As football season rapidly approaches, concussions are always a concern for parents, athletes and coaches. There are more and more cases of adolescent head injuries and concussions reported over the last few years. Concussions or head injuries can occur at the blink of an eye, especially if your child is involved in a high impact sport like football. The University of Michigan Health System and The Centers for Disease Control both reported that approximately 3.8 million Americans suffer concussions just from sports injuries every year. Keep in mind there are many other ways to get a concussion other than sports such as motor vehicle accident or whiplash injury.
What is a concussion?
The brain inside the skull is like the gelatin in a plastic bowl. When an impact or high velocity injury occurs, the brain slams into the wall of the skull. This can lead to a change in the brain’s chemistry or energy supply. In many instances of getting a concussion, the side-effects are mild, short in duration and “headache-like”. But, in some more severe cases, the concussion may result in altered or abnormal brain function.
How can you prevent a concussion?
Wearing a helmet is the obvious way to prevent a concussion however, it’s also crucial for children to learn upper trunk, posture and neck-strengthening exercises. If the muscles of the neck and trunk are strong and stable, the likelihood of concussions and injuries in high impact sports such as football are minimized.
For the younger population active in sports, an assessment at Flex Physical Therapy can help find out regions of the body which could use stability and strength training. Our adolescent sports injury program is performed by a licensed physical therapist. The tests and measurements performed during at he PT assessment will be used to develop a customized and individualized strength and stability program that can aid with injury prevention and even prevent concussions caused by in part weak core musculature.
How to Reduce Concussion Risk
It is possible to reduce the risk of a concussion. The most effective way and most widespread talked about way to reduce concussion risk is with the use of an appropriate helmet. When the activity or sporting event does not mandate use of protective headgear, the team at Flex Physical Therapy suggests that you have your child put one on to reduce the risk of head injury and concussion anyway. Teach your child early that a helmet is not an option but required for participation in the activity. When using protective headgear such as a helmet is instilled at an early age, the child will be more likely to utilize a helmet as they grow older. Start early with this rule and be consistent. You child’s head, brain and overall safety is at stake.
MRI scans will often show “white spots” several years after the head injury happened. The meaning of these white-spots is often debated but are popularly indicative of a past concussion.
No matter what he severity of trauma to the head, you want to lessen it all that you can. Concussions can cause temporary visual impairment, speech impairment, problems with balance, memory problems, confusion, headaches, nausea or vomiting, slowed reaction to stimuli, sensitivity to light or noise, lack of energy and other problems. Emotionally, a person who has experienced a concussion may feel sad, nervous, anxious or easily upset/angered. Many people associate a loss of consciousness with a concussion however a loss of consciousness may or may not have occurred. How long these effects last depends upon the severity of the concussion and how soon the concussion was treated after it occurred. The symptoms may begin immediately or they may take up to months to develop. The long-term impact of a concussion is often debated.
Physical therapy can treat dizziness, headaches, promote core stability and much more.
Whether it is to promote injury prevention with a neck strengthening and upper trunk stability program or if it’s to treat headache, dizziness or pain after the concussion…we are the local experts in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Do not delay, sometimes the symptoms can take up to several months before they are even realized. If left untreated, the symptoms can magnify with intensity. Call our experts at 712-256-1800. You only have 1 brain!