Concussion: signs, symptoms and solutions
If you play or watch sport regularly, especially contact sports like rugby, you have probably heard about concussions. It can cause serious effects, but these aren’t always immediately recognisable. So how can you tell if you, or someone close to you, has a concussion, and what can you do about it?
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury caused by trauma to the head. When the brain moves suddenly inside the skull, parts of it can be bruised, and nerve tissue can stretch or even break. Damaged neurons are less able to communicate with one another, which impairs brain function – which then impairs a lot of the body’s other functions! The balance of chemicals in the brain is also disturbed, which can lead to a loss of consciousness.
The trauma can also cause secondary issues, such as inflammation, reduced blood flow, and the production of harmful free radicals, which can then lead to further issues.
What causes concussion?
Concussion is caused by a blow or bump to the head, or a violent jolt or shake of the head. Falls, car accidents and sports injuries are the main causes of concussion, although people can also get a concussion from the shockwaves of explosive blasts or from someone attempting to strangle them. Anything that causes the head to forcefully jerk forwards, backwards or to the side is a risk factor for concussion.
What are the symptoms of concussion?
Signs of a concussion usually occur very soon after the incident – within minutes or hours – but they may not be immediately noticeable, so if you or anyone around you has suffered a head trauma then it is best to be vigilant and look for the following symptoms:
- A headache that won’t go away, even with painkillers
- Nausea or vomiting
- Large bumps or bruises on the head
- Fluid or blood coming from the nose or ears
- Memory loss or confusion
- Slurred or altered speech
- Clumsiness, stumbling or loss of balance
- Ringing in the ears that won’t go away
- Mood swings or irritability
- Being dazed or stunned
- Blurred vision or visual disturbances
- Pupils that are larger than normal or different sizes
- Loss of consciousness or struggling to stay awake
- Seizures or convulsions
What should you do if you suspect concussion?
If you think someone has a concussion, they should be checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible to rule out a serious brain injury.
Once they’ve been given the all clear, getting as much rest as possible is a must. It’s best to avoid stressful situations while they’re recovering.
Painkillers are fine to help with any pain, but don’t take aspirin as that could cause bleeding. Remember, If in doubt, always contact your GP for advice before taking any medication.
Anyone recovering from a concussion should take it slow – returning to work and any activities gradually. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least a week, and contact sports should be avoided for at least three weeks.
Some people can experience after-effects or prolonged symptoms – if this is the case, contact your GP for a check-up, as you may require further medical attention.
A chiropractor can help relieve your symptoms and put a plan in place to support your recovery. Once you’ve seen a doctor, give us a call on (02) 9523 9940 and we’ll do our best to get you back on your feet (without wobbles of course!)