A concussion can result in the loss of normal brain function temporarily. It can result in a complete loss of consciousness, acute headaches, dizziness, confusion, and nausea. In most of the cases, there are no external signs of head trauma. Latest research shows that people, who play contact sports have a 19% chance of suffering a concussion in a year. Sometimes, it is difficult for those with concussions to remember the course of events that led up to their injury. You will often notice EMTs and paramedics asking the injured athletes if they remember their own name, current location, date, month and year immediately after a head injury. Although this method is not foolproof, it is an ingenious way of ruling out sports-related concussions.
How common is mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions?
Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) that result from a sudden jolt to the brain. According to the experts, not all concussions are same, but there is nothing called a “minor brain concussion.” Treating every mTBI with equal importance is imperative. While a single concussion is unlikely to cause permanent brain damage, one mTBI increases the chances of TBIs in the future. It is true especially in the cases of young adults, children, the elderly and professional sportspersons. The next concussion does not have to be strong to cause permanent damage, disability or death.
According to the CDC, over 320,000 people suffer from concussions every year due to sports-related injuries. Among college football players, almost 34% have experienced one concussion, and around 20% have experienced multiple concussions. Research shows that mild TBIs are as typical as 4 to 20% for high school and college football players in just one season. A recent study from McGill University has shown that close to 60% soccer players in college report various symptoms of a concussion during the game season. Additionally, athletes, who have experienced one concussion, are 4 to 6 times more likely to suffer a second one soon.
Do you have a concussion?
The signs of Mild traumatic brain injuries might not be as pronounced as TBIs from automobile accidents and workplace mishaps. Concussions can have subtle signs, and they can bring about small changes that the patient and his close family members can observe. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms that point towards a concussion –
- The inability to maintain a train of thought
People suffering from an mTBI often find it difficult to focus and hold a stream of thought. Regular tasks that involve decision making including driving and cooking can become challenging after incurring a concussion.
- The inability to complete goal-oriented movements
Since it is almost impossible to preserve a coherent train of thought, people might find it difficult to achieve a goal-oriented task. For professional sportspersons, it might become tricky to perform satisfactorily on the field.
- An increase in distractibility and irritability
A person might find it challenging to hold his or her attention for long periods. He or she might become easily distracted by factors in his or her immediate environment.
These are the fundamental features of the confusion that arises from a concussion. There are a few classic symptoms of mTBI that you should be aware of. They include –
- Memory loss
- Acute headaches
- Improper balance
- Vision disturbances
- Impaired coordination
- Heightened light sensitivity
- Increased sensitivity to light
If you experience any of these symptoms following a head injury, you should consult a brain expert or a concussion expert immediately. Neurosurgeons and neurologists are usually the first choices of any patient and their family members. However, these medical professionals deal with the physiological changes following head injuries. Concussions rarely have any structural impact on the brain. As a result, even the latest imaging techniques fail to decipher the precise nature and cause of an mTBI.
What determines the outcome of an mTBI?
According to Chinese traditional medicine, there is a link between the emotional status of a patient and his or her symptoms following a concussion. Research shows that people, who tend to be regularly stressed and anxious have higher chances of experiencing a concussion following a head injury as compared to those who embrace relaxation and happiness. Therefore, if you have existing psychological challenges like depression, anxiety disorder or stress disorder, you have a high probability of incurring an mTBI following a head injury.
Why should you never go on bed rest following a concussion?
According to the leading experts of traumatic brain injury, a person can reduce the dangers by leading a healthier and happier life. An active lifestyle that encourages the dissipation of stress through regular exercising and socializing might lessen the chance of a concussion. In a fast life where people have to drive and work with heavy machinery, it is impossible to prevent head injuries. Every person has experienced a severe blow to the head at least once in their lifetime – it might have been a rogue soccer ball, the edge of a desk or the steering wheel. The only way to alleviate the risks is by leading an emotionally healthier life.
Therefore, the management and treatment of concussion focus heavily on emotional healing and psychological well-being of a patient. In contrary to widespread practice, brain experts now encourage patients to participate in regular activities and carry on with work or study immediately after the first phase of physical discomfort passes. Isolating a person and putting him or her on strict bed rest might be counterintuitive for their condition. Complete seclusion from social interactions and inactivity can exacerbate the headaches, increase the sadness and propel the person towards depressive tendencies. Research shows, people, who have gone back to their lives immediately after recovering from nausea and pain recover faster than those embracing a sedentary life following a concussion.
Children, teenagers, and young adults especially benefit from going back to their active lifestyle after a mild traumatic brain injury. If you or your loved one have experienced these symptoms in the recent past after a brain injury, you should speak with a concussion expert immediately to learn more about management of the physiological traits and find the path towards recovery.