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Sports Medicine

Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Concussions are the most common form of traumatic brain injury (or TBI). The brain is cushioned in the skull by spinal fluid that gently absorbs the impact of everyday activities. However, if a significant force of trauma occurs to the head, this can have a moderate to severe impact on the brain.

Traumatic brain injury is characterized as a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Many events can cause traumatic brain injury including falls, sports injuries, and car accidents. While some people need immediate medical care following a traumatic brain injury, many people do not experience severe symptoms initially.

How can I recognize a concussion?

Look for one or more of these symptoms that could indicate a concussion:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Changes in vision
  • Pressure in the head
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Light or noise sensitivity
  • Neck pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Seizures or convulsions

Over time, patients may report new symptoms that can also be linked to a concussion, such as:

  • Changes in taste and/or smell
  • Feeling foggy
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Low energy
  • Confusion
  • Sadness, nervousness, or anxiety
  • How is a concussion diagnosed?

    Ogden Clinic physicians use a variety of tests to evaluate patients who may have experienced a concussion. They may choose to test the patient’s memory, vision, concentration, hearing, balance, coordination, strength, sensation, and reflexes. Not all head injuries require imaging like a CT scan or an MRI; your physician will determine if additional tests are needed.

    How is a concussion treated?

    If a concussion is sustained, treatment should be sought promptly to avoid future cognitive, physical, and/or behavioral deficits. Our Northern Utah sports medicine physicians are trained to recognize the symptoms of traumatic brain injury and create a comprehensive treatment plan specific to each patient’s needs. Treatment plans can include vestibular, manual, or cardiovascular therapy.

    Vestibular therapy is related to the inner ear and its connections to the brain. Your sports medicine specialist may use cranial release, myofascial release, or muscle energy techniques to restore mobility to the vestibular system.

    Manual physical therapy also includes the techniques above with the goal of decreasing cranio-cervical dysfunction in the patient’s head and neck.

    Aerobic and cardiovascular therapy helps to restore normal cardiovascular activity following head injury. Your Ogden Clinic sports medicine specialist will help establish guidelines to resume physical activity safely and gradually.

    Concussions can be scary but treatment is possible and starts with a visit to a professional. If you or a loved one suspects that a concussion has been sustained, call our office today to schedule an evaluation.