Concussion: How long does it take to recover?
A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), caused by the rapid movement of the head, with or without head impact, resulting in cellular, chemical, and physiological changes to brain function. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 1.8–3.6 million concussions diagnosed per year. In fact, in 2017 Dr. Phil Veliz and his colleagues shared that 22% of high school seniors reported having a concussion.
There are many situations that can cause a concussion. Some are more obvious such as sports with head impacts, like boxing, football, hockey, and wrestling. While others are not as obvious, such as soccer, cheerleading, even car accidents and falls. Sadly, even though concussions are quite common, they could still be difficult to diagnose because they aren’t seen in imaging tests like CAT scans or MRIs, and symptoms are not always present right away. This presents a challenge to many doctors that rely on symptoms and signs for diagnosis.
Symptoms from brain injuries can affect ANY brain function and more commonly include but are not limited to:
- Behavioral changes
- Cognitive Impairment
- Delayed responses
- Impaired vision
- Light/Sound sensitivity
- Memory loss
- Neck Pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Slurred speech
Concussions, although considered a “mild” traumatic brain injury (mTBI), range in severity, from mild to severe, with research suggesting that repetitive, untreated concussions can potentially lead to serious problems in the future, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and a variety of other brain disorders. While the word “mild” is presumed to mean little danger, any concussion can render a person debilitated, unable to function, and destroy an individual’s quality of life.
According to research, the road to recovery from a concussion varies from person-to-person. Many concussion symptoms tend to resolve on their own within 7 to 10 days. However, that doesn’t mean that the brain has healed properly (much like how a cut will stop bleeding, the symptom, and then a scab and eventually a scar forms. There are some research papers reporting that concussion symptoms can last as long as several years in 1 in 5 cases, or even indefinitely. This is termed PCS, or post-concussion syndrome. Luckily, Plasticity® Centers successfully treats, clients with PCS symptoms… even years after their injury originally occurred.
Fortunately, there are tips to help with the recovery time, if you sustain a concussion. Here are a few:
1. Visit a Doctor
Concussions can lead to serious risks, and symptoms need to be evaluated by a doctor trained in brain injuries, as soon as possible. At Plasticity® Centers, the Concussion Symptoms Recovery Calculator helps doctors and clients see how the Plasticity® Recovery Program, a rehabilitation program for neurological challenges can help to decrease symptoms in 5 days.
2. Rest Up
Rest is extremely important for your brain to heal. Right after a head injury, the brain is consuming massive amounts of energy to restore normal function. By avoiding physical activity, especially contact sports, stimulating activities, like school and work, and consistently getting good quality sleep, you will help your brain recover as quickly as possible. You should not return to these activities for 24–72 hours, or until your doctor tells you that it is safe to do so.
3. Embrace a Healthier Lifestyle
A healthy diet and drinking lots of water can help bring nutrients back to the brain, as well as avoiding alcohol. Some research has demonstrated that essential fatty acids (found in fish, avocados, and other healthy foods) are important for recovery. Additionally, you should ask your doctor if magnesium and a multivitamin is going to help your recovery.
Don’t know your recommended daily water intake? Click here to find out how much water you should be drinking based on your age and gender.
4. Begin Rehabilitation
Don’t forget, concussions are common, but can lead to serious risks in the long run. Always remember to make an appointment with a doctor if you believe you have a concussion or show signs of a concussion. The correct diagnosis and treatment plan can make all the difference and here at Plasticity® Centers, we use innovative technology to help our patients. Click here if you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you.