Concussions have received a lot of attention from the media and even blockbuster movies in recent years, but, what is a concussion and why do they happen?
Although there are multiple activities that can lead to a concussion, in this blog post we will focus on concussions that are sports-related.
The latest consensus from Berlin on sports-induced concussions define a sport-related concussion as a:
“traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces […] may be from a direct blow to the head, neck face […] resulting in rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously” (McCrory et al. 2017 p2. )
Neurological functions, such as slowed mental processing, concentration deficits, balance dysfunction, memory loss and an array of other symptoms, can be affected when a person suffers from a concussion. These typically resolve within 30 days after a concussion, although it may be faster in some individuals.
Most people think that if they did not lose consciousness after impact, they did not suffer from a concussion. The reality is, you do NOT have to lose consciousness to suffer from a concussion. In fact, only 6-10% of concussion patients lose consciousness.
Symptoms Of A Concussion
So what happens when you sustain a concussion? What can you expect? No two concussions are alike. However, there are common signs and symptoms that happen after such an injury:
- Nausea and/or Vomiting
- Phonosensitivity (noise sensitivity)
- Photosensitivity (light sensitivity)
- Sleep disruption
- Mental fog
- Memory difficulties
- Blurred vision
- Balance impairment
How To Treat A Concussion
What happens if your concussion doesn’t resolve spontaneously, and you end up suffering from prolonged symptoms? Is it treatable?
A physiotherapist who specializes in concussion management can help identify and objectively measure the signs and symptoms of a concussion. By completing a thorough assessment, they can tailor treatment according to each case and individual.
The most important thing to do after suffering a concussion is to make sure you have a balance between rest and activity. The old days of prescribing complete rest in a dark room are gone. A trained health professional will help you manage your concussion and ease your return to normal life.
Suffering from a concussion can make you feel alone and depressed. Concussions have accurately been dubbed as an invisible illness. It is very hard for others to see the signs of a concussion. Know that you are not alone and that there are trained health professionals, such as a physiotherapist, who can help you on your journey to recovery.
Vika Gorodetsky, Registered Physiotherapist
Doctor of Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne
Bachelor of Kinesiology Interdisciplinary Studies, University of British Columbia
PLAZA OF NATIONS – B103-750 Pacific Blvd, Vancouver BC, V6B 5E7
McCrory, P., Meeuwisse, W., Dvorak, J., Aubry, M., Bailes, J., Broglio, S., … & Davis, G. A. (2017). Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 5th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016. Br J Sports Med, bjsports-2017.