Why Concussions Are More Complicated Than You May Realize

Even with tremendous advancements in medicine, our brains largely remain a mystery. This is especially true when it comes to the topic of concussions. For many years, concussions were unfortunately dismissed as something to shake off and then get back into the game. In recent years, the NFL has been in the spotlight for the proliferation of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE amongst its players due to repeated concussions. Now that the national conversation has begun regarding the dangers of concussions, it’s important to understand why immediate and thorough treatment is so critical to your recovery. To add to the challenge of treatment, you may not even know you’ve suffered a concussion so you don’t seek it out. Here is why concussions can be more complicated than you may realize.


Suffering a concussion

While the focus is often on athletes when it comes to concussions because of how frequently they can occur, the truth is anyone can suffer a concussion. It’s much easier than people think. That’s because a concussive blow is any strike hard enough to cause the brain to move against the skull. You don’t even have to lose consciousness. Consider this point in the context of a car crash. When in a car accident, your vehicle could be travelling at considerably high speeds. Even a relatively low speed could prove dangerous. That’s because according to military research, the threshold for a whiplash injury is a 7mph sudden jerk back and forth or a 4mph side to side jerking motion. Starting at these speeds, the brain can move back and forth to make contact with the skull. Even though it’s only a few millimeters, this is enough to bruise the surface of the brain. It can even tug at the stalk of the pituitary gland, which is essentially the master gland when talking about the body’s hormones. Add in the whiplash effect on the spine and you can see how devastating even a low speed crash can be.

Now, think about the immediate moments post-accident. You may have some symptoms of a concussion, but you most likely won’t recognize them due to being in shock. This is where things get complicated.


The complicating factors

Emergency rooms are great at saving lives, clearly. However, there is no medical school training for high velocity injuries. Therefore, this specific type of trauma gets lumped in with all other types despite the fact concussions need to be handled differently. Unfortunately, this means there will be a great reliance on your self-reporting of symptoms. The brain during a moment of trauma makes that nearly impossible. Because you are stunned at concussive speeds, you likely won’t have a memory of the accident. This causes the “out on your feet” phenomenon where you’re awake and conscious, but operating on something close to auto-pilot due to the trauma to the brain. You may tell EMTs and the ER doctor that you feel fine while you’re in a confused fog. It’s only a couple of days later that you will feel the full extent of your injuries and experience the cognitive symptoms of a concussion.

Many people who suffer concussions stretch the control nerves exiting the brain. This can result in everything from dizziness and nausea to emotional imbalances and personality changes. About 60% of concussion sufferers develop pituitary insufficiency within 6 months of the accident, causing a hormonal imbalance which can leave your primary doctor at a loss when delivering treatment. That’s why it is absolutely critical that you seek out a doctor who understands the intricacies of how concussions play out over the days, weeks, and months following the initial trauma.


What can treatment look like

Treating a concussion is often a multi-step process where various treatments may be used depending on your individual situation. While rest and abstaining from daily activities during the duration of treatment are important, there are some specific techniques your doctor may use to help your brain heal faster. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment may be used to deliver more oxygen which can help the brain heal at a quicker pace due to the accelerated production of growth factor and stem cells. If it’s determined that the hormone producing glands were affected by the concussion, hormone replacement therapy may be used to treat post-concussion symptoms.


Conclusion

Dr. Morris has been a leader in the field of concussion management and treatment for over 40 years. He has devoted his practice towards anticipating and addressing the many complications that can rise from a concussive blow. When it comes to treating a condition as complex as a concussion, you need the help of a medical professional that understands the intricacies involved. If you’ve recently been in an accident or believe you are suffering the effects of a past concussion, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Dr. Morris and the team at The Private Practice are here to provide you with the care you need to recover from a concussion.

Even with tremendous advancements in medicine, our brains largely remain a mystery. This is especially true when it comes to the topic of concussions. For many years, concussions were unfortunately dismissed as something to shake off and then get back into the game. In recent years, the NFL has been in the spotlight for the proliferation of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE amongst its players due to repeated concussions. Now that the national conversation has begun regarding the dangers of concussions, it’s important to understand why immediate and thorough treatment is so critical to your recovery. To add to the challenge of treatment, you may not even know you’ve suffered a concussion so you don’t seek it out. Here is why concussions can be more complicated than you may realize.


Suffering a concussion

While the focus is often on athletes when it comes to concussions because of how frequently they can occur, the truth is anyone can suffer a concussion. It’s much easier than people think. That’s because a concussive blow is any strike hard enough to cause the brain to move against the skull. You don’t even have to lose consciousness. Consider this point in the context of a car crash. When in a car accident, your vehicle could be travelling at considerably high speeds. Even a relatively low speed could prove dangerous. That’s because according to military research, the threshold for a whiplash injury is a 7mph sudden jerk back and forth or a 4mph side to side jerking motion. Starting at these speeds, the brain can move back and forth to make contact with the skull. Even though it’s only a few millimeters, this is enough to bruise the surface of the brain. It can even tug at the stalk of the pituitary gland, which is essentially the master gland when talking about the body’s hormones. Add in the whiplash effect on the spine and you can see how devastating even a low speed crash can be.

Now, think about the immediate moments post-accident. You may have some symptoms of a concussion, but you most likely won’t recognize them due to being in shock. This is where things get complicated.


The complicating factors

Emergency rooms are great at saving lives, clearly. However, there is no medical school training for high velocity injuries. Therefore, this specific type of trauma gets lumped in with all other types despite the fact concussions need to be handled differently. Unfortunately, this means there will be a great reliance on your self-reporting of symptoms. The brain during a moment of trauma makes that nearly impossible. Because you are stunned at concussive speeds, you likely won’t have a memory of the accident. This causes the “out on your feet” phenomenon where you’re awake and conscious, but operating on something close to auto-pilot due to the trauma to the brain. You may tell EMTs and the ER doctor that you feel fine while you’re in a confused fog. It’s only a couple of days later that you will feel the full extent of your injuries and experience the cognitive symptoms of a concussion.

Many people who suffer concussions stretch the control nerves exiting the brain. This can result in everything from dizziness and nausea to emotional imbalances and personality changes. About 60% of concussion sufferers develop pituitary insufficiency within 6 months of the accident, causing a hormonal imbalance which can leave your primary doctor at a loss when delivering treatment. That’s why it is absolutely critical that you seek out a doctor who understands the intricacies of how concussions play out over the days, weeks, and months following the initial trauma.


What can treatment look like

Treating a concussion is often a multi-step process where various treatments may be used depending on your individual situation. While rest and abstaining from daily activities during the duration of treatment are important, there are some specific techniques your doctor may use to help your brain heal faster. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment may be used to deliver more oxygen which can help the brain heal at a quicker pace due to the accelerated production of growth factor and stem cells. If it’s determined that the hormone producing glands were affected by the concussion, hormone replacement therapy may be used to treat post-concussion symptoms.


Conclusion

Dr. Morris has been a leader in the field of concussion management and treatment for over 40 years. He has devoted his practice towards anticipating and addressing the many complications that can rise from a concussive blow. When it comes to treating a condition as complex as a concussion, you need the help of a medical professional that understands the intricacies involved. If you’ve recently been in an accident or believe you are suffering the effects of a past concussion, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Dr. Morris and the team at The Private Practice are here to provide you with the care you need to recover from a concussion.


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