According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anywhere between 1.8 million and 3.6 million sports and recreation-related concussions are diagnosed each year in the United States. Keep in mind, those figures don’t even include concussions caused by car accidents, assaults, or falls. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) like concussions are a growing problem–and we’re not even talking about the ones that go undiagnosed.
The Importance of Concussion Evaluation
One reason concussions have become increasingly dangerous is that many go undiagnosed, which means they also go untreated. There are way too many occasions when people suffer a blow (to the head or even the body) and, unless they lose consciousness, they brush it off as just a minor inconvenience. Except it isn’t.
There is no such thing as a “mild” concussion. Every concussion is a big deal, and that’s why it’s so important to be evaluated for a concussion even if you’re not immediately experiencing some, or any, of the following concussion symptoms:
- Dizziness or imbalance
- Double or blurry vision
- Memory loss
- Nausea or vomiting
- Ringing ears
- Trouble falling asleep
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sensitivity to light
- Loss of smell or taste
Why is it so important to be evaluated even without any signs or symptoms of a concussion? Because untreated and undiagnosed concussions can present some significant problems.
The Dangers of Untreated Concussions
Here is why it’s critical to detect a concussion and treat it: gone untreated, concussions can result in several long-term complications, including:
- Chronic headaches
- Memory loss
- Post-concussion syndrome, which includes headaches, dizziness, mood swings, and brain fogginess that can last years
Being diagnosed and treated for a concussion is so important because the chances of sustaining a second are three to six times greater than someone who has never sustained one.
The more concussions that are layered on top of one another, the more dangerous they become–this scenario exponentially increases the likelihood of unconsciousness, reduced memory, and confusion anytime a new concussion is sustained.
All you need to do is Google names like Junior Seau, Justin Strzelczyk, Dave Duerson, Andre Waters, Aaron Hernandez, and others. These are all former NFL players who suffered so many concussions that they led to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, better known as CTE. This is a degenerative brain disease caused by multiple blows to the head and concussions, and along with all the symptoms listed above, CTE also causes depression, irritability, anxiety, and aggression.
CTE played a major part in all of the deaths of these football players–each committed suicide between the ages of 27 and 50. One could argue that Strzelczyk’s death wasn’t suicide, but when you crash your vehicle driving 90 mph against traffic, you start to understand that his mind was not functioning properly.
While CTE may be the most extreme result of multiple undiagnosed and untreated concussions, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s real, and it can happen to anyone.
Evaluating and Treating Concussions
If you’ve sustained a blow to the head or even the body, and something simply doesn’t feel right, you must get yourself examined by a physician. There are many ways to evaluate a concussion–through a physical or neurological exam, with tests such as CT scans, and also with videonystamography. This process tests central motor functions and the inner ear through infrared technology to help accurately diagnose dizziness, motion sickness, and other central motor and inner ear functionality problems through eye movements.
This device is sometimes referred to as a VNG machine, and many medical professionals use it to diagnose concussions, vertigo, sensory disorders, and other neurological conditions reliably and accurately. The great news is, Physical Therapy Now has a VNG machine that can easily be transported from location to location–this means that we can evaluate you for a concussion right in our facility, without you having to make an extra doctor’s appointment or go to another physical therapy now location.
Once evaluated, the next step is to let your brain heal. The most common treatment for concussions is rest. Avoiding strenuous activity and allowing your brain time to heal are generally the most recommended courses of action. Physical Therapy Now does, however, offer treatment for symptoms of concussions, including hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and therapeutic massage. These therapies can help alleviate some of the issues you might be experiencing and decrease your chances of long-term symptoms.
Where Can I Get A Concussion Evaluation?
Visit an emergency room or your doctor if you suspect you’ve sustained a concussion. Or call Physical Therapy Now to be evaluated with our VNG machine. No matter where you prefer to be assessed, it’s critical that you are evaluated by a professional.
If you are diagnosed with a concussion, come see us for treatment at any one of our convenient, state-of-the-art locations. Call Physical Therapy Now at 800-481-4582 to make your appointment today. We’re ready to help.