Concussion

Concussions are one of the possible injuries a person can experience if he or she plays contact sports. While they are mostly not life threatening, it is best to stay on the safe side and seek medical help immediately. If by chance the concussion is a serious one, bleeding around the brain may occur and can lead to further complications when left untreated.

What Is It?

A concussion happens when the brain’s normal functions are affected for a period of time due to a traumatic brain injury. Such injuries usually consist of jolting the head, a blow to the head, or when the head is violently shaken. While concussions may result in temporary loss of consciousness, often times the affected can still remain conscious; thus, a concussion can be unknowingly experienced. Examples of activities that often lead to concussion include: shaken baby syndrome, car crash, tackling (in football), domestic abuse, a trip or fall that results in a hard blow to the head, and more.

Signs And Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of a concussion are almost always preceded by some form of head injury, and may not appear immediately. Generally, symptoms of a concussion are grouped into four categories:

Thinking/remembering:

  • Inability to think clearly
  • Confusion
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Inability to remember new information

Physical:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to stimulants, such as light, noise, or smells
  • Inability with balancing
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness

Emotional/Mood:

  • Easily irritated
  • Sadness
  • Emotionally imbalanced
  • Nervousness or anxiety

Sleep:

  • Abnormal sleep schedule
  • Difficulty falling asleep

Symptoms may last for days or weeks, but it is best to seek medical care immediately to eliminate other life-threatening conditions associated with a serious concussion.

Tips For Recovery

According to The Mayo Clinic, rest is the best way to recover from a concussion. If you or someone you know is experiencing a concussion, here are some tips on recovery after you have sought medical attention:

  • Rest is very important to allow your brain to heal. Be sure to get plenty of sleep at night and rest during daytime.
  • Do not return to work, resume daily activities, or “tough it out.” You need rest!
  • Avoid further contact sports or anything that may cause a concussion until the current one is fully healed. If a second concussion happens before the first one heals, it may become a life-threatening condition.
  • Try to limit TV watching, computers and video games during recovery.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverage of any type until your doctor allows you to.
  • If your cognitive functions have been slowed due to the concussion, do not be frustrated. Take notes if you have trouble remembering things.
  • Talk to employers, coworkers, friends and family about your situation so they can also understand.
  • Stay away from extreme stimulants of all types during recovery to avoid headaches.

Prevention

Here are some tips that can be used to prevent concussions:

  • Invest in good traction. High heels, sandals or slippery shoes may put you at risk for a slip or a fall that can lead to a concussion. However, shoes with good traction can protect you from injury. Traction mats for showers are also a wise purchase.
  • Keep your space clean. Whether it is your work space, room, office, or home, less clutter can decrease the risk of falling and hitting your head.
  • Buckle your seat belt and drive safely. Since a good number of concussions are a result of automobile accidents, driving safe and buckling your seat belt every time should become a good habit. Also, never drive after the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear. In the case of professional athletes or for people who enjoy contact sports, proper gear can protect you from a concussion. There are also non-contact sports, such as horseback riding and snowboarding, which have an increased risk of concussion, so be sure to follow all safety precautions as necessary. Wear helmets or neck protectors as it applies to minimize trauma to the head.
  • Hone your balancing skills. In the case when none of the above measure can be taken as a precaution, your balance may just save your head. Certain yoga exercises may help you achieve a greater physical ability to balance and fall less often.
  • Child-proof as needed. Putting shock absorbing cushions around sharp edges, or cribs and window guards can effectively help prevent concussions in children.
  • Exercise. The stronger your muscles are, the less likely you are prone to a concussion, as your muscles can lessen impacts upon the body that can result in a concussion.

Concussions are quite common, but be sure to always seek a medical opinion nevertheless. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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