Over the past few years there has been an increasing interest in the topic of concussions. We have seen a major lawsuit with the NFL, new return to play guidelines, and now a movie starring Will Smith. Concussions occur as a result of various things such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, and sports. The majority of those who suffer a concussion will return to their normal level of functioning in a week or two – but what about the ones that don’t?
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Research shows 15-20% of individuals will have signs and symptoms that persist beyond the 3 week mark. Additionally, research reveals the extent of the injury is not a good predictor of whether or not you will have post-concussive symptoms. The symptoms that are commonly seen are headache, fatigue, balance, and cognitive difficulties.
As a result, it’s very important to be checked out and evaluated after a concussion, even if you believe it is a minor knock. A comprehensive evaluation would evaluate not only the symptoms that are present, but for chemical disturbances that decrease your body’s ability to heal. This would include testing balance, visual function, blood work, cervical biomechanics, and cognitive processing. The ability of each system to function optimally is very important in recovery.
If you are in the majority experiencing a normal recovery it is still important to be evaluated. The evaluation will let you know where you are at following a concussion, and will be give you a marker of how much improvement you make. This will act as a guide to let you know that you are recovering appropriately.
Dean, Philip J. A., Darragh O’Neill, and Annette Sterr. ‘Post-Concussion Syndrome: Prevalence After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury In Comparison With A Sample Without Head Injury’. Brain Inj 26.1 (2012): 14-26. Web.
Ellis, Michael J., John J. Leddy, and Barry Willer. ‘Physiological, Vestibulo-Ocular And Cervicogenic Post-Concussion Disorders: An Evidence-Based Classification System With Directions For Treatment’. Brain Injury 29.2 (2015): 238-248. Web.