What is Concussion?
A concussion is when your brain gets injured, which may occur after an impact to your head. Concussions are also known as mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs). While most concussions aren’t life-threatening, they can still cause serious symptoms, so it’s best to get all concussions checked by your doctor. In this article we’ll discuss some of the symptoms, causes, and treatments for concussion, and how Chinese Medicine can help.
Symptoms of concussion may arise immediately, or hours to days after the impact. Common symptoms include:
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Cognitive issues like memory difficulties and trouble concentrating
- Sudden mood changes, such as increased irritability, anxiety, or sadness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Eye pain and vision issues
- Sleep difficulties
Sometimes concussion can cause loss of consciousness. While not all concussions are life-threatening, they may cause symptoms that require medical attention. If someone has had a concussion and has symptoms such as seizures, difficulty waking them up, consistent vomiting, or has had previous concussions, seek emergency medical attention.
What Causes Concussion?
Concussions can occur after an impact that affects your brain. This could be when something forcefully hits your head, during a fall, or in whiplash situations where your head is slammed backwards and forwards abruptly. These situations can cause your brain to slam against the inside of your skull, causing damage to your brain and its surrounding membrane.
How Can I Prevent Concussion?
You can take steps to reduce your risk of concussion by wearing close-fitting helmets in sports or when riding scooters, motorbikes, and bicycles. You can also help to prevent damage from concussions by not participating in sports and other high-risk activities until your concussion has fully healed. In these cases, a second concussion can increase your risk of severe brain swelling, which can be serious or even fatal.
After any head injury, it’s best to take a trip to the doctor. Even if you aren’t experiencing many symptoms, your doctor will need to evaluate how severe the damage is. They can also give you instructions on how to recover properly from your injury.
Resting is an important part of concussion treatment. This includes limiting your movement, reducing screen time, and minimising exposure to light and loud sounds. Keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water, taking a break from activities like sports, work, or school, and avoiding alcohol are also key aspects of concussion treatment. Some people may also prefer to take pain medications to help with headaches after a concussion. Additionally, you should also avoid driving any vehicle after a concussion, as your coordination, balance, and focus may be affected.
How Can Chinese Medicine Treat Concussion?
Chinese Medicine is a great way to treat concussions, as it can help to relieve symptoms like pain and nausea, and can help speed up your recovery. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain is often treated by relieving stagnation of blood or energy (“qi”). This can be done through techniques like acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. In fact, one study found that, “Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, and Tai Chi Chuan were found to have beneficial effects in patients with TBI.”
In acupuncture, very fine needles are inserted into exact points on your body, which link to different energy meridians. By accessing these meridians through acupuncture, your Chinese Medicine practitioner can adjust the flow of energy and blood. This can help to relieve symptoms like pain and stiffness. Researchers have found that, “Acupuncture also has been indicated as having a positive therapeutic effect on other mTBI-related symptoms such as headaches, neck pain, and nausea.28, 29, 30, 31”.
Overall, concussions may occur after impacts to the head. All head injuries should be assessed by a doctor, as they can sometimes be serious. Most concussions are not life-threatening, but can cause symptoms like headaches, nausea, and cognitive problems. Treatments often include rest and pain medication. However, Chinese Medicine is also a great treatment for concussion, as it can reduce pain and boost your recovery naturally.
Gergen D. M. (2015). Management of mild traumatic brain injury symptoms in a 31-year-old woman using cervical manipulation and acupuncture: A case report. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 14(3), 220–224. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2015.08.006
Gotter, A. (2019, August 7). Concussion Recovery 101. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/concussion-recovery
Zimlich, R. & Collins, D. (2022, March 1). Concussion: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, & Treatment. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/concussion