If you’re reading this and wondering why in the world ‘concussion’ has anything to do with physical therapy, exercise, or health, then we’re glad you’re here. The truth is, this invisible injury could wreak havoc on your wellness and, in some heartbreaking cases, could result in painful, debilitating symptoms…for years! It is not something to take lightly, so we’re here to fill you in on all the particulars of concussion, its signs, and all the actions you can take when it comes to this hidden condition. [...]
Concussion: The Invisible Injury
For those of you unfamiliar with the term itself, the word ‘concussion’ stems directly from the Latin ‘concussionem’, which means to shake violently. This is a scary thought considering the condition itself affects your brain! Yes, that’s right, we suffer a concussion when our brain has literally been ‘shaken violently’. Yikes.
We know how strange that sounds, so we’re going to make it a little clearer. Your brain has the consistency of Jello, and in many ways it reacts to its surroundings in much the same fashion as our favorite desert might. When the head is knocked violently and suddenly, the brain is left to uncontrollably bounce against the walls of the skull; thus, as you may imagine, this causes serious damage, mostly in the form of bruising. Sadly, unlike Jello our brains aren’t really equipped to withstand that type of convulsive pressure, and, as a result of the trauma, we often suffer from the downright awful symptoms related to concussion.
I bet you’re thinking you’ve never experienced this type of horror-movie scenario: your brain bouncing around like a ping-pong ball. We know it isn’t pleasant, but the reality is you might actually have gone through it! If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident, played athletic sports like soccer, hockey, rugby, baseball, and basketball, or even if you’re a keen cyclist, well… the chances are pretty good that you’ve had mild, if not severe, concussion. Falls, knocks, tackles, and rogue hockey sticks all pose a threat; we’re betting that you, like millions of others, have been at the receiving end of at least one of these.
Now that you know what might cause concussion, it’s time to move on to its nasty symptoms. Concussion is a bit like a very clever conman: you know something is amiss, but you just can’t pin-point the culprit. In fact, so many of concussion’s symptoms are easily confused with other causes: from a hard night’s drinking, to a bad night’s sleep… one might not even know one is suffering from this invisible affliction. Luckily, we’re here to help. Take a look at some of the most telling signs of concussion:
While all this might sound like the unwanted after-effects of your year-end tailgating party, they’re all very serious indeed. Because concussion doesn’t produce any external signs of its existence, it’s usually tricky to diagnose. But, here’s the thing: if left untreated, concussion can lead to some really devastating developments. Leaving concussion unattended to may eventually result in the following:
Long-Term Memory Problems: Yes, this is as scary as it sounds. Memory-loss is a common side-effect of untreated concussion.
Altered Personality: No, this isn’t a science-fiction blog entry; untreated concussion may actually alter the behavior of an individual. He/she will be more irritable, temperamental, and short-tempered in the long-term.
Depression: If you know of anyone suffering from depression, you understand how severe this mental affliction can be. Untreated concussion causes deep distress and may, in fact, lead to serious depression.
Disturbed Sleep: Because concussion affects the brain, if left untreated it resultantly affects the brain’s ability to heal itself via sleep. Hello insomnia.
Sensory Confusion: Do you love eating delicious food? What about smelling your just-bloomed roses? Well, when it comes to untreated concussion, smell and taste are affected equally: both deteriorate as a result.
Like I said… none of the above are things you want to go through or experience. Concussion is a scary affliction, to say the least. So, how do you know if you’ve suffered/ are suffering from it? That question is, unfortunately, a little tricky. It’s easier to guess that you have mild/severe concussion if you’ve ricocheted off of a wall, taken a rolling dive off of your bike, or gotten whacked in the head with a hockey stick, but barring rather obvious trauma to the skull, it’s near-impossible to know whether or not you are suffering from concussion. And yet, know you must.
This is all a little frightening; we understand that. That’s why we’re pleased to tell you that we can help. If you’re worried about whether you might be suffering from either the short or long term effects of concussion, don’t worry, we can get to the bottom of it. By visiting a professional, qualified, hands-on physical therapist you will not only get the answers you desperately need, but you will receive safe, effective treatment for the symptoms of concussion. And if you aren’t ready to commit to a session, why not just call us for a chat? One of our dedicated physical therapists is always willing to discuss how we can help you regain peace of mind and a pain-free life.
For advice and treatment that will improve your quality of life, give you back the serenity you crave, and help you live the best, most empowering life you can, just pick up the phone and give us a ring. We look forward to helping, and we can’t wait to shine a light on the invisible injury stealing your happiness!
Dr. Jack Wong
Leading Physical Therapist In The Kingwood Area