A concussion is a brain injury. In the medical world it is also referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). It can result when the skull impacts the soft tissue of the brain that it is meant to protect.
It is a concern because it can lead to permanent injury and even death.
People most at risk for a concussion would be professional boxers suffering repeated blows to the head. It can also occur if you have been in a car accident when your head gets whipped around at high speeds. More of an area for worry is for parents of school age children who participate in contact sports. You are leaving your children in the hands of an adult coach who really needs to know what to look for in the event of a blow to the head. Luckily there are free programs available on line to get educated on this topic.
What’s really important to know about concussions is that you do not have to lose consciousness to suffer a concussion.
You basically want to assess 4 areas of brain function and I’ve made it easy here for you to remember what they are. We will use the Mnemonic device B-A-S-E where each letter stands for a different area to look at.
“B” stands for “Balance”. Ask the person how their balance is. Look to see what happens when they close their eyes.
“A” stands for “Awareness”. Ask them “what day of the week is it?” “Who is the president?” “Can you add 6 + 7?”
“S” stands for “Symptoms”. Are they having a headache, ringing in the ears, blurry vision, anything out of the ordinary?
“E” stands for “Eyes”. The pupils of the eyes will not constrict like they normally do when a light is shined into them.
A CAT scan can look at the brain for anything that looks out of the ordinary.
I had a patient just last week who fell and hit her head and was knocked unconscious. I talked to her on the phone and she sounded okay but when she came into the office a couple days later I observed all 4 of the above symptoms in her presentation. It is important that these people refrain from any alcohol use as it is a neurotoxin. You also want to observe them for at least a week and definitely seek help if symptoms get worse or if the person starts vomiting as this is a sign they are going downhill.
The only real medical treatment for a brain injury is time to recover. There are probably some nutritional supplements available that would be beneficial as well. However, Chiropractic care is often beneficial because of the misalignments that will usually occur in the upper neck area as a result of the injury.
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