In simple terms, concussion is a disturbance of brain functioning caused by direct or indirect force to the head. You do NOT have to lose consciousness to suffer a concussion, and it can commonly occur outside of sport. The brain can move within the skull, and if a sudden blow or movement occurs, the brain can knock against the skull, causing swelling and sometimes bleeding.
The brain is a highly sensitive structure and even a small insult can cause a variety of neurological symptoms. Concussion generally occurs from a mild blow to the head, either with or without loss of consciousness, and can lead to temporary cognitive symptoms. Concussion can also occur by a sudden acceleration or deceleration of the head or neck, without ANY contact to the head. By being aware of the common symptoms, you can quickly identify a concussion and implement best practices to allow prompt recovery of the brain and neurological system.
Symptoms may include headache, confusion, lack of coordination, memory loss, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and excessive fatigue. As time progresses it is also important to watch out for sensitivity to light, noise, and movement. Patients may also experience irritability, anxiety, and sleep disturbance.
If you suspect a concussion, the most important thing is to be assessed by a doctor or specialist physiotherapist. It is important to note current symptoms and the progression of these symptoms. Rest in the early stages is vital to permit the brain to recover, and it is also important to have someone keep an eye on you, to ensure any change in neurological status is noted. Most people recover fully within 2 weeks, but it is important to be guided by a professional before returning to sport or physical activity.
At Wellness Embodied our physiotherapists have undergone specific education on the management and progression of concussion. If you have suffered a suspected concussion, follow up with one of our physiotherapists and be guided back to full brain health.