Delayed Concussion Symptoms: Why They Happen and What You Can Do
The CDC estimates that 1.5 million Americans survive a traumatic brain injury every year. However, not all concussion symptoms show up right away. Over 10% of people with a concussion develop symptoms later on—some studies estimate as many as one-quarter of concussions develop long-term symptoms.
Whether you or your loved one suffered a fall, motor vehicle accident or a sports concussion, the brain injury that occurs can manifest itself long after the incident took place.
Fortunately, recovery from delayed concussion symptoms is possible even years after a traumatic brain incident. Aviv Clinics is here to explain why concussion symptoms can be delayed and what you can do.
Why Might Your Concussion Symptoms Be Delayed?
In an ideal world, you would know exactly what’s happening inside yourself and why. But the reality is the body and mind are complex.
When someone undergoes a traumatic brain injury (TBI), this causes physical, metabolic, and chemical changes to the brain. Even if you feel okay and experience very mild effects, this can change later on.
The brain has pathways—think of them as different routes you may take to work. Some roads have more traffic than others. Sometimes, you have to take the long way to get home. Brain pathways work the same way.
Let’s say you get into a car accident that causes a head injury. Some brain pathways are damaged and can’t deliver the blood and oxygen supply the brain needs. Fortunately, other pathways and cells can take over to do the job. However, over time, the healthy brain pathways might overcompensate for the lack of operating pathways. Your brain grows tired of the extra effort and delayed concussion symptoms emerge.
Symptoms may include cognitive, physical, and psychological effects such as:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Sensitivity to light/noise
- Memory or concentration problems
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Mood swings
How Does the Brain Recover from a Concussion?
The brain is a powerful organ with incredible self-healing mechanisms. Even if you underwent an accident years ago, there’s still hope for recovery decades later. The key is finding the right treatment program to give the brain a delicate push for unleashing that potential.
Proper medical expertise and protocol can help:
- Encourage neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to adapt or react in response to injury or disease.
- Drive neurogenesis or nerve cell regeneration that occurs in the brain.
- Increase blood flow and oxygen in parts of the brain associated with executive function, vision, sensation, and more.
Most patients at Aviv Clinics see progress roughly 8-12 weeks after the start of their treatment plan. But the recovery period varies depending on the severity of your condition, health background, lifestyle, and other factors.
If You Suspect You Have Delayed Concussion Symptoms
Rest assured that science is on your side. Data-backed treatment plans are available for concussions, no matter when they occur. They include the following:
- Physical therapy (PT): Aims to ease pain and improve mobility. Treatment may include customized exercises and range of motion stretching. Research notes that at 6.8 PT sessions, patients reported their physical symptoms improved.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Psychological treatment strives to change thinking and behavioral patterns. Studies illustrate CBT is a potentially effective rehab plan for anxiety and depression following a TBI.
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT): Involves breathing 100% pure oxygen in a room known as an HBOT suite. This process increases oxygen levels in the body 10-15 times higher than normal and helps improve cognitive, physical, and psychological performance.
Read more about the common forms of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) treatment plans.
Aviv Clinics Unique Rehabilitation Plan
At Aviv Clinics in Florida, our team proudly offers a unique rehabilitation program backed by data and a holistic action plan. When partnering with our medical team, patients can expect a personalized plan that enhances their long-term health.
Research in the last two decades notes hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), in combination with cognitive, physiological, and nutritional training, can lead to significant neurological improvement after a concussion. The Aviv Medical Program is based on this research.
“HBOT can be successful because it addresses the cause of the symptoms, not just the symptoms alone. In combination with cognitive, physical, and nutritional coaching, some HBOT protocols can be very effective.” —Dr. Mohammed Elamir, MD, FACP
A Personal Story of Healing through Aviv Clinics
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Learn about 15-year-old Linden Perry’s journey below!
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