X-rays, MRIs, CT scans will NOT show concussions.They need an evaluation by someone who is trained in concussion management!
  • Do not allow the patient to take any pain medications. This will allow you to see if the concussion is healing on its own without the masking of medicines like Tylenol or Advil. Pain medications usually don’t have any effect on concussion headaches anyway.
  • Avoid things such as television, computer or video games, and other mentally strenuous activities including reading, writing and mathematics. Remember, a concussion is a brain injury.
  • If any of the above symptoms or red flags gets worse, go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

The best available evidence tells us that gradually returning to activity is very important to recovery. Balancing rest and activity are also important to recovery and a full return to regular activities after concussion. People need the guidance of a trained healthcare professional to ensure they are returning to activities with zero residual symptoms. The concept of resting the brain is important and requires staying away from thinking, learning, memorizing and even things like reading, texting, computer time and watching TV for the first day or two following an injury. It also includes physical rest. A gradual return to activities, as long as it does not make things worse, is the best approach. Communication between the student, parents, healthcare professionals and school staff is vital so that everyone understands the student’s specific needs for getting the proper balance of rest and activity based on his or her individual needs.

Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, specializes in individually tailored programs designed just for you and your brain. Just like no two brains are the same, no two concussion patients will need the exact same return to activity guidelines.  Our specialized therapists will develop an individualized plan to ensure you return to your activities without further delay.

 CALL our office TODAY at 703-450-4300 and find out how we can help you or your team with baseline concussion testing and concussion management. 

CLICK HERE to learn more about concussion management.

 

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