What is a concussion?
A concussion is an injury to the brain that can cause a temporary disruption to how it is functioning. Concussions can be caused either directly (e.g. a hit to the head) or indirectly (e.g. an insult to the body that transfers force to the head). This force to the head causes the brain to move within the skull. It typically causes brain tissue to change at a cellular level, leading to a rapid onset of neurological changes.
All concussions are traumatic brain injuries and should be treated as serious events. Most individuals begin to feel better about 10-14 days after an injury, with most symptoms resolving within around 3-4 weeks. However, about 15-30% of individuals will continue to have some persistent symptoms after a concussion. Some other factors may begin to cross over with concussion symptoms or make symptoms worse. Risk factors for prolonged symptoms can include previous concussion, history of migraines, learning disabilities or ADHD, depression or anxiety, age, sex (females tend to be higher risk), visual and vestibular abnormalities, sleep abnormalities, improper management and misinformation.
Concussion rehabilitation should involve a multidisciplinary team who looks at all areas of life. Depending on the challenges someone is experiencing, it could include sleep education, cardiovascular exercise, movement retraining, balance exercises, vestibular rehabilitation, vison therapy, manual therapy, pacing and planning, school or work modifications and counselling. When someone experiences a concussion, the symptoms themselves can be overwhelming. People can feel confused, lost and overwhelmed by emotions and dizziness. Targeted rehabilitation exercises challenge the brain in a way to expose it to a provoking stimulus, then give it time to learn how to process this information. Our brains are continually changing and evolving (they are plastic!). Targeted rehabilitation can help the brain to re-learn how to process information from its surroundings so that the information is no longer overwhelming. With the right dose and intensity, a high–quality rehabilitation program can make lasting positive changes in your brain – letting you get back to living your life.
Concussion management resources
Buddhify is an iOS app that teaches mindfulness-based meditation through a series of guided lessons. It includes more than 40 tracks categorized by mood or activity (for example walking, going to sleep, feeling stressed or work breaks). Written and voiced by a range of teachers, the sessions range from 4 to 30 minutes.
Looking at a cellphone or computer at night can make it harder to fall and stay asleep. f.lux is a simple app for Mac, Windows, and Linux computers that effectively deals with this problem by making the colour of the screen adapt to the time of day. At sunset, the display will mimic nature, gradually warming up the colours and greatly reducing glare.
MindShift™ is an iOS and Android app designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety, much of the content is applicable to adults as well. It includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety as well as specific tools to tackle a variety of topics including making sleep count, worry and panic.
Qcard is an iOS app designed to outsmart forgetfulness for people living with conditions that affect their memory. It has colour-coded pathways for three different types of tasks: Quick Reminders (for example, taking pills, phoning a friend on a certain date, going grocery shopping); Guided Tasks (step-by-step reminders to do tasks with multiple steps, such as doing the laundry); and Appointments (reminders to attend timed events). Endorsed by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.
Learn more about our services:
Contact the Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic for more information.