Complete Concussion Management in Burlington
An Issue to Take Seriously
For a very long time now, researchers and scientists have been clamoring for the attention of the general public with regards to the severe implications and consequences of concussion.
Worryingly, we are brought up with the assumption that a bang to the head that doesn't immediately require a trip to the hospital can be ignored.
This is especially alarming for children that engage in contact sports without proper supervision. A 2018 report by the Government of Canada on concussion in sport, in which data from the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS) was analyzed, stated:
Approximately 46,000 diagnosed concussions in 2016-17 by hospital emergency departments for children and youth 5-19 years of age.
Here at Pillars of Wellness, we take pride in the fact that we have top-notch professional neuropsychologists, neurologists, and most importantly, have successfully managed and treated thousands of concussion cases!
Signs and Symptoms
The post-traumatic signs or indicator for a traumatic brain impact can be grouped into four categories that we are aware of before our diagnosis and treatment.
We understand your plight and fears, be it as as a youth with an ambition to play at the CFL, an adult engaging in regular physical activity or as a parent of a child who plays sport.
That is why we take extreme care in screening and evaluating all your signs with a symptom checklist, performing an assessment of the time of injury, and carry out further neuro-cognitive testing alongside re-evaluating and analyzing your medical history.
Observation and Evaluation
Depending on the severity of your brain injury, our practitioners might insist that you be admitted for better monitoring, observation and treatment of your brain injury. We make sure to check on our patients by the hour. And we do this to ensure that your symptoms aren't worsening and most importantly because your recovery is of utmost priority to us.
The first thing we do at Pillars of Wellness when evaluating our patients is to examine the detailed history of injury critically, perform a physical exam, and check for cognitive function and balance. We do all this in a bid to rule out severe injuries to the neurological structures, which may include but are not limited to:
- intracerebral haemorrhages
- epidural haemorrhages
- subdural haemorrhages
- subarachnoid haemorrhages
- skull fractures
- cervical spine injury
As these acute injuries require immediate medical attention and in some cases, surgical intervention.
The major symptoms we are usually on the lookout for are alterations in consciousness, loss of senses or motor control, abnormal posturing, and neck pain.
There are two significant symptoms we pay attention to during our evaluation process. They are loss of consciousness and an indication of post-traumatic amnesia. These two signs usually signify the presence of neurocranial irregularities on cranial tomography.
Our physical examinations also include full neurological evaluations of twelve cranial nerves, strength extremity and touch sensation in other to further rule out cardinal deficits following injury.
Subsequently, previous injury of neurological or psychological disorders, family history of migraines and headaches also help us in arriving at a more conclusive prognosis.
Once we have eradicated any severe or potentially dangerous injury to the brain, we then go ahead in deducing an accurate diagnosis. Which takes into consideration symptoms that you are experiencing (usually a varying amount of dizziness or fogginess with varying intensity of headaches) and an objective measure of cognitive functions and balance.
Here are some exams that our practitioners may perform on you, depending on the time and magnitude of your traumatic brain injury and the severity of your symptoms. This involves the testing of cognitive functions not as a means of curing the brain trauma, but rather as a means to determine or characterize cognitive functions:
- processing time
In relation to an acceptable baseline for a normal individual, involving the use of various types of testing such as Paced Auditory Serial Attention Test, Trail Making and Digit Symbol Substitution. Which are used to measure:
- Slowed reaction times and increased variability in response
- Reduced attention and ability to process information
- Impaired memory and learning
- Reduced planning and ability to switch mental set
Testing of Balance and Gait
Part of the dire consequences of receiving a blow to the head is dizziness and an inability to maintain postural stability arising from interference on the central integration of vestibular, somatosensory and visual information being processed by the brain. Unstable balance has been distinctly noted as part of the symptoms of head trauma, be it mild, moderate or acute.
The reports of a CT scan which uses X-rays to make a cross-sectional view of the brain, if you have them, helps us in making a detailed assessment of intracranial haemorrhage, epidural and subdural bleeding of the brain within two days of the suspected brain trauma.
