Seniors and Fall Related Concussions

by Amy Potter - Friday, September 23, 2016
By: Bridgett Wallace, PT, DPT, Founder of 360 Balance and Hearing
For more information on Guest Expert, Bridgett Wallace, click here

There is an unprecedented amount of media attention regarding the concerns of sports-related concussions, which has resulted in the implementation of concussion laws in every state and, more recently, a growing number of lawsuits.
What most in the general public may find surprising is the fact that the majority of concussion actually occur from falls rather than sports activities and are much more prevalent in individuals 65 years or older as compared to youth and young adults, ages 5-25 years. It is estimated that 1 in 3 adults ages 65 and older fall each year and over 90% of the falls result in an injury such as a hip fracture or head trauma.

A concussion can result from a direct blow to the head or indirectly to another part of the body that results in a jolting force through the head. Just ten years ago, we defined a concussion by a loss of consciousness (LOC). Now, we know that LOC occurs less than 10% of the time. Standard imaging (MRI or CT scan) are typically normal. Such testing is often performed in the Emergency Department in those 65 years of age and older due to the life threatening concerns of more traumatic brain injury.

The most common symptoms of a concussion include:

• Headache
• Dizziness
• Difficulty with concentration and memory
• Vision problems
• Decline in balance
• Mood changes
• Poor sleep patterns

Any severity of head trauma warrants a comprehensive neurological examination that should include gathering information of symptoms and past medical history along with an assessment of vision, balance and cognition. If there are hearing changes associated with the concussion then a comprehensive hearing test should also be performed.

Each patient with a concussion is unique in in their recovery process. The brain can heal once a concussion is experienced. Rest, good nutrition, adequate sleep are very important in the early days post-concussion. Lingering symptoms can be addressed in a customized rehabilitation program. That is right…..symptoms from a concussion can frequently be alleviated with specialized therapy.

Falls can result in a negative impact on quality of life and longevity. It is vital to get an expert consultation. With timely evaluation and trusted advice, those at risk will be better able to make well-informed decisions and live a higher quality of life.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So do what you can RIGHT NOW to avoid a concussion by focusing on fall prevention.

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  1. Seniors and Fall Related Concussions Amy Potter 23-Sep-2016