People often associate ‘concussions’ with a hit to the head that knocks someone out for a short time. If you have kids or engage in certain sports or recreational activities, you may have a more in-depth understanding about concussions. Still, it can be hard to know at the time of an injury how seriously to take the risk of a concussion.

Here are 5 facts you should know about concussions.

1. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. A concussion occurs when the brain hits the hard, rough inner surface of the skull as the result of physical injury. This can cause tears or fissures in brain tissue among other types of damage. A traumatic brain injury—even a mild one–may turn out to be very problematic. As a type of traumatic brain injury, a concussion is not the same thing as a bump on the head.

2. A concussion doesn’t necessarily involve loss of consciousness or hitting the head. Although people who suffer a concussion may black out or hit their head, this isn’t always the
case. The majority of individuals who suffer a concussion will not lose consciousness. It is also very common for individuals to have a whiplash injury that causes a concussion as a result of car accident or sports injury. It’s very important to monitor anyone who suffers a head injury closely. Don’t assume everything’s fine just because the individual can get up, walk around, or even carry on a conversation right away.

3. Concussions involve a variety of symptoms. Every traumatic brain injury is different, and symptoms of a concussion may vary. Sometimes symptoms affecting the individual’s thinking are obvious. In other cases, there may be a change in appearance, or in how the person moves. Dizziness, difficulty with balance, problems with word finding, neck pain, fatigue, and mood changes may indicate a concussion. Headaches, blurry vision, brain fog, and poor concentrations are also very common symptoms. Symptoms of a concussion can occur hours, days, weeks or even months or years after the injury. Foggy thinking, depression, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, or problems with word finding are some of the long term or ongoing symptoms of traumatic brain injury.

4. Immediate medical care is a must for anyone suffering a concussion. Anytime a concussion is suspected, the individual needs immediate medical care. Typically the fastest way to receive the care that is necessary is to visit an emergency room. There are serious risks involved in concussions, including the possibility of brain swelling. Never take a ‘wait and see’ approach when it comes to the possibility of traumatic brain injury.

It is estimated that up to 50% of concussions are not diagnosed in the emergency room. Don’t accept the diagnosis if you have symptoms suggestive of a concussion even if it isn’t diagnosed in the emergency room. The goal of the emergency room is to detect an immediate life changing injury that requires immediate attention at the hospital. Concussions do require immediate attention to best help recovery and that is done through visiting a qualified provider with experience managing concussions.

5. Post-Concussion Syndrome is a serious, debilitating condition. Post-Concussion Syndrome is a potential problem than can arise for concussion sufferers. It is estimated that up to 50% of individuals will develop post-concussion syndrome even though historically it was as low as 10-15% of individuals.

Post-Concussion Syndrome is when concussion symptoms persists over a month. Individuals may have difficulties with thinking and struggle with emotional distress as well as physical symptoms. Instead of recovering over time, symptoms may worsen or evolve.

What Type of Care To Look For The vast majority of patients, who seek prompt medical care for concussions, enjoy a full, fairly swift recovery. But for those who don’t, functional neurology is an alternative type of health care that may help.

Functional Neurology practitioner utilizes a holistic approach to health care that considers the patient as a whole. A comprehensive approach is particularly well suited for traumatic brain injury patients who are struggling with a wide variety of symptoms, or particularly stubborn ones.

A comprehensive approach should evaluate body, brain, and mind health. If any of these 3 are missed then it reduces the likelihood of achieving the highest level of recovery.

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