Concussion Education

Before reading the following information regarding concussions, we acknowledge that the science surrounding concussions is ever evolving. We, at Sheddon Physio, do our best to stay up to date with the current literature. This blog article is meant to provide some education as to what concussions are, and some of the current research.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact your Sheddon Therapist!

What is it actually?

A frequent question that we get asked is “what is a concussion?”

Most often, googled results come up with difficult jargon and lengthy answers; this is because, with all the research and information that has recently been discovered, the answer really isn’t all that simple.

Its formal definition, from the British Journal of Sports Medicine released in 2013, defined a concussion as follows:

Concussion is a brain injury that is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, and induced by biomechanical forces. Several common features that incorporate clinical, pathological, and biomechanical injury constructs that may be utilised in defining the nature of a concussive head injury include:

  1. Concussion may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an ‘‘impulsive” force transmitted to the head.

  2. Concussion typically results in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously. However, in some cases, symptoms and signs may evolve over a number of minutes to hours.

  3. Concussion may result in neuropathological changes, but the acute clinical symptoms largely reflect a functional disturbance rather than a structural injury and, as such, no abnormality is seen on standard structural neuroimaging studies.

  4. Concussion results in a graded set of clinical symptoms that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Resolution of the clinical and cognitive symptoms typically follows a sequential course. However, it is important to note that in some cases, symptoms may be prolonged.

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Even with the aforementioned definition, to the untrained eye, spotting a concussion can be rather difficult. That being said, concussions are not always caused by sport! They can happen at work, school, or even at home. Concussions may actually go undiagnosed, as they do not always display outward or obvious signs, and many people are unaware of neither the symptoms of concussion nor the dangers of having a concussion. Inappropriate management of concussion can lead to increased risk of subsequent, and much more devastating–potentially permanent, or even fatal–brain injury. That’s why concussion management should always be left to the professionals.

When should you seek professional? Here are a few symptoms to look for:

  • Headache
  • “Pressure in Head”
  • Neck pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Balance problems
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Feeling like “in a fog“
  • “Don’t feel right”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • More emotional
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety or nervousness

This symptom list is from the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool–3rd Edition, however, having one or more of these symptoms after a traumatic force may not mean you have a concussion either. If you think you or someone you know has suffered a concussion, seek a professional immediately.

Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic is here to help. Sheddon is part of the multidisciplinary network that is called the Complete Concussion Management, offering the highest level of concussion care to people of all ages.

If you have any further questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact us at www.sheddonphysio.com.

McCrory, Paul, et al. “Consensus statement on concussion in sport: the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport held in Zurich, November 2012.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 47.5 (2013): 250-258.