Did you know that more than 3 million people suffer from concussions every year in the United States? These are mainly due to recreation- or sports-related injuries.
As common as they are – and even though they’re considered relatively mild – concussions should never be taken lightly. Left untreated, concussions can lead to long-term complications, such as chronic headaches, vertigo, memory problems and, rarely, brain damage or even death.
As with any potentially serious condition, knowing more about concussions can greatly help a person recognize and attribute their symptoms and determine when it is necessary to seek prompt intervention.
In this blog, we’ve outlined the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of a concussion to give you a better idea about what to do and what to expect in the event that you sustain one.
A concussion can be caused by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head, neck, or upper body. The blow causes the brain to slide back and forth forcefully against the skull’s inner walls. This often occurs as a result of collisions and falls, which are common in contact sports like hockey and football. However, a concussion can also occur as a result of a whiplash injury or being in a car crash, or a blast injury, such as in a war zone.
Signs and symptoms of the concussion may not always show up immediately after the blow. These can be subtle and last for days, weeks, months, or even longer.
Common symptoms of a concussion, include the following:
- Headache (most common symptom)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Double or blurry vision
- Ringing in ears
- Sleep disturbance
- Sensitivity to noise or light
- Trouble concentrating and understanding
Seek emergency care if you experience some of the following symptoms after a head injury:
- Worsening headache
- Nausea and repeated vomiting
- Loss of consciousness (lasting longer than 30 seconds)
- Persistent or recurrent dizziness
- Confusion or disorientation
- Slurred speech
- Blood draining from the nose or ears
- Vision disturbances
Diagnosis and Treatment
To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor will review your medical history, evaluate your symptoms, and conduct a neurological exam, which includes checking your balance, reflexes, coordination, vision, hearing, reflexes, strength, and sensation.
Your doctor may also order imaging tests, such as cranial computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to identify changes in your brain. Additionally, your doctor may conduct a cognitive test to evaluate your concentration and ability to recall information.
After the assessment, your doctor may then develop a treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms and get you back to your normal activities. Your treatment plan may include the following:
- Physical and mental rest – To recover faster from a concussion, it is imperative that you take time off from work or skip your usual activities, especially those that involve physical and mental exertion.
Usually, after a period of rest, doctors advise patients to gradually increase their daily activities. Your doctor will tell you when it’s safe for you to get back to strenuous physical activities.
- Medications – Your doctor may prescribe acetaminophen to help control post-traumatic headaches. You’re not supposed to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, as these can increase your risk for bleeding.
- Balance activities – Your doctor may recommend that you work with a rehabilitation specialist, who can teach you safe activities and exercises to help you restore your strength, flexibility, and balance.
Concussion Treatment near Me in Newark, Wilmington, Middletown, Smyrna, or Dover, DE
At Delaware Back Pain & Sports Rehabilitation Centers, our dynamic, multispecialty team includes a brain injury-certified physician – Dr. Anne Mack – who has dedicated her career to helping patients with closed-head injuries, including concussions, safely recover and get back to doing the things that matter to them quickly.
If you or a loved one suffered a concussion, time is of the essence. Timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial for a fast recovery and preventing potentially serious complications. So make an appointment with Dr. Mack today. Call our facility near you or fill out our appointment request form.