March 5, 2019

Do I have a concussion?

Do I have a concussion?

Concussion has been a popular topic for a few years now. However, by no means has it become less important to those of us who treat brain injury and individuals who have sustained one. Neuroscientists are continuing to make important discoveries related to brain development, physiology, injury mechanism, recovery, best treatments, and long-term effects of brain injury.

How do I know if I’ve really had a concussion? A concussion is a “mild” traumatic brain injury that is characterized as an ill-defined group of symptoms and signs that point to a disruption of normal brain function. Some of the more common symptoms are headache, head pressure, light and sound sensitivity, blurred or double vision, difficulty reading, “allergic” to electronic screens, dizzy, lightheaded, foggy feeling, can’t process what is going on around you, hard to think, exhausted, can’t sleep well, sleep too much, loss of appetite, nausea, can’t exercise, angry, just not yourself, emotional.

You can have one, two, or all of the symptoms listed above. You may even have some that are not mentioned. As doctors we need to know your symptoms, but we also need to be aware of the signs or biomarkers that are associated with your brain injury. There may be only a few or possibly dozens of findings that indicate specific locations of brain dysfunction. An enlarged pupil, ocular misalignment, inability to hold your eyes completely still, difficulty in moving your eyes quickly and accurately to a selected target, neuro-cognitive deficits, subtle balance issues, inability to accurately locate a touched body part, and the inability to determine true vertical without a visual reference, are all indications that you brain is not functioning as it is intended.

There is good news about concussion! Many of them will heal/rewire without any neuro-rehabilitation. These are the ones where you feel not so great for a few days, and then you just seem to slip right back into your “groove”. There is no detectable cognitive, psychological or physical loss. When you seem to be deteriorating rather than getting better, or go past the “30 day mark”, and still have issues, you have moved from concussion to post-concussion syndrome. Your brain is having trouble rewiring and recreating the normal bio-chemistry that served you so spectacularly earlier.

Are you doing all the things that give you the best chance of recovery? Did you rest and remove any offending stimulation for the first 24 to 48 hours? Did you begin to try to move about, and even do mild exercise after that? Did you ingest exogenous ketones for brain fuel for the first few days (better utilized by an injured brain than glucose)?

If you have not seen significant improvement during the first 30 days, or if you have had any symptoms after 90 days, you are a candidate for post-concussion rehabilitation at Innova Brain. Contact Leslie, our Patient Care Coordinator to set-up a complimentary consultation by phone or in person.

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