Guest blogger Dr. Allison Gray is a board certified neurologist who works as a traumatic brain injury specialist and general neurologist at Kaiser Permanente.
Concussion, also known as mild traumatic brain injury, is a very common and yet very
underappreciated medical problem. Concussion refers to a jostling of the brain inside the skull
due to direct head trauma or rapid acceleration/deceleration of the brain inside the skull. When
this happens, lots of normally working neural circuits in the brain become disrupted.
While human beings have been suffering from head trauma for thousands of years, concussion
is a problem which has only recently been given a spotlight in the media.
Many people who suffer from concussion can develop very troubling symptoms, including
cognitive difficulty, headaches, dizziness and balance impairment, vision difficulties, sleeping
difficulties, and emotional difficulties including irritability, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
You may feel alone and isolated after concussion because it is an invisible injury—one that we
cannot see when looking at a person from the outside. While we can’t see a concussion in the
same way that we can see a broken leg, a concussion can be life-changing and incredibly
disruptive and frightening.
Fortunately, there is help. Neurologists and neuropsychologists trained in brain injury along
with cognitive rehab specialists, vestibular therapists, vision therapists, psychologists, and
therapists can help you on the road to recovery. The amount of time that it can take to heal
from concussion can range from two weeks to two years, or longer, but there are trained
people who want to help you recover.
The first step is recognition. Talk to your physician if you think you may have suffered from a
concussion. It is never too late to take action and get the help that you need.
— Allison Gray, M.D.