Researchers Explore the Mysteries Related to Concussions

Researchers Explore the Mysteries Related to Concussions Blog

Many athletes involved in contact sports receive concussions. Consequently, concussions are common experiences seen by sports physiotherapists. In light of the fact that concussions are always concerns for athletes who love playing football, hockey and similar types of contact games, the topic has been brought up more than once.

What do Researchers Know About Concussions?

In the United States, approximately 3.2 million people suffer from concussions every year. One definition that is widely accepted is as follows:

“A complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain,
induced by traumatic biomechanical forces (Aubry et al. 2001)”

Recovery Times are not Always Predictable

Prolonged recovery is associated with symptoms related to migraine headaches and sleep disorders. (Iverson, 2007; Lau et al., 2009; Lau et al., 2011). In addition, research shows that concussions resulting in lower cognitive abilities are possibly due to prolonged recovery periods.

Athletes want to Recover Quickly

An article written by Lau et al. (2011) seeks to classify symptoms that foretell recovery occurring after 21 days as opposed to less than seven days. The five-year study followed 107 athletes after they received concussions.

However, the researchers lost contact with some of the participants. Sports medicine therapists examined the athletes immediately after the incidents. The therapists noted the following symptoms:

  •  Confusion
  •  Migraine headaches
  •  Complete loss of consciousness
  •  Retrograde amnesia
  •  Problems with balance
  •  Vision problems
  •  Altered personality traits
  •  Sleepiness
  •  Abnormal sensitivity to light
  •  Feelings of numbness
  •  Nausea and vomiting

Researchers wanted to know how much time athletes needed before they could return to play. Concussion specialists gave the athletes return to play clearance when all the known protocols were established. In essence, the clearance procedure included total restoration of all symptoms including restored cognitive abilities as measured by the Post Concussion Symptom Scale and the Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT).

Dizziness and Protracted Recovery Time

The main question focuses on which symptoms are related to a prolonged recovery. Dizziness is the number one factor associated with the time it takes to recover from a concussion. People who reported that they felt dizzy were 6.34 times more likely to experience prolonged recoveries.

Known Flaws in the Study

However, the study has a few shortcomings:

  •  The study only included male athletes attending high school
  •  Approximately one-third of the participants dropped out of the study
  •  The study did involve athletes who had experienced lengthy comatose periods
  •  The examinations were brief

Indications of the Study

  • Dizziness after a concussion may indicate a prolonged recover time
  •  A protracted return to play is not connected with other symptoms
  • Comments Help Researchers

Commenting on social networks is an excellent way to make thoughtful contributions. Anyone who wants to contribute may help researchers probe the mysterious world of concussions.

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In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)

image

Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)

image

Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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