A concussion can happen at any moment, but for most, it occurs during intense physical activity, an accident, a fall, or a blow to the head. Concussions are paired with a range of symptoms, some appearing immediately and others taking days to surface. Physical symptoms can be very painful, while others may manifest as issues with coordination and memory. Most concussions can be treated with rest; however, in severe cases, a medical expert will need to evaluate you to determine if your symptoms have passed or if pain management treatment, such as concussion therapy, is necessary. It’s equally as important to avoid another concussion, especially in the same area, as multiple concussions increase the risk of long-term injury and damage.
The Dangers of Repeat Concussions
Active individuals such as athletes, are at a higher risk for multiple and repeat concussions than those who don’t participate in physical activity. However, individuals of all ages and backgrounds who have repeatedly been concussed are still at risk, and the long-term effects can be far worse. Repeated head trauma is known to be linked with a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE causes shifting in the brain and creates symptoms of impaired judgment, depression, aggression, memory loss, and dementia.
According to research, concussive symptoms typically resolve in 7 to 10 days for sports-related injuries or within 3 months for non-athletes. However, 33% of patients will have persisting symptoms of discomfort with 30% of them meeting post-concussion syndrome (PCS). The most critical time for prevention is the first few days immediately following your concussion. The first thing you should do is rest, as your cognitive demands can prolong recovery and worsen symptoms. Avoiding loud noises, bright lights, and technology is highly recommended for the first few days as well.
Notable signs of post-concussion syndrome include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty reading and concentrating
- Blurry vision
- Ringing ears
- Anxiety and depression
- Low energy and motivation
- Sensitivity to light and noise
When to See a Medical Professional
To decrease your chances of concussion, take preventative measures whenever you can to protect yourself from trauma. Wearing a helmet when you participate in physical activities and sports and always wearing a seatbelt in vehicles are two great and simple ways to combat concussions and blows to your head.
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