What is a Concussion?

What is a concussion?

            A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury occurring after a forceful blow to the head. The most important thing to understand about concussions are that they are functional disturbances in the  brain that are not accompanied by any observable structural changes. That's because concussions result in damage on the cellular level, which cannot be seen on any type of imaging. Instead, concussions are evaluated, categorized and treated based on the functional issues that occur after the injury. Balance deficits , vision changes, difficulty reading, and emotional changes can all occur and are all examples of functional changes.

How are concussions treated ?

            A suspected concussion should be immediately evaluated by a medical professional for signs of a more serious, potentially life threatening head injury. Once serious conditions are ruled out  a closely monitored rest period of no longer than 24-48 hours is recommended.

            The next step in concussion treatment is to identify your specific post-concussion symptoms. A concussion has the potential to cause functional changes to many different regions of the brain and can result in different groups of symptoms. Trouble with eye movement and balance are very common after a concussion. Difficulty tolerating low levels of exercise can also be present for weeks after a concussion.  Early symptom assessment is essential to creating an individualized treatment program. No concussion is exactly the same.

When will I feel better?

Fortunately, it’s estimated that about 90% or people recover from their post-concussion symptoms after 10-14 days; it’s the 10% that don’t quickly recover that are the focus of most concussion treatment. These people are described as having Persistent Post-Concussive Syndrome (PPCS). People suffering from PPCS are quickly becoming the focus of intense medical research but there is still a shortage of high quality individualized assessment and treatment of PPCS.

At Whole Body Health Physical Therapy can assess and treat symptoms of PPCS and we can help connect you with other members of the interdisciplinary team of medical providers that can help address non-physical symptoms like depression and memory issues.  

Feel free to give us a call if you're having difficulty finding appropriate medical care! We will treat what we can and we will also help you find other qualified providers.

See our concussion specialist Dr. Kluthe