Concussion Treatment in Santa Monica, CA
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is typically caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. Loss of consciousness occurs in severe concussions, but most people experience a concussion without losing consciousness, making it difficult to diagnose without proper training.
Diagnosis of a concussion is usually based on neurological signs. Common symptoms of a concussion include:
- Memory loss
- Impaired judgment
- Poor reflexes
- Abnormal speech
- Loss of balance
- Reduced muscle coordination
Some concussions are more serious than others, but there is no such thing as a minor concussion. In the majority of cases, a single concussion does not cause permanent damage for patients who receive proper treatment. When someone experiences his or her first concussion, it's important to understand that the next concussion does not have to be very strong for its effects to be permanently disabling or deadly.
How are Concussions Diagnosed?
Patients who experience blows to the head, neck or upper body and who are believed to be suffering from a concussion should visit a doctor. The physician will be able to evaluate the patient's symptoms, order imaging tests, review the patient's history and conduct cognitive and physical exams to properly diagnose the condition.
During the exam, the patient's concussion exposure, medical history and family history are all considered to create a more complete picture of the severity of the condition. The physician will test cognition by asking a series of questions designed to evaluate the patient's comprehension and memory. Next, he or she will conduct a physical exam that includes several tests to evaluate vision, strength, balance and coordination. Some of these tests include:
- Assessment of neurological functions like reflexes and mental status.
- Examination of the patient for other associated injuries that are common with head trauma, such as a neck injury or skull fracture.
- Inspection for bleeding from the ears or nose, as well as bruising around the eyes or behind the ears—these symptoms are often associated with certain types of fractures.
If necessary, the doctor may recommend brain imaging using a cranial computerized tomography scan (CT scan). This technology takes X-rays of the head, and a computer reassembles the information into images that give the doctor the ability to see inside the skull. CT scans provide a detailed image that can indicate evidence of bleeding under the skull or within the brain tissue itself.
How are Concussions Treated?
After a patient is diagnosed with a concussion, the doctor will recommend daily monitoring and an abundance of rest. The most crucial part of recovery is the first 24 to 48 hours following a concussion. In addition to avoiding physical exertion during this time, the patient should also avoid electronics and social activities until the symptoms fully subside. As symptoms improve, patients can gradually add more activities that require mental concentration, such as playing video games, watching TV or reading. Some physicians may also use the following to treat concussions:
- Prolotherapy : This holistic procedure involves a series of injections into damaged ligaments, tendons and joints that produce a healing response within the damaged tissue, ultimately leading to repair of the damage.
- Platelet-rich plasma: The physician extracts a small amount of a patient's blood to develop a concentration of platelets and growth factors naturally found in the body that are then injected into the damaged area to promote healing.
- Stem cell therapy: Stem cells are drawn from the patient's own body and are injected into the treatment area.
- Hyperbaric oxygen: This therapy is used to greatly increase oxygen uptake to the brain, nervous system, skeletal muscle and all body tissues.
- Supplements: A supplement program can be used to reduce oxidative stress and improve mitochondrial function.
After the initial treatment, headaches can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers that contain acetaminophen. Other pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding. The patient should also return for follow-up care with his or her physician. These appointments are important because some more serious concussion symptoms—such as memory deficits, personality changes and cognitive problems—may not be apparent at the time of the initial diagnosis.
In cases where the concussion occurs during a sports-related event, the patient must communicate with his or her physician throughout the recovery process before receiving permission to return to physical activity. Resuming sports too soon can increase the risk of a second concussion that can cause potentially fatal brain damage. Experts agree that adults, children and adolescents should seek medical care for any type of head trauma, especially concussions.
Request more information about concussion treatment today. Call (424) 365-1800 or contact Vitality Integrative Medicine online.
Vitality Integrative Medicine
Address4849 Van Nuys Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
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