by Alan Jordan
Whiplash and The Invisible Injury
A whiplash injury may result in a brain concussion.
A concussion is a blow or jolt to the head that can actually impact the manner in which your brain functions. The medical term is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). A concussion may result from a car accident, a sports injury or a fall. Recovery times vary greatly. Normally, patients are “back to normal” within three months or so, while others may continue experiencing headache, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, balance issues, nausea and so forth.
Patients become confused and rightfully concerned and doctors equally so, because even with modern diagnostic techniques they are unable to identify what exactly is wrong.
What to do.
- DO make sure you stay within reach of a telephone and medical help in the first few days following your accident.
- DO have plenty of rest and avoid stressful situations
- DO take painkillers such as paracetamol for headaches
What not to do.
- DON’T stay at home alone for 48 hours.
- DON’T drink alcohol until you feel better
- DON’T return to work until you feel ready
- DON’T play any contact sport for at least three weeks without consulting your doctor
- DON’T return to driving until you feel you have recovered. If in doubt consult your doctor.
In physiological terms, a mild traumatic brain injury involved the brain “hitting” the bony and hard cranium. The brain is a soft jell like substance and it can bruise and swell – however mildly. This swelling will eventually settle, but if you go about normal activities too quickly, this will take longer than it should.
Rest & Advice
In my experience rest and proper advice are the best means to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Stay in bed or rest around the house for LONGER than you might feel is expected. The more you rest, the sooner the swelling around the brain will settle. Don’t watch television or spend too much time using your computer.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. This form of treatment has been shown to be most useful for patients experiencing long term symptoms from concussions. Make sure that your doctor refers you to an authorised CBT specialist.