A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a sudden direct blow to the head or after a whiplash which causes the head to shake quickly back and forth.
Concussion alters the mental status as well as the normal functioning of the brain.
Such a direct blow to the head often causes a sensation of 'ringing bells' in ears or causes unconsciousness in the affected. Depending upon the concussion’s severity, the affected person can have headaches, loss of concentration, and memory issues.
Concussion violently shakes the brain in such a way that it causes the brain to twist and bounce within the skull. This results in stretching of brain cells along with certain chemical changes which ultimately damages brain cells.
Concussions are fairly common after car accidents and sudden or violent falls.
However, athletes involved in contact sports such as boxing, football and soccer are at a higher risk of concussion.
According to a research, 3.8 million athletes are reported to get concussive injuries in the USA every year.
Usually, people completely recover from a concussion in a couple of hours, reason why its classified as mild. However at times, concussion severity may persist for a longer time.
At times, symptoms of concussion go unnoticed which may make you susceptible to a second impact. The second episode increases the concussion’s severity and is potentially life threatening.
The second episode of concussion occurs when a person suffers from a second time brain trauma while the brain is still recovering from the first impact. This is most prevalent in young people, especially athletes, who under the influence of adrenaline plus their tendency to push through an injury, brush off the symptoms.
One reason for this is ignoring concussion management guidelines and not seeking any help. On other occasions, symptoms of a concussion do not begin to show until the night or until after a few days. This is why understanding concussion severity and its sign is very important for quick recovery.
Based on concussion severity, symptoms vary from person to person. It is also not necessary that you experience unconsciousness always. Common symptoms of a concussive injury include:
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
People might also feel light or noise sensitivity and face sleep deprivation. Clumsiness, behavioral, and personality changes are also reported to be symptomatic to a concussion. These are the short term symptoms associated with concussions.
On the other hand, there are several long term complications of concussions, such as dizziness and permanent brain injuries. Therefore, it is always recommended to see a doctor immediately after an accident or blow to the head. Your doctor will diagnose the extent of concussion severity and advise you to follow the concussion management guidelines accordingly.
During the visit to the doctor, expect to be asked questions regarding how the injury occurred. This is most likely to be followed by physical examination of the symptoms you face. After analyzing the initial symptoms of the injury, your doctor will analyze advise you to undergo a cognitive and neurological examination.
Cognitive test evaluates your brain functioning and processing. A baseline test to analyse your memory and concentration skills is usually performed. Whereas, neurological exam is intended to check if your hearing, vision, and sensing abilities are normal or not. The neurological examination also assess the extent of brain injury.
In case of concussion severity such as seizures, prolonged headaches, and continuous vomiting, imaging tests are carried out. These tests reveal internal bleeding, injury, or distortion in brain size and structure if any.
Since concussions are mild traumatic injuries, quick recovery from them is possible if they are managed efficiently.
Though identifying concussion is tricky, but managing concussion is a must. If you fail to follow up on your health care provider's advice, you will land yourself in chaos. Concussion, if left untreated, can result in permanent brain disability.
Worry not, following these concussion management guidelines tips will help you manage concussion symptoms along with providing a quick recovery.
Take A Break
The most important step of concussion management guideline is to take a break from everything. This is like your free break card. Use it to your fullest. Concussion is basically an injury of the brain and it demands some time to heal.
Taking rest will only help the brain to come back to normal functioning. This is especially true if you are an athlete. Take a break to avoid a second impact and possibly life endangering situation.
You also need to keep yourself away from activities that overstimulate your brain, such as reading, texting, watching TV, or using the computer. These activities can worsen your symptoms and can be a hurdle in your recovery.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
Our brain recovers during sleep. And since concussion is an injury of the brain, it's important to ensure it recovers fully, and for that, sleep happens to be the best remedy! Sleeping is not recommended right after a head injury or a concussion though Sleeping immediately after the concussion can worsen the symptoms.
But once your doctor has diagnosed the extent of the injury, provided you the required medication and guidelines, try getting a good sleep sleep. You can even take short naps of 30-60 minutes. However ensure that you do not take too many such that it interferes with the ability of sleeping at night.
Eat More Proteins
A study conducted on concussion management in 2015 suggests that branched-chain amino acids increase cognitive ability of your brain and, therefore, can help recover from a concussion. With maintaining a well-balanced diet, make sure you do not miss food rich in branched-chain amino acids to avoid concussion severity. These include fish, beans, and meat.
Reduce Your Screen Time
Concussions make you sensitive to bright light, and spending time on screen can deteriorate your cognitive abilities and brain functioning. The best solution is to give some rest to your brain from all types of mental activities and let it restore. If your job demands an excessive screen time, it's best to ask for a reasonable accommodation at work, perhaps even a 3-4 day break from work. then you need to tell your employer about your mental state and take a break from your work.
Likewise, playing video games, scrolling through social media, and watching movies need to be shunned until your doctor's recommendation.
Going back to a strenuous routine right after recovery can possibly cause a second episode of concussion, which could be worse than the first one. It is recommended to go back to your work gradually.
Start working for 3 hours initially, then 4 hours, and so on. Reduce the overall stress, and do not forget to follow your doctor's advice. Avoiding airplane flights, video games, heavy cleaning and alcohol, will keep your mental state normal.
A concussion can be traumatizing. It urges you to give up your work routine, which is not easy. But, ignoring concussion just because you had responsibilities and because there was no visible injury is not a wise move either. Concussions affect your physiological functioning that cause hindrances in even the smallest of daily life activities.
Prioritize your health today, follow the concussion management guidelines and seek medical advice whenever a need arises and have a secure tomorrow.