Accidents and injuries are common, and for up to 3.8 million people annually those have led to concussions. The number of these traumatic brain injuries (TBI) could actually be higher, as many who suffer from a concussion may not even realize they have one. This condition can cause problems with memory, reflexes, judgment, and balance, either temporarily or long term, depending on the extent of the injury or how many you may have suffered.
To better understand your treatment options for concussions, you should learn to recognize its signs and causes. To accomplish this, let’s examine what a concussion is, causes, signs to look for, and your options for treatment. If you live in the Washington, DC area and you’re dealing with the signs of a concussion, our physical therapy team at Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation are here to help.
Your brain is a gelatinous mass located in your skull surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid that cushions it from everyday impacts. Any violent impact to the upper body or head can create harsh, sudden movement of the brain in your skull, resulting in function disruption and concussion. While sports are a common place to imagine getting injuries that cause this condition, anyone can get one, as all it takes is a sudden violent impact affecting your head.
Not all concussions are serious or severe, and many people that deal with one don’t lose consciousness. Complications of severe concussions can include headaches, vertigo, post concussion syndrome, and second impact syndrome.
Several factors can lead to this form of brain injury. They include car injuries, falling, high risk sports (rugby, football, boxing), blunt force trauma such as from the impact of being hit or slamming against an object with your head, and physical abuse. Having prior concussions can increase the risks of getting them again.
If you have a concussion, you may experience headaches, vomiting, nausea, disorientation, dizziness, blurred vision, light and noise sensitivity, and problems with balance. Seek immediate medical help if you also have slurred speech, seizures, consistent vomiting, and trouble waking up. Getting a concussion after having several previously should also be a reason to seek medical attention.
Some basic things you can do to manage a concussion include drinking plenty of water (vomiting can cause dehydration), avoid alcohol, minimize exposure to electronics and let your brain rest, and reduce strenuous activities.
There are many physical therapy (PT) options to help manage concussions, such as
Neck strengthening can help, as issues with isometric neck strength are connected to risk of injury. Building the cervical flexion, extension, side flexion, and rotation in your neck can help to reduce concussions.
PT can also help manage balance issues with rehabilitation designed to reduce problems in vestibular abnormalities (balance issues affecting the inner ear).
It is not uncommon for concussion victims to have problems tracking objects visually, and oculomotor exercises can help to restore normal function in this area.
Concussions directly impact your health regardless of severity, but there are ways we can help. Make an appointment with the team at Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation today to get on the road to recovery.