Do you suspect that your co-workers roll their eyes when they hear you will be away again because ‘your concussion is acting up’? Do you want to convince them that you are genuine but don’t know how? Does the stigma of ‘faking it’ cause you stress and anxiety? This is a common situation that we see at our Aurora rehabilitation and Thornhill physiotherapy clinic. As in all cases of prejudice, ignorance lies at the root. Education about the injury is the best way to check such suspicions.
1. Concussion is a Heterogeneous Injury
About 80% of injuries are reported to be self-limited, that is, they resolve smoothly with the general advice given by our post-concussion syndrome specialists in the Toronto area; however, 20% are more complicated. This may be because of the mechanism of injury, the specific place where your brain was traumatized, or because of subclinical conditions you had – and weren’t aware of – before you sustained your injury. So right off the bat, if you are in the 20% who have prolonged, complicated recoveries, your co-workers will think of 4 other people who didn’t have the same problems you have, so they begin to suspect that you are using your concussion as an excuse to escape from work.
2. Concussions have a Heterogeneous Course
This is something we can all relate to. Have you ever been in the “zone” and said to yourself “I got this!”? The reason is that our physiology at any moment has an infinite array of potential states and some states are more advantageous than others. For example, quantitative EEG shows an infinite array of neurological activation in the brain, some more efficient and better suited to certain tasks. This is influenced by how well you slept, how you feel, your beliefs, your energy level, etc.; and it in turn influences hormonal levels, your immune function, your ability to regulate the function of your autonomic nervous system, etc. These will in turn affect your energy level, your concentration, your resilience to potential allergens or viruses, your ability to focus your eyes, etc. These factors are a bit like the different colors in a Rubik’s cube and so it is easy to see how one can feel stuck at some point.
It is perfectly possible – it is the rule rather than the exception – to be suffering from post-concussion syndrome and perform fairly well one day but the next day not be able to get out of bed. For reasons similar to the examples given above, a post-concussion patient’s ability to perform well can be compromised rapidly by things as mundane as sinusitis, not getting a good night’s sleep, a headache, too much visual stimulation or even the stress caused by the stigma of “faking it” created by suspicious co-workers relative to their non-concussed co-workers.
For those seeking physiotherapy in Aurora, Ontario or sports physiotherapy in Vaughan, Markham, Richmond Hill or the surrounding areas, we have 2 locations conveniently located to help you recover from your concussion.