What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury caused by a traumatic event. Traumatic events that cause a concussion can include any external physical force to the head (or body) that causes the brain to move suddenly and forcefully. These rapid movements can cause chemical and structural changes within the brain responsible for the symptoms associated with a concussion.
Though concussions are treated seriously, the injury is often described as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) by the medical community as it is typically not life-threatening. Concussions should still be treated by a licensed medical professional. There are many options for concussion treatment, and depending on the severity, your doctor can help you decide which treatment type is right for you.
Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion
It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of a concussion to be able to quickly identify the condition and seek medical treatment. The signs and symptoms of a concussion vary based on the severity of the injury. Know the symptoms of concussions and mTBI and call a medical professional if you experience any of the following:
- Dizziness or balancing issues
- Sensitivities to light and sound
- Vision changes
- Change in reaction times
- Changes in speech
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory issues
- Feeling foggy/groggy/having trouble thinking clearly
- Troubles sleeping
- Changes in judgment
Headaches are one of the most common lingering (physical) symptoms reported following a concussion/mTBI. While headaches may present in many ways, varying greatly from patient to patient, the most prevalent complaints among those who have suffered a concussion are typically migraine, tension headaches, frontal headaches and/or occipital headaches. Fortunately, there are many treatment options for post-concussion headaches.
If you have had an accident that resulted in excessive physical force to your head and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please seek medical attention.
How to Test for a Concussion
If you think you have a concussion and are experiencing any of the symptoms above, get evaluated by a medical professional. It is important to seek professional help so you can minimize the impact of your symptoms. At the time of your new patient evaluation, a comprehensive history and assessment of symptoms will be obtained. A plan for treatment will be determined based on your individual assessment.
Testing and Treatment options for concussions range based on severity. Each patient is unique and could require more testing than others. At the time of your visits, in addition to a comprehensive history and physical assessment, the following may be accessed:
- Labs: Common labs ordered for concussion patients are a Vitamin D level, Basic Metabolic Panel and depending on symptoms and timing, a variety of labs to assess Neuroendocrine function.
- Imaging: Depending on the nature of your injury, x-rays or more advanced imaging like an MRI may be ordered, however, this is not always required.
At the time of your appointment, your provider will discuss the best treatment options for your personal care plan.
How to Treat a Concussion
Concussion rehabilitation often includes referrals to different therapies and sometimes other specialists. Labs, imaging, and medications will also be reviewed. There is no one size fits all to head concussion treatment. It is important to follow the guidance of a licensed professional when treating a concussion to avoid long-term effects of the injury.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can treat symptoms associated with concussions such as headaches, dizziness, balance problems, as well as neck and upper back pain. They can provide recommendations, strategies, exercises, and hands-on techniques to help you manage your symptoms and recover from your concussion. They will work with you to calibrate the appropriate intensity and progression of treatments so your brain can heal in the quickest and safest way possible.
Speech Therapy: Speech-language pathologists (SLP) can assess symptoms relating to communication (e.g., listening, understanding, following conversations, speaking, thinking of what to say) and cognition (slowed thinking, memory, attention, organization, or processing information).
Neuro Optometry & Vision Therapy: Post-concussion vision changes or Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome is often described by patients as blurred vision, double vision, difficulties with certain eye movements, eye strain or fatigue, headaches, trouble reading, even balance problems. This is not uncommon following a head injury and may require further evaluation by a specialist. Neuro-optometry is an optometrist with training that specifically addresses these visual complaints and how they relate to your brain. At times, neuro-optometry will also recommend vision therapy to help create new pathways in your brain to aid in the resolution of symptoms.
Right Eye: At Neuroscience Group we offer RightEye testing which is a program that can give insight into impairments with eye movements. This is objective data that can help your provider in the diagnosis of vestibular and/or balance issues, as well as other possible vision and cognition concerns.
Other treatment types for concussions could include:
- Nerve Blocks
- Dry Needling
- Craniosacral therapy
- Myofascial release
Get Treatment From a Medical Professional
When dealing with a traumatic brain injury it is important to work with a medical professional to properly treat and recover from your concussion without long-term effects. At Neuroscience Group our expert team of highly trained and certified providers uses a multidisciplinary approach to treat our concussion patients and get them back to their life without the pain of a brain injury.
If you feel that you are suffering from symptoms of a concussion, contact Neuroscience Group today to get started with treatment.