You have heard the term, know the stories, heard the warnings and seen them occur on the sporting field, but what actually is a concussion?
Concussions are defined as a brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head and/or body. This does not mean you need to lose consciousness for a concussion to occur. The initial injury itself is to the brain and is due to the brain being pushed against the inside of the skull, some describe it as a bruising of the brain due to the impact. As well as the impact force, different speeds in which the different parts of the brain move can stretch and tear tissue due to the shearing force which can also injure the nerve tissue.
This impact and tearing of the brain tissue lead to symptoms and signs. Symptoms and signs can include:
- Headaches Confusion
- Dizziness Blurry vision (change in vision)
- Memory Loss Lack of Coordination
- Altered Sensation of body Nausea
- Vomiting Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)
- Sleepiness Excessive Fatigue
- Bleeding on the brain Altered heart rate
These can occur for a week, up to 12 weeks and possibly longer depending on the severity of the injury. There are a lot of other symptoms such as reaction times, which without pretesting a person would be unsure if it is still affected.
Concussions do not just happen on the football field or netball court. Most concussions occur from rapid movement of the head, including whiplash, or from a fall. They are a serious condition, but do not need to be scary when informed, treated and managed well with help of your doctor and allied health practitioner.
Follow along the next blog to see what to do within the first 24 hours, the first week and how an osteopath can help treatment.