Typically caused by a violent blow to the head or body, a concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can cause significant issues for patients, ranging from headaches and dizziness to problems with balance, coordination, and memory. Anyone from children to seniors can be at risk for a concussion; however, it’s most common in athletes who participate in contact sports as well as young children and infants.

If left untreated, a concussion can lead to life-long issues ranging from physical difficulties to mental and emotional problems. If you believe you’re suffering from a concussion, don’t wait — reach out to the concussion screening and treatment specialists at NJ Spine and Wellness. We feature locations throughout the state of New Jersey in:

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion?

The typical signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Blurry vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Depression/sadness

Concussions are also common in infants and toddlers; since they generally can’t say how they feel, you should look for these telltale signs if you suspect your child has sustained a concussion:

  • Vomiting
  • Bumps on the head
  • Crankiness
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Won’t nurse or eat
  • Won’t stop crying
  • Blank stare

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately from NJ Spine and Wellness. Our team of concussion screening and treatment doctors can help diagnose your condition and recommend a suitable course of action.

What Is the Protocol for Concussions?

Since a concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it’s a serious injury and needs to be treated as such. Consequently, there are safety protocols in place, as well as concussion testing and screening processes, that aim to establish baselines, effectively diagnose concussions, and prevent athletes from returning to play too soon and risking further injury. NJ Spine and Wellness’ concussion screening and treatment team features licensed athletic trainers who are certified in evaluation and testing; the athletic training team also closely monitors all concussion therapies as well.

We follow the Zurich Return-to-Play Protocol for concussions, which outlines the following:

  1. No activity complete physical and cognitive rest
  2. Light aerobic exercise
  3. Sport-specific exercise
  4. Non-contact training drills
  5. Full contact practice
  6. Return to play normal gameplay

How We Test And Treat Our Patients

We utilize pre-season baseline screening, including:

  • Impact Computerized Concussion Test
  • Balance Error Scoring System (BESS)
  • Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC)

Following a concussive event, we’ll perform repeat testing that:

  • Includes customized care plan that’s sensitive to the athlete’s condition
  • Is closely monitored by athletic trainers and physical therapists
  • Allows for safe return to sport

By offering these baseline tests, we can compare them with post-injury evaluations to document whether the patient’s brain has returned to normal. From there, the concussion screening and treatment team at NJ Spine and Wellness can make informed decisions about treatment options and determine when it’s safe for the athlete to return to their activity or sport.

Post-Concussion Syndrome Treatments

It’s critical to remember that no two concussions are alike; as such, each and every concussive event should be treated on a case-by-case basis. For just about all concussion treatments, you should avoid medications that can increase bleeding, especially aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium; for intense pain, acetaminophen may be used. It’s also vital to stay hydrated during your concussion therapy period, so make sure to drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids.

Most concussion doctors, neurologists, and other specialists typically recommend both physical and mental rest as the first form of recovery; however, too much rest can actually lengthen the recovery period. While it’s generally a good idea to include some activities during your recovery period, limit ones that make your symptoms worse. Some of these activities include:

  • Physical activity
  • Watching TV
  • Playing video games
  • Listening to music, especially at loud volumes
  • Reading
  • Texting or looking at a phone screen

While not all patients will suffer from post-concussion syndrome, some will experience longer-lasting effects such as:

  • Severe headaches or migraines
  • Amnesia
  • Fatigue
  • Mental fogginess
  • Dizziness
  • Problems getting restful sleep
  • Cognitive issues involving thinking and concentration
  • Psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, and irritability

Patients suffering from post-concussion syndrome may be prescribed migraine or pain medications; in certain cases, a neurologist or psychiatrist may be involved to treat the symptoms associated with this condition. Post-concussion syndrome treatments can also include psychotherapy or antidepressants.

Contact Us for More Information

From concussion testing to treatments and everything in between, our team is committed to helping you get back in the game and Get Better Faster. For more information on the concussion screening and treatments at NJ Spine and Wellness, schedule a consultation at one of our New Jersey locations in East Brunswick, Freehold, Matawan, or Old Bridge today.