What is concussion?

Concussion is a traumatic brain injury resulting in a disturbance of normal brain function. Symptoms and signs of concussion vary but common symptoms include, dizziness, memory disturbance and/or balance problems. A loss of consciousness (being knocked out), surprising to some only occurs in less than 10% of concussions. Loss of consciousness therefore is not a requirement for diagnosing concussion but is a clear indication that a concussion has been sustained. 

What are the signs of a Concussion? 

Having one or more of the following symptoms may indicate a concussion. However, it is important to note, symptoms of concussion may appear seconds, minutes, hours or days after a concussion is sustained. 

· Headache 

· Dizziness 

· Fogginess 

· Visual problems 

· Drowsiness 

· Nausea or vomiting 

· Fatigue 

· Difficulty focussing and/or concentrating. 

· “Pressure in head” 

· Sensitivity to light or noise 

· Mood changes 

· Sleep disturbances 

What are the common causes of concussion? 

The most common causes of concussions are motor vehicle accidents, falls, and sports injuries. Concussions are most common in 10–24 year olds however they can occur at any age. 

What factors can put you at risk for having a longer recovery to concussion? 

– Multiple Concussions 

– Learning Disabilities 

– Migraine 

– Depression/Anxiety. 

– Memory loss before, during or after the concussion event. 

What should you do if you feel you may have a concussion? 

Your first step after sustaining a possible concussion is to visit your family GP and go through an assessment to determine if you have a concussion. If you are diagnosed with a concussion, it is important you see a physio to help understand and manage your symptoms. It is important to protect your brain following a concussion and pushing through symptoms can lead to ongoing symptoms and disability. A concussion is an injury to your brain much like a bruise on your body, pushing through and not managing symptoms is effectively the same as repetitively poking a bruise on your body. 

When can I safely return to sport? 

Returning to sport to soon following a concussion can delay your recovery and put you at further risk of suffering a second concussion. A return to sport protocol involves graded exposure back to your chosen sport. An example of a return to sport protocol may include completing light aerobic exercise followed by sport specific exercise, non-contact training drills, contact-training drills and finally returning to competitive sport. There is usually a 24-hour step-down period between each progression, where you must have no symptoms in that 24-hour period before progressing to the next step. 

Can Physiotherapists help concussion?

Yes: An appropriately trained Physiotherapist will be able to assess and provide you with a graded training, exercise and return to sport program (see above)

Cam has experience in dealing with concussion. If you have any questions get in touch.

By Peakhurst Physio

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