How Do I Check for a Concussion?
Our vehicles offer us a great source of convenience and a way to get to our destinations with ease. Unfortunately, as many of us have experienced, the possibility of a car accident is one downside that can come along with time on the road. In these situations, concussions are quite common. In fact, the CDC reported that motor vehicle crashes were amongst the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries, as they are associated with 20.4% of the diagnoses.
The symptoms of concussions that people experience after a car accident might be so minor that they do not seek treatment, but that does not mean that damage is not present. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the most common symptoms that concussed people suffer with after a car crash so that you can be prepared to address the underlying issue if necessary.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or a TBI, that is caused by a blow to the head or traumatic hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Sudden movements can cause the brain to move around in the skull, which creates chemical changes in the brain and can damage and tear the brain cells and even lead to bleeding of the nerve fibers. If you have been in a car accident and are worried that you might have sustained a concussion, the best step is to contact a medical professional like the ones at ProFysio for further guidance. In the meantime, there are some telltale signs that can signify that you’ve suffered a concussion. Some of these signs include:
- Loss of consciousness
This is one of the more conspicuous signs that you have suffered a concussion. An individual’s head might forcefully hit one of the structures in the car or outside of it, leading to loss of consciousness. This can be minor and often only lasts for a few seconds. However, loss of consciousness does not always occur.
- Nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light
Feelings of nausea and dizziness are quite common with concussions. Some patients experience short-term nausea, while others experience persistent nausea. These feelings are typically caused by brain dysfunction and autonomic nervous system dysfunction.
- Confusion and amnesia
It is common for concussions and head injuries to cause memory loss about the event, or even recurring memory loss after injury. Sever memory loss is rare, but possible. This is often referred to as “post-traumatic amnesia” and it can be a normal part of the healing process. However, memory tends to e the slowest part of the conscious mind to recover from an injury, and it can take weeks or months before those who have suffered a head injury are able to store new memories the way they could before.
- Stars or ringing in the ears
Seeing stars after hitting one’s head is portrayed in many of our favorite cartoons, but for many concussion patients, this depiction is not far from reality. Individuals who are hit on the head suffer from shaking of the occipital lobe. When this happens, the brain cells send out electrical pulses, which the brain interprets as flashes of light that appear similarly to stars.
- Mood changes
Because concussions can cause damage to the area of the brain that controls emotion and behavior, difficulty controlling emotions and mood swings are common after a concussion. Patients tend to feel irritable, depressed, moody, or might have a short fuse after a concussion.
- Disrupted sleep patterns
Some patients who suffer from concussions also suffer from hypersomnia or insomnia, which cause them to sleep more than they normally would or cause them to be extra drowsy after a head injury. These disruptions can be caused by subcortical concussion damage due to issues with the hypothalamus.
- Long-term headaches
Headaches that occur after a concussion feel distinctly different from average headaches, and are referred to as post-traumatic headaches. The most common type of headache that patients experience after a concussion is called a cervicogenic and autonomic nervous system (ANS) headache, and it tends to be associated with neck tension and neck pain.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Concussions?
At ProFysio, we use our gentle yet effective physical therapy services to help patients overcome the side effects of a concussion. We will help you avoid burdening the brain and nervous system while you gradually increase activity levels. This will allow you to return to your regular routine, whether that includes sport activities, working out, or simply being an active individual, in the most efficient and safest way we can. We will do this while giving the brain sufficient time and space to heal, and give you the tools to achieve the proper amount of rest throughout your recovery.
If you would like to learn more about our concussion services or other services, call us at (732) 812-5200 or contact us online.