Hollie Cunningham - July 28, 2020
Concussions are a hot topic now-a-days especially in sports. So what exactly are concussions, why is it important to treat concussions, and when should you seek additional help from a physical therapist?
What are concussions?
Concussions (now more commonly understood as mild traumatic brain injuries or mTBIs) are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or even a hit to the body, that causes the brain to move quickly back and forth.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
Symptoms of a concussion include headaches, sensitivity to light, nausea/vomiting, dizziness, personality changes like aggression, difficulty concentrating, neck pain, difficulty with memory, and more.
Things like physical activity, trying to use technology, driving, even reading can be difficult and worsen symptoms.
Are concussions common?
Concussions are actually very common. Between 1.7 and 3 million concussions happen every year due to sports and recreation.
That's not all! Even more occur from traumatic events like car accidents! About 50 percent of all concussions go unreported, which means that likely more than 50 percent go untreated.
Concussions typically go unreported in sports because athletes don’t want to stop playing but even if you're not an athlete the most common concussion comes from a fall.
What can I do if I suspect I have suffered a concussion and how long is recovery?
On average, the brain takes about 7 days to recover with adequate treatment. However, the worse the brain injury, the longer it takes to recover. Without any treatment at all, any concussion will take longer to recover.
Initially after a concussion, you’ll want to rest. This means getting adequate sleep (7-10 hours at night) and short naps during the day (30 minutes).
Minimizing stimulation is important as it allows the brain to rest and recover. This means reducing screen time on your phone/tv/computer, reading, listening to loud music, and minimizing rigorous activity.
Once your symptoms have improved/resolved, slowly integrating those activities back while keeping your symptoms minimal will help your brain re-acclimate. This progression will be tolerable for many concussions. However, depending on the severity of the symptoms and type of symptoms, the symptoms won’t resolve on their own. This is the best time to seek more help.
If you’ve had a concussion, especially one with noticeable symptoms for long periods of time afterwards, you know how greatly it can impact your daily life. It is important to know that you do not have to just live with these symptoms and hope they go away. Physical therapy after a concussion (even months later) can help you return to your normal life faster. When looking for a physical therapist to help you, it is best to find a therapist who specializes in concussion rehab. We can use our training and skill set to help your brain recover and return you to the activities you love.