How Concussion Can Impact Your Memory
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. A direct hit or an indirect hit to your head or your body can cause a concussion. But it’s experienced most commonly from a blow to the head. Concussions often occur from playing contact sports like football or hockey, but they can also happen from other causes, like a jerk to the head from whiplash. Your brain is surrounded by fluid in your skull. When you hit your head, your brain can shift inside your skull. That can cause damage to your brain cells. After experiencing a concussion, the majority of people experience symptoms like headaches and dizziness. Other possible symptoms from a concussion include blurred vision, ringing in your ears, and nausea. A concussion can also have an impact on your memory.
Can you experience severe memory loss from a concussion?
A severe memory loss means you entirely forget people or events from before your injury. It’s rare to experience long-term memory loss from a concussion, but it can occur. The majority of people see symptoms getting better within a few weeks. Only around 20 percent of people with concussions experience symptoms like memory loss for a period of longer than six weeks. However, if you experience lots of concussions over time, you are more likely to have long-term problems. That is especially true if you don’t let your brain heal for long enough in between the concussions. Therefore, if your injury was from something like playing contact sports, you should not play again until your short-term symptoms resolve. Also, long-term and short-term memory loss can occur weeks, months, or even years after you experienced the concussion.
How Concussions Can Affect Your Memory
Most commonly, concussions can affect your memory for up to six weeks. It’s usually little things that you will have trouble remembering. For instance, you could forget what you went into the grocery store to buy, the information you have learned for an upcoming exam, or what somebody has just told you. If you suffer short-term memory loss from a concussion, you will need to rely on calendars and write things down so that you can handle your failing memory.
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Can a concussion cause permanent memory loss?
If you do not get treatment, recurring memory loss from a concussion can become permanent. However, rehabilitation treatment is available. The majority of people with ongoing memory problems make significant progress in recovering their natural abilities to make short-term and long-term memories.
Treatment Options for Memory Loss from a Concussion
The type of treatment you need to help you improve your memory and other symptoms after experiencing a concussion depends on your specific circumstances. A doctor at a concussion clinic will use a combination of therapies to help you recover. Common types of concussion therapy include the following.
Cognitive therapists use techniques that can help to improve your memory. Cognitive therapy can also help with your thinking, reasoning, and attention span. The therapeutic process can take on various forms. The treatment typically involves doing things like solving logic puzzles, sorting cards into piles based on given criteria, and recalling every letter of the alphabet. Cognitive therapy usually takes place after you have undergone physical therapy. By undergoing physical-therapy treatment, which involves exercises designed to rehabilitate parts of your body, your brain will be more ready for learning.
You will usually receive music therapy treatment in combination with other concussion therapies. How the therapist uses music as a therapeutic process depends on the specific clinic you attend. Generally, music and sounds are used to calm your automatic nervous system during periods of rest between physical exercise and cognitive therapy. The music and sounds are made up of binaural beats. These encourage a restful brain state. In turn, that improves your brain function for further treatments.
If you have permanent memory loss or other symptoms from a concussion, occupational therapists can help you to adapt to your new limitations. If your symptoms are persistent but not permanent, occupational therapy can help to lessen the severity of your symptoms. Occupational therapy typically involves a combination of cognitive and physical exercises that target specific areas of your brain.
Lifestyle Changes to Help Your Memory After a Concussion
In addition to therapy treatments, you can make lifestyle changes to help improve your memory gradually over time. Firstly, staying physically active is crucial. By regularly exercising, you can improve your concentration. In turn, that can lead to bettering your memory. Another change you can make is to eat more healthily. Foods such as fish, fruit, vegetables, and nuts can slowly improve your memory over time. Staying mentally active is another way you can help resolve your memory loss. Doing puzzles and using specific apps that exercise your brain improve your cognitive functioning, which can lead to better memory.