Concussion Consequences: What every worker, parent and athlete should know.
Concussion and Your Lack of Health
There are detrimental short and long-term effects a concussion, post-concussion syndrome or multiple concussions can have on your health. In fact, our Aussie footballers launched, earlier this year, a massive class action against the AFL on behalf of 60 footballers, who received concussion related head strikes while playing or training between 1985-2023. This class action alleges that permanent or life altering injuries resulted due to these concussion related injuries and because of the AFLs negligence.
Even on hearing this however, you may not think these kinds of problems apply to you, or your children. Maybe it’s time to think about this a little differently. Concussions don’t just cause problems to professional athletes. Health problems from concussions are non-discriminatory. They can affect anyone.
Playing sport ourselves or watching our children play sport, we’ve all witnessed players coming off with head knocks, rough play and so on, however do we ever consider the repercussions of these incidents for our family’s health?
Concussion Definition and Statistics
Concussion is a category of mild traumatic brain injury that is at the less severe end of the brain injury scale. It is an interruption of brain function caused by an impact, direct or indirect, to the head.
Of the more contact sports like Aussie Rules football and Rugby, approximately 5 concussion injuries occur per team per season, regardless the level of competition: whether it’s junior sport, right up to the paid athletes.
Concussions are on the rise. Between 1997-2012 there has been a three-fold increase in concussions (Reid, 2020). Approximately 295, 435 Australians experience one or more concussions every year. Besides the sporting field, other common ways concussions can occur is from motor vehicle collisions, workplace injuries and from incidences in the military.
Mild traumatic brain injuries, like concussion, account for 70-90% of all reported traumatic brain injuries (Cassidy & Carroll et aL, Journal of Rehabilitative medicine).
Did you know that if you or your child experience a concussion that you are now 4-6 times more likely to experience a subsequent concussion (JAMA, 2003)? And 92% of these recurrent concussions happen within 10 days of the first concussion. (Clinical Jn Sports Med, 2001). Scary hey.
Unfortunately, however, 20% of concussed patients have prolonged recovery, recovery past the first 3 weeks of the impact. That’s one in every five concussed athletes will still be suffering almost a month after their injury.
The general workforce also suffers due to the effects of concussion with 18-24% of all concussions unable to return to work within 6 months. (Yue et al 2021).
Second Impact Syndrome
After the first concussion impact or injury, there is a time of increased vulnerability, which is more so in adolescents whose brains are still forming. If the first injury doesn’t cause any structural damage and a new injury is repeated 24 hours later, this can result in significant nerve injury and decreased memory loss and function. Please don't return to sport too soon. It can be detrimental for your health.
Besides, second impact syndrome, another big concern with an early return to sport is an athlete’s decreased reaction time. The brain is still recovering after a concussion so upon returning to sport your reaction time is decreased. Now, there is a even greater potential to be injured,much easier this time round, as you are slower to react and respond. Therefore, there is an increased risk of repeat concussions or another, different kind of injury, plus, the recovery is extended, and the likelihood of more and severe symptoms are increased.
Why do some people suffer more than others after a concussion?
It’s a great question. There are several factors that contribute to a longer period of symptoms and a more complex recovery…
· If you have had more than one concussion, especially when the concussions are clustered together.
· If you have spent increased time unconscious
· If the impact is associated with convulsions.
· You are less than 18 years old.
· You already have existing health problems like; migraines, sleep disorders, mental health problems, learning disabilities, chronic pain, hormonal problems, heart problems, if you are on anticoagulants or psychoactive drugs + more.
If you happen to have dizziness, mental decline, or a headache at the time of injury, these 3 symptoms are the biggest risk factors, above everything else, for a prolonged recovery. Not cool.
What is Post Concussive Syndrome, PCS?
Post concussive syndrome, PCS is when concussion symptoms persist longer than expected, usually 3 weeks, after your injury or impact. Some people experience these symptoms from weeks to months or worse, even years after their injury if the correct care isn’t given or if the correct healing protocols aren’t followed.
Common post concussive syndrome signs and symptoms...
· Poor memory
· Lowered processing speed
· Loss of executive function/ decision making
· Loss of smells
· Changes in speech
· Balance problems
· Sleep problems
· Visual disturbances
· Light and noise sensitivity
· Heightened emotions
· Numbness and tingling
· Brain fog
· Poor concentration
(Worldviews Evidence Based Nursing 2016; Shen Q, et al)
Concussion and Chiropractic
With EVERY concussion, there is also whiplash. A Canadian study (Hynes et al., 2006) found that 100% of the time, these injuries are happening together. The neck, the cervical spine, is always involved or injured during a concussion.
Over the last few years from 2008-2023 the concussion research has exploded. The research is conclusive that resting and doing nothing to treat concussion is flat out wrong. The research also shows that the incorrect rehabilitation can actually make you worse. So, if you are reading this now, and you had a concussion years ago (or even more recently), and you rested, it’s highly likely, your problem was never properly corrected. (It’s possibly morphed into an even bigger problem, a common sequela is neurogenerative disease).
Over the years at House of Chiropractic, we have helped so many patients who have suffered from concussion with Chiropractic care and the programs we create. A thorough consultation and assessment is needed to begin with to determine exactly what has happened and what is injured. Then, a program is created for you to help restore your health.
A common protocol for a concussed patient is Chiropractic adjustments, (spinal alignments) alongside a specific restorative exercise program, possibly nutritional support and balance or vestibular work. Obviously, everyone is a little different, so your program will be varied for your individual circumstances.
The longer you leave it, the longer it will take to recover. Take action now. Your future self will thank you. To book a consultation simply click here or call 02 6009 0999.