What is a Concussion?
Concussion (also sometimes called mild traumatic brain injury) is the most common form of traumatic brain injury.
A concussion happens when the brain is shaken back and forth inside the skull, which injures the brain. Without treatment, the brain may not heal, and the effects can become worse.
Concussions are classified as either mild, moderate, or severe, based on the symptoms and how long they last. It is essential to seek medical treatment if you have suffered trauma to your head or body that has caused a sudden or sharp movement of your head.
A concussion often changes the way your brain normally works and impacts the rest of your body. Symptoms of a concussion include:
- Amnesia (forgetting things)
- Loss of consciousness
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, foggy, or groggy
- Feeling unusually irritable
- Concentration or memory problems
- Slowed reaction time
Concussion and mTBI should be recognized and diagnosed as soon as possible to improve positive health outcomes for patients.
While concussion may be recognized in the community by a non-medical professional such as a loved one, parent, teacher, or coach, a diagnosis should be made by a physician or nurse practitioner.
If you suspect the occurrence of a concussion/mTBI, visit your family physician, walk-in clinic or an emergency room as soon as possible.
Evidence-based research around diagnosis and treatment has evolved and moved away from the complete cognitive rest or “cocoon therapy.” Your doctor will prescribe the terms, but it usually involves 24-48 hours of cognitive rest and then a gradual return to activity.
When Things Get Complicated
80% of concussions heal fairly quickly, but in about 20% of individuals there are more persistent, complex symptoms that can take months or years to resolve.
It can be difficult to access timely diagnosis from a physician in Nova Scotia and many allied health professionals who can help treat concussion work in the private sector, which can present a financial barrier.
Concussion Nova Scotia is a group of healthcare professionals working to develop, adapt and implement guidelines and resources to assist with the diagnosis, education, and management of individuals with concussion/mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Nova Scotia.
Concussions Ontario is sponsored and let by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF). Excellent tools here for concussion info and management.
New toolkit available to help working adults recover from concussion.