MRI also has a broader range of soft-tissue contrast and is even more sensitive to distinct structural abnormalities in the brain. That is why these reports are valuable for us in seeing if the symptoms of our patients have worsened or if the test is being carried out two days after the sustained injury.Book An Appointment
At Pillars of Wellness, the prominent and most significant advice our practitioners will give to you is REST---as this is the bedrock of all concussion management and recovery.
We advise and insist that all our patients rest from any strenuous physical and mental activities following the occurrence of a traumatic brain injury. This is especially true for athletes engaged in contact sports, or sports with massive potential for a head injury.
The reason behind this constant warning is that there is a likelihood of you developing what we call a second-impact syndrome (SIS) which in most cases can lead to prolonged symptoms, delayed recovery and in most cases permanent brain damage.
Serious care should be taken in cases that involve teenagers or kids because at this stage the brain isn't fully developed yet and that is why concussion recovery in younger individuals takes more time than it does with adults.
When in the resting phase, it is advised that you stay away from watching television, or using your cellular phones, reading, texting and in some cases---depending on the severity of your concussion---our practitioners will recommend that you completely avoid school and any form of school work, pending the time all symptoms have completely subsided.
Here at Pillars of Wellness, our practitioners work closely with you in gradually re-introducing you back to your work or physical activities with close monitoring and evaluation until you are completely fit to carry on with your daily activities without any health risk.
One area most other clinics and hospitals don't pay much attention to is the area of pain relief medications. Now it is understandable that during the recovery phase, you might have to go through a varying amount of headaches and in some cases, migraines.
Which is why we take extreme care in prescribing pain relief medications that not only helps in alleviating the pain but also ones that don't negate the efficacy of your recovery or worse still precipitate a neural breakdown---(this is particularly true when you are already on a different medication).
Preparing for Your Appointment
We can't stress enough the importance of being evaluated by a doctor in the case of a jolt to the head, be a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or more acute brain injury.
You can always call to schedule an appointment, should you be in doubt as to the severity of your brain trauma. Here are a few pointers to help have you better prepared for our appointment.
Before coming to see our practitioners, it is crucial that you or the injured individual stay away from physical or mental activities that might increase the consequences of head injury.
It is important to note that when coming in for a diagnosis, make sure that you have completely stopped participating in any form of sports or activity that puts a strain on your heart, To enable us to come up with a distinctively accurate prognosis. Plus in some cases, signs and symptoms of concussions become apparent after a few hours or days.
If you are particularly worried about some activities or you need some form of clarity as regards what is required of you, then please, by all means, call us to get a better understanding of whatever troubles you.
Make a concise list of all symptoms you or the person in question has been experiencing. A more detailed outline will be given further down the page to help you pinpoint signs of traumatic brain injury.
If possible, write down every medical history you are aware of, whether or not it is relevant or related to the concussion. It is also vital to indicate any ongoing medication pre or post-injury.
You can also come with someone you trust or feel comfortable with (as moral support) because the whole diagnostic experience can be overwhelming for newbies.
A List of Potential Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Is it a concussion?
- what are my chances of full recovery?
- Is it an acute or mild concussion?
- What treatment recommendation do you proffer?
- Will I ever be able to go back to engaging in sports?
- What are the long term effects I should look out for?
- What preventive measures can I apply to avoid such in the future?
- Is it safe to return to school or work?
- How many more of these injuries can I sustain?
- What kind of tests are needed?
- How soon will my symptoms begin to improve?
- Is it safe to operate power equipment?
- Is it safe to drive?
- If I have other medical problems, can they be managed together?
- Will there be a need for specialist consultation, and if so, how much will it cost?
- will my insurance company cover the cost of this consultation in the advent that I choose to opt for it? (you might also want to check with your insurance company)
- what can trigger these symptoms in the future?
If you or a loved one has experienced a concussion or traumatic brain injury and you wish to receive more information and/or make an appointment, please contact us. We are conveniently located in Burlington, Aldershot.