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Concussions

David N Westerdahl, MD -  - Sports Medicine Physician

Sports Health Northwest, Inc

David N Westerdahl, MD

Sports Medicine Physician & Non-Operative Orthopaedic Specialist located in Portland, OR

Did you experience a head injury?  Was it a fall, an accident, or a sports injury?  Common signs of a concussion also known as a mild Traumatic Brain Injury include headache and dizziness.  Other symptoms may also be present which we’ll review in a moment.  If you or someone you know has experienced a head injury, please encourage them to seek medical care right away.  Even if it seems minor, it is important for a trained health care professional to evaluate a head or brain injured person.  At Sports Health Northwest, we specialize in sports related concussion and identifying and treating the symptoms associated with concussion.  We want to help support you as you recover from a concussion and and get back to the David Westerdahl, MD, FAAFP at Sports Health Northwest, Inc, can help. The sports medicine physician specializes in treating sports injuries including concussion. Call the office located in the Graham Clinic in Portland, Oregon, or contact us online to book an appointment.

Have you experienced a concussion?  Concussion is defined as a transient alteration in brain function without abnormalities on imaging like a CT or MRI, and which symptoms resolve spontaneously.   The CDC defines concussion as “A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.”  Maybe it resulted from a sports related injury such as heading a soccer ball or tackling another football player or started after a ground level fall or an auto accident.  Concussions are common head injuries that affect individuals playing contact sports like soccer and basketball and collision sports like tackle football.  Concussions don’t necessarily require a direct blow to the head as sometimes an injury to other parts of the body such as the torso can transmit enough energy to the brain to result in a concussion.  This is sometimes seen in a motor vehicle accident. 

Concussions can affect both children and adults. Just as a concussion can affect school activity and return to learn for children, concussion can affect an adult for returning to work. 

For children, school is very important in their life and continuing with a regular routine can be helpful during recovery from a concussion.  While at times, it may be important to take frequent breaks and to focus on the classes that are easiest or the child’s favorite while they recover from a concussion, gradually increasing the amount of school related mental effort on homework and concentrating in class can help with the child’s recovery.  It is important to work with your sports doctor or pediatrician on establishing a return to learn program after a concussion.

For adults, returning to work after a concussion can take time depending on the individual and their job.  There can be unique challenges if your job involved extended periods of time staring at a computer screen.  If your job requires high levels of focus in a noisy environment such as teaching or nursing, this can be very difficult after a concussion.  Also, if your job is very physical, this can also be increasingly challenging during the acute phase after a concussion.

Did you know there are many different symptoms a child or adult can experience after a concussion?

 Common symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Low energy

 

When you see a sports medicine doctor for your concussion, he/she will check for symptoms of concussion like those listed above and signs of a concussion such as

  • Abnormalities of vision
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired memory
  • Neurologic exam
  • Musculoskeletal exam

 

Your sports medicine doctor may recommend

  • Activity modifications
  • Rest or sleep related advice
  • Education or work modification
  • Referral to Physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy
  • Referral to headache specialist
  • Referral to mental health specialist
  • Referrals to other subspecialists
  • Referral to other health care providers like a chiropractic physician or acupuncturist

Your sports physician can help coordinate care and work towards helping you achieve your goals for recovery.  Early interventions are very important for helping you return to normal as quickly as possible after a concussion. They help to reduce the short and long term symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussion.

We understand that a TBI/concussion can be scary and the recovery can be stressful.  We want to help you recover as safely and quickly as possible.  We approach concussion care with a focus on you and optimizing other healthcare specialists as part of a multi-disciplinary team to help  you recover.  At Sports Health Northwest, in Portland, Oregon, we want to help you recover from your concussion and resume activities you enjoy.  Whether those activities are school or work related, being able to sleep comfortably, returning to sport and exercising, or engaging in a hobby, we are committed to help you feel better, and get back to life.