Concussion/Traumatic Brain Injury
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Concussion, or mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) results from forceful contact to your head, neck or body that shifts or twists your brain inside your skull, causing damage to the delicate structures of your brain. Traumatic brain injury can result from participation in sports, whiplash injuries, accidental falls or blows to you head, neck or body.
Loss of consciousness is not always experienced as a result of the concussion and the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury are variable. Symptoms of a concussion include confusion, disorientation, loss of balance or unsteadiness, dizziness, headache, visual disturbances, difficulty with concentration or memory, sensitivity to light or sound, changes in behavior, sleep disturbances and others. Symptoms can vary greatly in their intensity and how long they last.
Symptoms of concussion occur often without any detectable changes on standard diagnostic imaging, such as MRI/CT. Symptoms may resolve completely over time, usually within 3 months, but symptoms that interfere with activities of daily living should be evaluated and treated if necessary. If significant impairment of your brain is suspected intervention during the appropriate time of the healing process can help greatly, improving the relief of symptoms and function of your brain.
A variety of neuropsychological and physical performance measures have been developed to aid in the diagnosis and management of concussion because the symptoms of a concussion are often subtle and difficult to detect by standard examination procedures. The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT2/3); Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT); and the King-Devick Test are among tests presently used to assess the effects of traumatic brain injury.
None of these tests are intended to be “stand alone” tests for concussion diagnosis because the effects of a concussion involve brainstem and subcortical areas, not only cortical areas that deal with memory, recall and reaction time. A professional trained in the diagnosis of concussion should evaluate you thoroughly to properly assess the extent of your brain injury.
We utilize a comprehensive, layered approach to the diagnosis and management of concussions. It is ideal to have everyone at risk for concussion establish a baseline of their neurologic function. Our neurologic examination looks at how the different aspects of your brain are functioning. We provide advanced testing technology by using the most sensitive and earliest measures of abnormal neurologic function, computerized balance testing, RightEye Visual Eye Tracking Technology, Quantitative EEG and Computerized Performance Testing for Cognitive Functional Assessment.
RightEye is used in aiding the assessment of the oculomotor system (nervous system control of moving your eyes) and the function of those areas of your brain controlling those movements. Eye activities, such as saccades, pursuits and gaze stabilization, may be abnormal after an injury and can indicate the areas of your brain that are functioning abnormally.
Computerized Balance Assessment testing is performed in our office for assessing how well your brain is perceiving your body position in space.
Your perception of your body position in space is what your brain uses to build brain maps of where your body parts are in relation each other and to your environment. Your brain map is built on the information it receives from all of the nervous system receptors (sight, touch, hearing, inner ear balance organs) and the map is continuously updated.
Based on neuroscientific research Computerized Performance Testing for Cognitive Functional Assessment contains standardized neurocognitive tests that provide information on key cognitive measures, such as verbal and visual memory, reaction time, motor control and coordination, attention/shifting attention and executive function. A Concussion Symptom Scale helps to detail and track symptoms during recovery.
Without the use of objective measurement techniques, it may be very difficult to distinguish between these brain areas and monitor your response to treatment. You may read more about our advanced diagnostic testing by clicking here.
Clinical laboratory testing may be necessary to identify underlying metabolic conditions (such as inflammation, cortisol levels, anemia, dysglycemia, etc) that may be contributing to your concussion symptoms.
Your functional neurologic examination and diagnostic testing aids in identifying those areas of your brain being affected, and in applying the right mix of individualized, specific neurologic therapies to create improvement.