Concussions & Head Injuries
Concussions commonly occur in sports but did you know they are actually very common in non-athletes as well? Even though we don’t hear about it as often, concussions happen regularly in accidents such as motor vehicle and slip and fall. Any time there is a sudden impact to the head or a sudden jerking motion that whips the head around, a concussion is possible.
Let’s Learn about Concussions!
There has been a lot of new information coming out about concussions over the past few years and it has changed the way we talk about them. You may hear abbreviations and not know what they mean.
Common Concussion Terms
TBI stands for traumatic brain injury. This refers to a single event in which there was a concussion. It could be caused by helmet to helmet contact in football, hitting your head on a steering wheel in a car accident, or hitting your head on the ground when slipping on ice.
Another common abbreviation that we hear is CTE. CTE stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. This happens when there are multiple head traumas that lead to problems with thinking and memory, personality changes, and/or behavioral changes including aggression and depression. In some of the more high profile cases, some retired athletes have committed suicide as a result of their injuries.
Signs of Concussions
So what are the signs of a concussion and what can be done about it? Signs of a concussion can include a headache (or feelings of pressure in the head), confusion or mental fog, amnesia around the event, ringing in the ears, nausea, slurred speech, fatigue, and in some cases loss of consciousness. Only some of these conditions may be present and loss of consciousness is not a requirement for the concussion diagnosis.
What to do?
If you or someone around you has any of these symptoms following a head trauma, no matter how minor it seems, it is imperative to seek medical help. At Smart Pain Solutions we can help. We follow the “ACE” (Acute Concussion Evaluation) guidelines which were originally developed at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. We use this in conjunction with
established, evidence based standards to help patients return to their sport, school, work or daily activities.
If you feel you are someone you know may be dealing with a concussion and do not know where to turn, an initial evaluation at one of our offices would be a good start.
Question: Following a traumatic head injury, a chiropractor will likely ask about the way the injury occurred and the symptoms that follow such as mental fog, amnesia, headaches, slurred speech, fatigue, etc.
Assess: A concussion evaluation will be used to determine a baseline. Often if the patient is part of a sports program they may already have a pre-concussion baseline, which will help determine the needs of the patient.
Plan: A concussion plan is often more passive than it is active. Reduction of stimulus and activity play an important role in a patient’s recovery.
Execute: While following through, slow steady progress is important. If not, a neurologist should be brought in relatively quickly.