1. You have to hit your head to get a concussion
Many of our patients don’t hit their heads and nevertheless sustain a concussion. A whiplash mechanism of energy can nevertheless generate enough force to cause a concussion. One’s brain is floating in cerebrospinal fluid and so a whiplash injury can cause it to shake/twist and abut against the skull. Although most consider a force of 95g to be a threshold for concussions, there are many situations of concussions with a lesser force and many situations of those who persevere greater forces and don’t sustain concussions, e.g. Football players frequently confront blows of over 100g of force. The details of the discrepancy are not thoroughly known however. So if the force transmitted to the brain is sufficiently sudden, whether on hits the head or not, a concussion may occur.
2. After a concussion, you should rest in a dark room until all of your symptoms go away
While many patients feel less vigorous after a concussion and rest is promoted, they shouldn’t feel obligated to stay in a dark room to “heal their concussions”. In fact, after the first 2-3 days, studies are showing that light physical activity and cognitive responsibilities can help accelerate healing. Withdrawing from activities of life thoroughly, and furthermore, staying in a dark room, will have a disturbing effect:
• It can create feelings of loneliness, sadness and boredom.
• It will disrupt cues for natural sleep cycles.
• It will cause neck and somatic soreness. It will also not provide
• It will cause you forgo many opportunities for cognitive stimulation that can help you retrieve.
Sometimes, patients are sensitive to light. This may be due to the brightness of the light or the kind of lighting (e.g. fluorescent lighting). It is best to avoid these as they aggravate your symptoms and may hinder your involvement in other therapeutic activities. It is best to seek the help of a concussion expert to guide you on your road to recovery.
3. If you speculate a concussion, you should go to the ER.
There are certain criteria that call for an ER visit:
• Have a headache that gets worse; or a new kind of headache; or a harsh headache
• Are very drowsy or can’t be awakened
• Can’t recognize people, places or can’t remember new events
• Have repeated vomiting (more than twice)
• Behave unusually or seem confused; are very irritable
• Have seizures (arms and legs jerk uncontrollably)
• Have ineffective or numb arms or legs
• Are unsteady on your feet
• Have slurred speech
• Have persistent harsh neck pain
• Have double vision or clouded vision
• Lose consciousness
• Bleeding or constant leaking of fluid from the ears or nose
• If you notice any signs of symptoms that concern you and you are unsure about their importance
Generally these will occur in the first 4 hours but can rarely occur within the first day or two. Otherwise, it is to your advantage to be seen by a concussion expert early on to set you on the right course to recovery.
Our York vicinity medical clinic offers coordinated concussion assessments and therapy for those seeking a post-concussion syndrome specialist in Toronto and the surrounding area. Our Aurora physiotherapy & rehabilitation centre offers integrative vision, vestibular, autonomic and musculoskeletal rehabilitation. Currently we have two York vicinity physiotherapy offices: one in Aurora and one in Thornhill, more centrally located for those seeking sports physiotherapy in Vaughan or physiotherapy in Markham.