Anyone is at risk for suffering a concussion at some point in their lives. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a jolt, bump, or blow to the head. Most concussions stem from recreational or sports-related activities such as soccer or football and car accidents. But did you know many concussions happen during the toddler years? Still, no matter how you sustain your concussion, this kind of injury affects your brain’s structural makeup and chemical makeup.
At Grey Matters of Carmel, we help people of all ages mitigate their concussion-related symptoms. Some patients come to us aware of their concussion and have been experiencing effects. Yet, others step into our office unaware that a concussion they experienced years, or even decades, prior is still having an impact on their physical and mental health. So, we wanted to share how a concussion affects you, both in the short term and the long term.
How Many Concussions Happen Each Year?
As we already discussed, concussions can happen to anyone. Still, they are most common in toddlers and athletes. According to the CDC, the number of concussion-related injuries and deaths rose by 53% between 2006-2014. In 2014 alone, more than 2.87 million emergency department visits were due to a concussion or brain injury. Of those cases, 56,800 resulted in deaths.
Furthermore, the CDC also estimates that nearly 812,000 children under the age of 17 were treated for concussions in combination with other injuries, often related to sports. Many children and athletes suffer from side effects that last only a few days, but others have symptoms that linger for the rest of their lives. At Grey Matters of Carmel, we want to change that.
What are the Short-Term Effects?
Following a concussion, many people experience headaches and confusion. Most people assume that for a concussion to be apparent, the person must lose consciousness. But that’s not true. A majority of concussions will not result in loss of consciousness, but will still have significant symptoms immediately following the injury. Some people will have no memory of the incident. Others will experience the following symptoms immediately or in the days that follow:
- Brain fog
- Delayed response to questions
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Light and sound sensitivity
- Slurred speech
If a concussion occurs in a toddler or young child, these symptoms can manifest differently, often leading parents to wonder what is wrong with their child. If your child has suffered a fall and bumped their head recently, you might find that they are:
- Tired and cranky more often
- Crying excessively
- Losing balance while walking
- Eating or sleeping irregularly
These are all common signs that a concussion has occurred and that you need to closely monitor your child.
What are the Long-Term Effects?
While most concussions resolve on their own, others can permanently alter your brain’s structure and chemical balance. When this happens, you might notice side effects of your concussion lasting longer. While most short-term effects go away after about four weeks, some people experience long-term effects up to eight weeks or more. Some of these long-term effects include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory problems
- Irritability or personality changes
- Sleep disturbances
- Depression or other mental illnesses
- Smell and taste disorders
While these long-term effects are rare, they do happen, especially if you’re in a position where multiple concussions are common. Concussions sustained to developing brains can not only affect a child’s learning abilities in school, but it can also change their behavior and affect them well into adulthood.
Mitigate a Concussion with Grey Matters
Mitigating the effects and symptoms of a concussion requires a more in-depth look at where the injury occurred and how it’s changed the brain’s neural pathways. Here at Grey Matters of Carmel, we use qEEGs to get a full picture of your brain, mapping out where exactly your symptoms are coming from and how our neurofeedback training can help. Following your brain map, we develop a specialized treatment plan that targets the brain wave imbalance and guide you through brain exercises to correct those imbalances. Just like how the concussion changed your brain’s structure, our therapy does the same, but without the jolt or blow to the head.