Concussions can be some of the most damaging injuries a person can incur, and millions of them happen each and every year. They can range in severity from mild to extreme, but even the most basic of concussions must be treated with respect and can lead to long-term issues. For this reason, any head injury, whether it occurs on the sports field, at home, in an auto accident, or somewhere else, should be reported and checked by a medical professional.
Diagnosis of Concussions
A concussion is a kind of brain injury that occurs when someone suffers a bump or knock to the head or some other kind of jolt or physical sensation that leads to their brain being disturbed or harmed in some way.
These kinds of injuries can be quite complicated, and the diagnosis process can be equally complicated, as doctors need to carefully analyze and evaluate the potential signs and symptoms, with some symptoms not necessarily appearing right away in the immediate aftermath of the accident or incident.
Here are some methods a doctor may use to diagnose a concussion:
- Interview – To begin, doctors will simply speak with their patient to find out more about the nature of their injury, how it occurred, and what kinds of symptoms the patient may be experiencing. This then leads to the next steps.
- Neurological Test – The doctor may next perform a neurological examination, which will usually involve checking the patient’s vision, hearing, sensations, hand-eye coordination, and reflexes. If any brain damage has occurred, the patient may show some irregularities in their vision or senses.
- Cognitive Tests – The next step of diagnosis may take the form of different cognitive tests to evaluate a patient’s brain function. This may include memory or concentration tests, as it’s often the case that those suffering from concussions struggle to remember information or concentration correctly.
- CT or CAT Scans – If a doctor discerns that a patient is showing signs or symptoms of some kind of brain injury, they may recommend CAT/CT scans to be carried out. These scans involve the use of X-rays to take photos of the skull and brain in order to visually identify any injuries.
If a patient is diagnosed with a concussion, various treatment options can be used to help them recover. The course of treatment may differ greatly from one patient to the next, depending on the nature of their injury and the symptoms or side effects they have. Here are some possible treatment options that may be used:
- Rest – The most common course of treatment in the immediate aftermath of a concussion is for the patient to get some rest, which includes both physical and mental rest.
- Physical Rest – Physical rest involves taking some time off work, avoiding strenuous physical activities that could put the brain in further danger, and generally relaxing at home.
- Mental Rest – Mental rest includes avoiding challenging mental activities like work, reading books, and using technological devices. These kinds of activities exercise the brain, which might lead to symptoms becoming worse, as the brain needs to heal, so it’s generally recommended for patients to simply relax and enjoy some very basic activities, mostly sleeping or listening to relaxing music or sounds.
- Pain Relief – Many patients with concussions struggle with recurring headaches in the days after their injury, so a doctor may also prescribe some simple painkillers like Tylenol to help deal with this pain.
- Gradual Return to Activity – Provided the concussion isn’t too serious and hasn’t led to a traumatic brain injury, a patient may be recommended to very gradually return to their usual schedule. They may be advised to spend a few weeks relaxing and then slowly incorporating additional activities into their daily routine before eventually getting back to work.
- Therapy – In some cases, if a patient is showing signs of cognitive impairment, additional therapy may be required to help them re-learn different tasks. Therapy may also be recommended for patients who are dealing with PTSD, stress, or anxiety in association with their injury or the accident that caused it to happen in the first place.
Concussions can be worrying and panic-inducing for those who experience them, but with swift diagnosis and prompt treatment, it’s very common for patients to recover without any long-lasting damage. If you or someone you know suffers a head injury, be sure to seek medical aid immediately, even if you don’t experience any serious symptoms right away.