Concussion and what you need to know
If you or your child have been diagnosed with a concussion, it is important to educate yourself
regarding the signs, symptoms and consequences of a concussive injury. This diagnosis may even come as a surprise to you or your loved ones for a number of reasons. Please read through the following information and if you have additional questions, contact your local Performance Brain Health center.
1. Even relatively minor impact or force injuries lead to the neurochemical changes that are the essence of concussions. A loss of consciousness (LOC) is not necessary to sustain a concussion and concussive injuries occur more often without a loss of consciousness.
2. To accurately detect a concussion, specific, sensitive, and scientifically sophisticated evidence based techniques are needed. Performance Brain Health is able to detect concussions that are often undetected by those without specific expertise in concussions, or the assessment instruments and technologies to appropriately diagnose them. To accurately detect a concussion, every area of brain function must be measured. This means tools to evaluate all functional brain
systems, from gait, posture, vision and balance, to cognition and emotion must be utilized.
3. Many people and even professionals do not understand that concussions ARE NOT tissue, or brain structural injuries, but are in fact neurochemical injuries. The concussive injury (either impact, force, or both) leads to significant neurochemical changes that lead to the symptoms of the concussion.
4. Concussions left untreated will lead to significant brain health issues later. A concussion is a serious injury and in extreme cases may lead to a medical emergency. Sustaining a subsequent head injury before complete healing puts the injured individual at great risk. In Colorado, specific laws are in place to prevent subsequent concussive injuries to children in sporting activities. These laws MUST be followed by your child’s school or sports club, and medical professionals.
5. Current scientific literature has linked other brain health conditions with untreated concussions. Behavioral problems and changes, anger or irritability, learning and/or attention problems, anxiety, depression, what appears to be some mental illness, alcoholism or other addictions can be the outcome of an untreated concussion. Musculoskeletal injuries, vision and balance problems, as well as chronic headaches and vertigo are also signs and symptoms of
untreated concussion. It is important to treat a concussion to fully recover from the injury.
6. Do I need to get a CAT scan or MRI? Computerized axial tomography (CAT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to detect structural abnormalities in the brain. They can be useful in diagnosing subdural hematoma or “brain bleeds” but will not detect neurochemical injuries. Brain bleeds are medical emergencies and must be addressed immediately, however, concussions most often occur without any abnormalities present on an MRI or CAT scan.
7. Concussive injuries are cumulative. Every untreated injury makes you or your child more vulnerable to future injuries and may amplify symptoms of previous concussion. There is no scientifically valid number of concussions one must sustain before he or she should be permanently removed from sporting activities, but with every untreated concussion,
risk factors for more severe injury dramatically increase.
8. Managing concussion or waiting for the symptoms to disappear does not result in recovery. It is possible for overt or noticeable symptoms to resolve but, subtle or covert symptoms may never disappear and will become permanent. Effective and appropriate treatment leads to complete recovery.
9. Treatment of concussion must medically address every area of brain function. This means brain chemistry and all other functional operations of the brain must be brought back to homeostasis (normal operation). This therapy can be broad or narrow, specific or general, depending on the individual, length of time from injury, and areas affected by the injury. Without proper diagnostics and targeted treatment, concussive symptoms can go undetected or may worsen.
Performance Brain Health Centers is committed to continual research and development in all brain health and brain injury conditions. Our unique position places us at the intersection of research and clinical application. Staff are highly qualified licensed providers and maintain the strictest standards of care in the medical industry. Our centers are fully equipped to effectively diagnose and fully treat an injury. If you have additional questions, have been injured, or are
concerned about unresolved past injuries, visit a Performance Brain Health center today.