One of the biggest challenges health care professionals face when diagnosing concussions is the lack of objective diagnostic methods available. While new tools are coming out that aim to improve the objectivity of the traditional concussion tests, they still largely rely on the same techniques we have had for years. These new tests measure cognitive ability, memory, and response time in much the same way doctors have been, but they help remove the possibility of human error.
The other problem doctors deal with is concussions do not all look the same. There are a wide variety of symptoms that appear in different configurations and severity depending on the person. While one patient may cite headaches as their primary symptom, another may deal with dizziness or nausea. The entire list of symptoms from the Mayo Clinic includes:
- Headache, or feeling of pressure in the head
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Confusion or foggy feeling
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Concentration problems
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Sleep disturbances
Interestingly, the Mayo Clinic doesn’t report another common symptom reported by many brain injury patients which can be particularly debilitating. Vision problems such as seeing words running together on the page, perceiving stationary objects as moving, and double vision are frequently reported by concussion and TBI patients. Even worse, when these people visit an optometrist or opthamologist they are usually told their eyes are in fine shape. The problem is in their brain.
Complimenting these types of vision problems, many patients also report increased light sensitivity which can make trying to continue their day-to-day life difficult. Driving can become dangerous, and reading can be nearly impossible. These problems can be solved however.
Through a combination of allowing yourself to properly heal and a program for vision therapy, vision issues can be resolved to nearly the same state as before the injury.