Concussions May Have A Longer Recovery Period

concussions

Introduction

Were you involved in a car accident? Did you suffer a head injury in the collision? Studies show concussions may have a longer recovery period. This article addresses concussions in traffic collisions, and the healing process in those who have suffered previous concussions.

Concussions

Many people don’t realize that a concussion is the same thing as a mild traumatic brain injury (“TBI”). A mild TBI can occur when the victim of a vehicle collision suffers a head strike or a severe whiplash injury that moves the brain inside the skull. Concussions may have a longer recovery period than one might think.

The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine defines a mild TBI as a patient who has had a traumatically induced physiological disruption of brain function, as manifested by at least one of the following: 1) any period of loss of consciousness; 2) any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the accident; 3) any alteration in mental state at the time of the accident (eg. Feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused); and 4) focal neurological deficits that may or may not be transient.

Most individuals do not lose consciousness when suffering a mild TBI. Instead, they experience an immediate feeling of being dazed, disoriented, or confused.

Imaging studies, such as Computerized Tomography (“CT”) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (“MRI”), are sometimes administered when a patient exhibits symptoms of a mild TBI. These tests are aimed at locating macroscopic lesions. Unfortunately, these tests are not sensitive or specific enough to show the micro-trauma caused by the collision, including a diffuse axonal injury and small hemorrhaging that occurs.

A diffuse axonal injury (“DAI”) is caused by acceleration and deceleration forces or rotation forces that act on the head and brain, which cause a tearing of the brain tissue. A CT or MRI study cannot locate this damage.

Mild TBI (Concussion) Recovery

The vast majority of those who suffer a mild TBI recover within three months. Unfortunately, 10-20% of patients continue to have persistent symptoms, often diagnosed as post-concussive syndrome. These persistent symptoms include, 1) headache, dizziness, malaise, fatigue, noise disturbance; 2) irritability, depression, anxiety, emotional lability; 3) subjective concentration, memory, or intellectual difficulties; and 4) insomnia.

Prolonged Concussion Recovery

There are a significant number of studies that have found that athletes who suffered multiple concussions take longer to heal. For example, in a report published in the journal, Pediatrics, by Boston Children’s Hospital researchers, kids who suffered a head injury took longer to heal if they suffered from a prior concussion. Children who had a history of multiple concussions were particularly at risk for long-lasting symptoms. The study’s author, Dr. Matthew Eisenberg, was concerned about those children who had suffered numerous head injuries. 

The research involved 280 children and young adults, all between the ages of 11 and 22. These individuals were first assessed at the emergency room of Boston Children’s Hospital with concussions. Common symptoms included headache, confusion, and dizziness. Other symptoms included nausea, slurred speech, fatigue, and ringing in the ears.

The individuals were assessed every three months or until the symptoms ended.

The doctors found that those who had a history of concussions suffered longer than those who had never had a head injury.

Treatment

There is no standardized treatment for a mild TBI. For those suffering from cognitive problems, therapies are available to improve performance. Other therapies are available for different types of disorders, including balance dysfunction and attention problems. Many victims benefit from a team approach, including cognitive, physical, occupational, and vocational therapy. Also helpful is neuropsychological testing and medications.

Conclusion

Many individuals suffer mild traumatic brain injuries in traffic accidents. An accurate and timely diagnosis is necessary so the patient can receive adequate treatment and therapy.  If you or a loved one have been the victim of an accident, schedule a free consultation with MCIS Lawyers. No pressure, sound advice.

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