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Concussions: Causes, Impact and Therapy

What is a Concussion and How Does it Happen?

A concussion is a type of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) caused by a sudden blow or jolt to the head. Concussions are quite serious in nature and they can be mild or severe. According to the CDC, “there were approximately 223,135 TBI-related hospitalizations in 2019, and over 69,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States in 2021.” Head injuries resulting in concussions can occur while participating in team or competitive sports like cheerleading, gymnastics, skiing, and especially contact sports like football, hockey or boxing, and other types of accidents, but can also be due to emotional factors. Sudden jarring movements of the head can actually create chemical changes that can be quite damaging to the brain cells. A concussion diagnosis could be missed in older adults since the the symptoms can overlap those of other medical conditions.

Here are some additional statistics related to concussion and traumatic brain injury:

  • A Traumatic Brain Injury occurs every 15 minutes.

  • 1.5 million Americans suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries.

  • The CDC estimates that 1.6-3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur each year in the U.S.

  • 80% of professional boxers get a concussion.

  • 10% of all hockey players suffer concussion.

Recognizing the Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion:

It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and get proper, immediate medical attention should they occur. According to the The National Library of Medicine, signs and symptoms of concussions fall into the following four categories:

  1. Physical (somatic); Headache, blurry vision, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, noise and light sensitivity, problems with balance, and early-onset nausea or vomiting.

  2. Cognitive: difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly, difficulty retaining new information, and feeling slowed down.

  3. Emotional (affective): Feeling sad or irritable, more emotional, nervous, or anxious.

  4. Sleep: Sleeping more or less than usual, having trouble falling asleep altogether.

Post concussive syndrome:

Concussions typically resolve within 2 weeks or less. In some cases, when concussion symptoms last longer than 2 to 3 months, this may develop into Post Concussive Syndrome. It often presents as depression and anxiety yet it is neither. The more one is concussed, the more likely one will experience post concussive syndrome.

Red Light Therapy for Concussions and to prevent or relieve post concussive syndrome:

Red Light Therapy is a promising, innovative new therapeutic option being used for concussions and post-concussion syndrome. It has been found to be effective in reducing symptoms of cognitive impairment, such as memory loss, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. It can also help to reduce the risk of long-term complications associated with concussions. The Whole Body Red Light Therapy used at The Wellness Center is non-invasive and can be used in combination with other therapies to provide a comprehensive approach to concussion recovery, and there protocols in place that have been beneficial in alleviating many of the symptoms associated with concussion and improve the quality of life.

Further data found in the The National Library of Medicine from June 2021 shared the following: “Six human studies, all case series, with 37 patients in total have been done in Traumatic Brain Injury with various results. Naeser et al. (2011) reported two cases with closed-head TBI that showed significant cognitive improvement and reduced cost of treatment. They then conducted a study in eleven chronic TBI patients. They found improvement in learning ability, which was positively correlated with treatment duration (Naeser et al., 2014). In other case reports, clinical symptoms, including depression, anxiety, headache and insomnia, were reduced after laser therapy (not the same as whole body pods.), which might be associated with increased regional cerebral blood flow (Nawashiro et al., 2012; Henderson and Morries, 2015). Hipskind et al. (2018) investigated its effect on cognitive functional improvement and regional cerebral blood flow in 12 symptomatic military veterans diagnosed with chronic TBI.”

Preventing Concussions in Sports Through Protective Gear & Education

Due to the serious nature and long-term effects of multiple concussions, athletes should take precautions to prevent serious injury. Wearing the right protective gear and being educated on how to protect themselves from head injuries is of significant importance. Helmets must be worn properly and meet certain safety standards to ensure they provide the necessary protection. It is also important to be cognizant of which body movements can increase the risk of a concussion.

That said, coaches, trainers, and referees should also be trained on recognizing the signs of a concussion and how to respond appropriately when one occurs. Being educated about the proper techniques for tackling or checking an opponent safely are important to help reduce risks when playing contact sports.

Concussions are unique, complex and quite serious, and with the cutting-edge innovation of Red Light Therapy, clients are experiencing positive results. The full coverage provided by our Whole Body pods are a safe, effective and non-invasive way to alleviate the symptoms that arise from concussion.

A.J. Harewood

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The information contained in this article, and information curated from third-party links are for informational purposes only and should not be used or interpreted as diagnosis or medial advice. It is your sole responsibility to consult with your medical doctor regarding any therapy plans or complementary care you might be considering for your personal medical care.

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