A concussion is an injury to the brain, generally caused by a blow to the head. It should not be confused with a brain contusion, which describes bruising and bleeding of the brain caused by localized trauma. The brain is a soft and delicate organ, and any trauma can be dangerous. Though medical professionals may classify concussions as a mild brain injury because concussions are not usually life-threatening, the reciprocal effects of a concussion can be very serious. Concussions should be treated immediately after injury.
Falls are the most common cause of concussions, though they can also be caused by violent shaking of the head or sudden acceleration such as is experienced in vehicle crashes. Participating in sports that are high-risk causes a large number of concussions. Sports like American football, rugby, lacrosse, wrestling, ice hockey, volleyball, and soccer fall under this category.
Female athletes report more concussions than men, as do people younger than 25 and older than 75 years old. Nearly half a million visits to the emergency room for a concussion are children younger than 15 years of age. Those who have previously had a concussion or another kind of head injury are more likely to experience another. The brain remains tender after concussion-causing trauma, putting previous sufferers at risk for further concussion.
Take preventative measures to protect yourself from getting concussions. Wear a seatbelt while in the car, and wear appropriate protective gear during athletic or other strenuous physical activities. Bike helmets should be worn whenever biking and should be well maintained and the correct size.
Symptoms of Concussion
The effects of a concussion are generally temporary. Symptoms may not manifest immediately, though they can last for days or even weeks. Damage caused by concussion manifests itself in a variety of ways, and symptoms vary in severity. The damage affects brain function, leading to headaches and vertigo. Brain confusion and difficulty concentrating are also common. Other symptoms include nausea, fatigue, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light and sound, and disturbed sleep.
Severe cases can yield amnesia or even seizures. See a healthcare provider immediately after a head injury to ensure you do not have any bleeding of or around the brain, which can be fatal. Dilated pupils or one pupil looking larger than the other are further indications that the damage is pronounced.
After responding quickly to determine whether or not you have a concussion, the key to recovery is rest, both physical and mental. Allow your brain to recover by dispensing with rigorous mental strain as your brain heals. Save the challenging math homework or theoretical physics discussion groups for after recovery. While symptoms persist, do not return to vigorous or athletic activity, especially not to a situation where the initial injury could be repeated.
Our professionals at Utah Sports and Wellness can suggest a schedule of gradually increased activity when your brain is ready for it. We will have you start with moderate regular activity, like going to the store. Stages of light, then moderate, then heavy aerobic exercise will follow. Athletes can continue to work with our chiropractors to get them ready to return to full-contact practice and then competition levels.
If you have experienced a head injury, whether or not you think you have a concussion, reach out to us at Utah Sports and Wellness in Millcreek, Utah. Our licensed chiropractors are available to assist in the diagnosis and care of concussion and the resulting symptoms. We can help you hold your head high again, free from pain and other concussion symptoms. Act promptly to ensure the best recovery.