What is a Concussion? Headaches / Head Pain
If you’ve hit your head and had to deal with a period of headaches, nausea, dizziness, and/or poor concentration, then you may have had a concussion. Headaches or head pain are common in falls, motor vehicle accident and contact sports such as rugby, hockey and football. It can also occur with a blow to your neck, face or any other part of your body that may shake your head. Concussions can lead to physical, cognitive, emotional, and/or sleep related issues.
Are Concussions a serious injury?
Although the injury itself is usually not life-threatening, the effects can be pretty serious. Therefore, it is important to seek medical help as soon as a concussion is suspected.
Here are some common signs and symptoms with a concussion:
- Cognitive: Difficulty thinking clearly, poor concentration, poor memory, feeling slow
- Physical: Headache, nausea, balance issues, dizziness, fatigue, sensitivity to light
- Emotional: irritable, sadness, emotional, anxious
- Sleep: sleep less or more than usual, difficulty falling asleep.
These signs and symptoms usually resolve within 10 days, but some concussions may lead to prolonged effects, resulting in a post-concussion syndrome (symptoms lasting for more than 1 month).
It is important to note that if any of these red flags are present, then the person should be taken to the emergency department (as these may be signs of a more serious injury).
- Worsening headache
- Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Increased confusion
- Inusual behaviour
- Will not stop crying (in children)
- Will not nurse or eat (in children)
What is the recovery for a concussion like?
If the person suspects a concussion, it is important that they first seek a medical professional. The doctor will prescribe the person with both physical and cognitive rest. This may mean time off of work or school.
During this period of rest, it is important to focus on getting quality sleep, proper nutrition and hydration, going for gentle walks, and participating in relaxing leisure activities. Things that may increase symptoms are work/school, reading, screen time (cell phone, computer or television), sports, and driving.
As symptoms start to improve, then the person can gradually reintroduce their normal tasks and gradually return to sport/work/school. There are guidelines to return to activity, especially for sports. These usually involve returning to sport in stages, and the athlete can only progress to the next stage if they are symptom free for 24 hours. If they have symptoms at with their current stage, they need to return to the previous asymptomatic stage. These return to sport guidelines can be applied to other activities like work or school.
How can a Physiotherapist / Chiropractor/ Registered Massage Therapist at Lift Clinic help with a Concussion?
Our clinicians at Lift Clinic are able to do an in-depth assessment to determine the possibility of a concussion. We would then refer you out to see your family doctor.
If you have been suffering from a concussion our clinicians at Lift Clinic can help educate you about your condition, decrease symptoms, and collaborate for a plan for your return to activity, Our clinicians can determine the best type of Physiotherapy, Massage Therapy, or Chiropractic treatment options for your wrist. These include joint mobilization, joint manipulations, soft tissue mobilization, exercises and education about the condition. They can also refer you out to the right specialists to ensure you get the help you need. Our goal at Vancouver Lift Clinic is to help you get back to doing what you need to do.
Brukner, Peter. & Khan, Karim. (2017). Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine: Injuries 5e. Sydney, [New South Wales] : McGraw-Hill Education Australia
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Facts About Concussion and Brain Injury, https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/pdfs/providers/facts_about_concussion_tbi-a.pdf