10 Myths About Concussions
There are a number of reasons why myths are propagated, with one of the biggest reasons being to either dissuade someone from doing something that you don’t want them to, maybe because it is harmful to them, or to encourage them to do something that may be beneficial to them, although it isn’t fun to do, such as eating veggies. It is a common tool used by many parents on their children out there. The problem comes when there are myths with the potential to cause damage, such as myths surrounding concussion. Over the last couple of years, talk on concussions has begun to go mainstream, and there is a lot of information on the same out there; some of them facts, some myths that need debunking. Given that concussions are traumatic brain injuries; it is important that these myths don’t persist given the potential they have in terms of causing major damage. This is where this article comes in as it will attempt to highlight 10 myths about concussion as well as looking to debunk them.
- One of the biggest myths out there about concussions is that for you to sustain a concussion, you have to experience a loss of consciousness. This is false as loss of consciousness is not the only sign of concussions, with very few cases of concussion actually involving a loss of consciousness. Symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, headache, problems with balance, sensitivity to light and noise among others are other signs that may indicate a concussion.
- Another myth as far as concussions are concerned is that dilated pupils are a sign of a concussion. The pupils, as is explained by the gurus over at frontlineer.com, are not reliable when looking to diagnose concussions, especially when both pupils are dilated equally. This is because dilation of pupils may be as a result of the triggering of the flight or fight response due to stress, anxiety and so forth. If one pupil is more dilated than the other however, then it could indicate an injury to the brain, which can be due to concussion.
- Another big myth out there as far as concussions are concerned is that you have to be hit on the head for you to sustain a concussion. This is false. While it is true that majority of cases of concussions are as a result to a blow to the head, you can also sustain a concussion if you suffer great force somewhere else and it is transmitted to the head without involving a direct hit to the head such as a blow to the neck or chest as well as any sudden movement, as is the case in whiplash injuries, that cause the brain to be jolted inside the skull.
- Yet another myth as far as concussion is concerned is that concussion symptoms come immediately after the hit, which is also not true, as this is not always the case. There are instances, as per the subject matter experts over at frontlineer.com, where concussion symptoms emerge 24 or even 48 hours after the knock. This means that you sustain a head injury, or any other injury that may cause concussion, and you feel okay in the aftermath, only to develop concussions symptoms later on.
- Another myth about concussions is that they can be ruled out through radiology, and if a CT scan comes back normal then it means you are in the clear, which is also false. Given that concussions are functional brain injuries, the damage can’t be seen through a CT scan, an MRI or x-ray, and can only be diagnosed with the help of the symptoms one is presenting with as well as the severity of the injury sustained. Radiology tests will only diagnose complications due to concussion such as bleeding in the brain.
- Another concussion myth is that concussion patients should be woken up every 20 minutes, which is false, as per the gurus over at frontlineer.com. This is false as, on the contrary, getting plenty of rest and sleep is key to allow the brain to heal and recover. One should therefore get plenty of rest and sleep after they have been assessed and attended to by a medical professional after suffering concussion.
- There is another myth about concussions that states that someone with a concussion should stay away from all pain meds, which is also false. The reason this myth has been propagated is because there is a worry that these meds will mask concussion symptoms preventing accurate diagnosis. However, gentle over-the-counter pain meds such as Tylenol can be safely used to treat pain due to concussion, although they should be taken a few hours after the concussion so as to allow medical professionals to rule out brain bleeds. Any over-the-counter medication that may thin blood should be avoided within the first 12 hours. After this period, when brain bleeds have been ruled out or their threat has passed, then any over-the-counter pain meds works. Opioids shouldn’t come into the discussion as far as concussions are concerned.
- Another myth out there as far as concussions go is that one can recover from concussion after 24 hours, which as per the experts over at frontlineer.com, is false. Depending on the severity, there are some concussions that don’t heal fully and one may experience effects long after the initial hit. In most cases however, if you follow the recommended recovery protocols, you should make a full recovery, even though it may take more than 24 hours.
- Yet another myth concerning concussions is that the protective equipment such as helmets and other head gear can prevent concussion. This is also not true as though there are certain helmets that are designed to lessen the impact of concussions, helmets and head gear are meant to prevent injuries to the skull and not concussions. We have also seen that you can suffer from a concussion without getting directly hit on the head. You should however ensure you wear a helmet when participating in certain sports to protect your head.
- Another myth about concussions is the one that states that if a person suffers concussion on the field while playing sports and loses consciousness, they should be taken off the field immediately for observation and assessment. This is also not true and in fact could be very dangerous to the injured party. Such a person should be assessed by a medical professional on the field, following the right protocols, to rule out or in neck or spinal cord injuries as well as ensuring that they are breathing fine, and have a stable pulse before being moved.
The above discussion will hopefully help you debunk any myths surrounding concussion and help ensure your safety, with more on this and other related topics to be found over at the excellent frontlineer.com