The word concussion is loosely thrown around to describe a “less serious” head injury which is far from the truth! Any type of head injury—minor or large—should be taken seriously.
There are several studies that show that many individuals mistakingly undermine the severity of a brain injury when the term “concussion” is used.
For example, researchers at McMaster found that despite serious brain injuries, children spent fewer days at the hospital when they were described as having a concussion and were more likely to return to school sooner following hospital discharge.
3 Misconceptions About Concussions
Concussion has become a major buzzword in the media which has played an important role in spreading awareness about the negative implications of head-related injuries. At the same time, there are many myths surrounding the condition and what treatment should look like.
In this article we will debunk three common myths surrounding concussion!
Myth 1 : To get a concussion you must hit your head and lose consciousness?
Wrong! This is a very common misconception that isn’t true. Remember that a concussion can also occur when your head rapidly moves back and forth after experiencing a direct blow to the body. Additionally, many studies have shown that only around 10% of concussed patients will lose consciousness after the injury(6).
Myth 2 : Symptoms of a concussion appear immediately after you experience a brain-injury.
This fact is also not true! Symptoms can appear a couple of hours, days, and even weeks after the injury. It is important to monitor your symptoms over time and to follow up with your health care provider if you are experiencing any unusual and/or new symptoms.
Myth 3 : A person should rest after a concussion and should avoid all forms of physical activity.
Contrary to popular belief, this fact is incorrect. Engaging in your everyday activities can actually help with your recovery after a concussion(7). With that being said, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider(s) about the types of exercises you should or shouldn’t be doing to avoid overexerting yourself.
Who can help with my concussion recovery?
You may decide to see an occupational therapist if your concussion has gotten in the way of your ability to participate in the day-to-day activities that are important to you. Many of the physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms discussed above can get in the way of engaging in activities related to leisure (social activities, hobbies), productivity (e.g. work, school), or self-care (e.g. grooming, cooking, sleep hygiene) (8).
Occupational therapists work closely with clients to create personalized treatment plans that will empower them to return to their daily activities after a concussion.
Occupational therapists can also provide education on energy conservation techniques, sleep hygiene, and relaxation strategies to help manage symptoms.
Finally, kinesiologists are professionals focused on using physical activity as a method of treatment to improve performance and function. This is especially relevant in concussion treatment where personalized exercise programs are important to promote physical activity early on in recovery. Resting is important, but completely avoiding all forms of physical activity can have negative implications on recovery as well. Your kinesiologist is the expert to help ensure you are getting enough physical activity without compromising your body’s physical limits.
Word to the Wise from a Fellow Concussion Sufferer
Concussion and post-concussion syndrome can be a long hard road if you do it alone.
I suffered for 2 years because I just didn’t know any better. As I was suffering, science was just starting on concussion rehab.
Once I got a handle on my sleep, nutrition, lifestyle and a disequilibrium issue, suddenly my symptoms resolved. I will never know if I had done it sooner whether this would’ve been the case, but I do know that having someone help you through the process is better than spending life on the sidelines.
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