Understanding Concussion and the Potential Role of Neurostimulation

Although every state has some level of concussion laws in place, concussions remain a common sports injury for both adult and adolescent athletes. The Brain Injury Institute estimates that nearly 3 million athletes sustain concussions each year.

Any concussion — whether you lose consciousness or not — is a serious injury. Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury. 

At the Brain Health Center, our board-certified psychiatrist Jacob Bishop, MD, and board-certified neuropsychologist Peter Gager, PhD put your brain health first, whether you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or mental health concerns. 

In this article, we cover the basics of concussions and how the brain is affected by them

Any blow to the head can cause a concussion. Although football is notorious for its concussion rates, it’s not the only sport in which athletes can hurt their head. Due to the nature of high-contact sports, injuries are more likely, including head injuries.

Symptoms of concussion

The most common signs of concussion include:

While it’s possible to lose consciousness, you can have a concussion without losing consciousness. 

Recovering from a concussion

Recovering from a concussion varies from person to person. Your overall health and whether you had any previous brain injuries affect your recovery. For example, a high school athlete may have a longer recovery period compared to a college athlete.

According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, most people with a concussion experience symptoms for about 7-10 days after their concussion with a full recovery around the three-month mark.

Not everyone who has a concussion sees their symptoms fade in the weeks after the injury. Some people experience concussion symptoms for months (or longer). When this happens, it’s called persistent post-concussive symptoms, which include:

Persistent post-concussive symptoms can also include anxiety, loss of concentration, and insomnia.

About 33% of children diagnosed with a concussion reported persistent post-concussive symptoms, including lasting psychological effects and behavior problems.

Link between concussions and psychological effects

Concussions — even mild ones — injure your brain. In some cases, experts believe that psychological effects and long-lasting concussion symptoms occur when the initial injury causes structural damage to the brain. 

Brain injuries can disrupt the nerve’s messaging system as well as contribute to issues with memory, reflexes, judgment, and muscle coordination.

The symptoms of persistent post-concussive symptoms overlap with other psychological conditions, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. These overlapping symptoms include sleeping problems, headaches, and dizziness.  

Exploring the potential role of neurostimulation

If you or your child has suffered a concussion while playing sports, avoid participating in that sport until you’ve healed. Second (or third) concussions can be permanently disabling if you’re still healing from the first injury.

But you don’t have to navigate your recovery alone. At the Brain Health Center, we can assess and manage your concussion as part of an interdisciplinary team alongside your coach and/or primary care provider. 

We’re here to answer your questions, especially about the potential role of neurostimulation in your overall recovery plan. 

At the Brain Health Center, we provide cutting-edge psychiatric treatment for a wide range of mental health disorders. Among our treatments is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). 

To learn more about the off-label use of TMS therapy, call us today to make an appointment at our Lexington, Kentucky, office.

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