Heads Up! 6 Concussion Myths
Over the years, our understanding of concussions has evolved. Yet, there are still a number of misconceptions out there. That is why we’ve compiled this list of common myths here so you can armor yourself with the knowledge you need to best protect your brain.
Myth#1: Concussions are rare
As many as 3.8 million people experience concussions during sports and recreational activities annually in the United States. These numbers are likely underestimated as many concussions are never reported.
Myth #2: You have to get hit directly in the head
Concussions happen when the brain is shaken; either from an incident where the head is directly hit, or during rapid movement changes such as whiplash. This hitting or shaking of the head can cause injury to any part of the brain, resulting in changes in the brain’s chemistry or function. That means that any situation where your head is impacted OR sustains whiplash, like during a car crash, fall, or indirect blow to another body part, can cause brain trauma.
Myth #3: You only need to worry if you lose consciousness
Less than 10% of concussions involve a loss of consciousness. This is perhaps why many concussions are never reported. But even if you do not lose consciousness, the effects can still be serious and may require evaluation. Symptoms can be immediate or evolve over time, and can be just as severe.
Myth #4: All concussions are essentially the same
Everyone’s injury and chemistry is unique and, depending on the part of the brain affected, many different temporary or permanent problems with brain function can occur. Recovery can take several weeks to months or even years, depending on the severity of the injury and personal factors such as age and health status. That’s why it’s important to work with a specialist who can deliver the right treatment for you and your injury.
Myth #5: Rest is the only way to treat a concussion
Recent research has shown that the “rest in a dark room” approach can be appropriate in the short term after a head injury, but may result in a delayed return to normal function when compared to an individualized, multi-disciplinary approach to concussion treatment. A PT specializing in concussion can help manage your rest and identify an optimal activity and progression for your individual situation.
Myth #6: Concussions aren’t a big deal
Every concussion is considered a serious injury by health care providers. Concussions, particularly undiagnosed ones that compound on one another without proper treatment, can result in long-term permanent brain damage or even death.
The good news is that these risks can be minimized by immediate and appropriate treatment. A physical therapist specializing in concussion management can assess symptoms to determine if a concussion is present, and treat your injury by guiding you through a safe and personalized recovery program.