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Traumatic Brain Injury

Concussion: Do You Know If You Had One?

Concussions go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed all too often.

Did you know that every 13 seconds, a person somewhere in the world has experienced a concussion? Did you know that concussions are the #1 misdiagnosed problem worldwide today?

Have you been involved in any of the following?

  • Had a sports or recreational injury?
  • Had a recent fall?
  • Are you a victim of domestic abuse?
  • Have you served in the military in active combat overseas?
  • Are you one of the thousands of people who were victims of natural disasters?
  • Were you involved in one of the many automobile collisions due to the extreme weather across the US this winter?
  • Were you one of the 20,000 people within a quarter-mile of the blast that went off at the Boston Marathon?
  • Were you one of the hundreds of people affected by the tornados throughout the US?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, has it been over six months since that experience, and do you have any of the following symptoms that have not gone away?

Symptoms of Post Concussions Syndrome (PCS)

Physical Issues

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • Headaches
  • Falling asleep unexpectedly
  • Dizziness
  • Nightmares/Flashbacks
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Hand or leg tremors
  • Hearing problems
  • Sexual dysfunction or loss of sex drive
  • Gait imbalance
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Loss of taste and smell

Behavioral Issues

  • Confrontational attitude
  • Explosive temper
  • Fearfulness
  • Impatience
  • Thoughtlessness
  • Hypervigilance

Cognitive Issues

  • Distractibility
  • Disorientation
  • Temporary amnesia
  • Long or short-term memory problems
  • Poor judgment
  • Slow thinking
  • Inability to focus attention
  • Problems remembering what you heard
  • Problems with speaking
  • Word finding problems
  • Feelings of confusion

Emotional Issues

Concussion and PCS as Commonly Undiagnosed or Misdiagnosed Conditions

Have you been seen by a physician? Did you go to the emergency room? Were you treated for your symptoms and they still have not gone away? Did you go to a psychologist about your symptoms and they still have not gone away?

If your symptoms still persist, it is more than likely you had a concussion and are now dealing with the symptoms, a diagnosis known as Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). A neurologist who specializes in Concussion and PCS wrote this week about how hundreds of patients who come to her clinic have been seen by various doctors, such as ER doctors, PCPs, and even psychiatrists, and have not been diagnosed or have been misdiagnosed. Therefore, these individuals never obtain treatment to help them regain their life.

After the Boston Marathon, I wrote a press release about the effects of blast injury, and how over 20,000 people within a quarter-mile of the blast site may have had a Concussion without knowing it. The event was so awful, and the first responders took care of the physical injuries. Then months later, psychologists helped with PTSD from the trauma. Yet the symptoms of PCS are still not recognized by the individual or being treated.

Now, two years later on the local news, a woman was featured about her concussion directly from the blast of the Boston Marathon. What about the other 19,999 people who were also injured?

How to Get Treated for Concussion or PCS

If you’re lucky enough to be injured in any of the above situations that involve insurance companies, such as work-related injuries, your medical expenses more than likely will be covered. To make sure, find an attorney who specializes in brain injury and specifically concussion. Some advertise, while others are on the internet. I’ve written a chapter in Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury on how to select the appropriate lawyer, what questions to ask, and which diagnostic neurological test you will need to prove that you have had a concussion.

However, if you were in the auto accident as a result of black ice, as a patient of mine was, you fell down your stairs at home, or your child hit his or her head down your backyard slide, be prepared that your insurance company may pay for medication, but likely will not pay for other methods that work, such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). Currently, I only know of 3 out of 50 states where HBOT is covered by insurance: Florida, Texas, and California.

If you answered “yes” to the types of injuries mention at the beginning of this post and your symptoms have endured over six months after the incident and still have not gone away, you probably had a concussion, and are now experiencing PCS.

If this is the case, I want you to know there is hope of resolving these ongoing symptoms and regaining your life again. I want you to know there is help and hope, because for every symptom there is a method or treatment from conventional to complementary to alternative. You don’t have to continue to suffer.

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