If you have a sprained ankle or a broken arm, one of the first things you’re told to do is rest the limb: Don’t exercise it or place weight or strain on it. If you fail to follow those instructions, you’ll be risking far more serious injury. When you think about it, that all makes a lot of sense. After all, if a part of your body is injured, resting it doesn’t just prevent further damage, but it also gives that part of your body the time it needs to heal and mend itself.
The same premise holds true for a concussion. A concussion is a mild type of brain injury. If your brain is injured, it makes sense to rest it. Yet few people understand the vital importance of rest in treating a concussion; nor do they understand how important it is to follow a prescribed plan of rehabilitation to help the brain heal and recover. Part of that probably has to do with the symptoms you experience. With a sprain or fracture, putting pressure on the injured area causes a lot of immediate pain, so it’s obvious that’s an activity that should be avoided. But with a concussion, the symptoms can be a lot more subtle, so it can be difficult to tell when our brain is telling us it needs time to heal.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of concussions is important for preventing serious and even life-threatening complications. And it can also help you understand when it’s time to seek medical help for post-concussion rehabilitation.
Concussions: Signs and symptoms
Concussions occur when your brain bumps against the inside of your skull, causing bruising, bleeding, swelling and other injuries. Most people think you need to hit your head on something to develop a concussion, but that’s not true. Concussions can occur from less obvious causes, like whiplash injuries. When your head snaps back and forth violently, your brain can also experience an internal “bump,” just like it does during a direct impact with an object.
When your brain experiences a bump, cells are damaged and chemical changes occur in your brain tissue, both of which can alter the way your brain functions. The symptoms of a concussion can be difficult to discern at first, but without prompt medical attention, the damage inside your brain can cause permanent impairment and, in severe cases, even death.
Some of the more common symptoms of concussion are:
- Persistent headaches
- Dizziness or vertigo (the sensation that the room is spinning around you)
- Problems with balance
- Changes in mood, including irritability and depression
- Problems focusing or concentrating
- Memory problems
- Sleep disturbances
- Changes in personality
A single mild concussion typically doesn’t cause permanent brain damage, but if you have a second concussion shortly after that first one or if you have multiple concussions over time, the effects can be much more severe.
What is post-concussion rehabilitation?
Post-concussion rehabilitation is a comprehensive plan of care designed to ensure you take the necessary steps to give your brain the rest and care it needs to fully recover following a concussion. The first step in concussion rehab is complete rest for your brain. That means no reading, no TV, no computers — just rest.
As your brain recovers, our rehab specialists will work closely with you to help you slowly return to your normal activities, ensuring you don’t overtax your brain while it’s still recovering. Plus, we’ll evaluate you along the way to make sure you’re receiving the most appropriate and most effective care and treatment every step of the way. Because the first 30 days after a concussion are the most critical for your brain’s health, getting care early is the key to complete recovery.
Take concussions seriously
The bottom line is this: Every concussion requires medical attention — even if you think it’s just a very mild one. And that means if you have any type of accident that could cause a concussion, including both direct- and indirect-impact injuries, you should be evaluated right away. At One Accord Physical Therapy, we offer comprehensive post-concussion rehabilitation to help our patients recover following concussions without experiencing serious complications. To learn more about post-concussion rehabilitation or to schedule a consultation, contact the practice today.