How Can Someone Become Totally Disabled by a Concussion?

Concussions are very common injuries experienced in Nova Scotia car accidents, bike accidents, and falls. Make no mistake: a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Even a relatively minor bump can result in long-lasting impacts. In recent years, science is beginning to understand why, for some people, concussions are have life-altering effects.

Because most concussions won’t show up on imaging, and aren’t objectively “provable”, historically it has been frustrating for concussion victims suffering from long-lasting, sometimes disabling, symptoms. The legitimacy of their concerns have sometimes been dismissed by their employers, family doctors, and insurance companies. Some have even experienced family members question the severity of their concussive symptoms.

This can be frustrating and depressing for individuals suffering from severe, concussion related deficits. We are conditioned to believe that if an injury doesn’t show up in a test or medical image, then it doesn’t exist. But fortunately science is catching up!

How can a “minor” concussion result in “major” symptoms?

It is now generally accepted by doctors that concussions result in a degree of organic brain damage (even if the current limits of scientific knowledge may not permit this damage to be shown on medical imaging). This brain damage will often come in the form of a “diffuse axonal injury”.

A diffuse axonal injury is caused by traumatic shearing forces that occur when the head is quickly accelerated or decelerated in car accidents and falls. This force can result in axonal injury with numerous micro-tears and swollen areas on nerve tracks that disrupt the messages the nerve cells send back and forth.

The axons are assaulted by neuro-chemicals allowed to go where they shouldn’t, which can cause permanent damage to the axons.  The axons are the long stringing part of the neuron’s which interconnect neuron’s with each other.

Today’s research into neuropathology indicates that significant regeneration of damaged neural connections can occur.   But the regenerated neural connections are less efficient than such connections are naturally. This helps explain why a concussion can result in a permanent deficient (or a permanent disruption to the efficiency and speed of neural connections).

What are the concussion symptoms?

Because the brain is complex, and the neural connections regenerate differently for everyone, concussion symptoms vary both in type and severity. Some of the most common symptoms people experience are loss of memory, fatigue, loss of concentration, dizziness, headaches, and sensitivity to light and sound. Many people also experience personality changes. They may become irritable, anxious or depressed. This can of course be difficult for family members.

How is post-concussion syndrome treated?

There is no single treatment for post-concussion syndrome. Instead, doctors treat the symptoms, tailoring the treatment plan to the patient. Treatments can include medications for headaches and anxiety, cognitive therapy for memory loss and concentration issues, and psychotherapy for depression and other behavioral changes associated with post-concussion syndrome.

If you or a loved one are struggling with a concussion or traumatic brain injury, and want some advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced brain injury lawyers for a free consultation.



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