Did you know that, according to a report released by the University of Regina, the number of lost-time injuries in British Columbia in 2018 was 53,856? Additionally, the absolute total number for the country of Canada that year was 264,438.
Injuries in the workplace, unfortunately, are far too common. When it comes to concussions in the workplace, these injuries need to be treated immediately.
If you think you’ve experienced a concussion in the workplace, you might not know what to do about your situation.
How do you know if you’ve experienced a concussion, and what are your treatment options? You’re already overwhelmed and not thinking straight, but you need to come up with a solution.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide. In it, you’ll learn everything you need to about concussions and your treatment options.
Finally, you can get the help you need and feel better. Read on to learn more.
Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion: Do You Have a Concussion?
To receive treatment for a concussion, you first need to be sure that you have one. This section will cover the signs and symptoms of a concussion, including the physical, cognitive, and emotional signals. This way, you can get treatment if you’ve experienced a concussion.
Do You Have to Be Knocked Out to Have a Concussion?
One of the signs of a concussion is being knocked out. This is because when you experience a concussion, you experience a brain injury after you have received a blow to your head, making your brain move around in your skull.
However, according to HealthLinkBC, you don’t have to be knocked out to have a concussion.
Some people don’t lose consciousness when they’ve experienced a concussion. Instead, they might experience other symptoms, some much more subtle than others.
Because these symptoms can be pretty subtle when you’ve experienced something as serious as a brain injury, you need to know what they are. That way, you can get the treatment you need.
So if you haven’t been knocked out, what are the other signs of a concussion?
There are some telltale physical signs you might experience that means you need early concussion assessment and treatment. These include nausea or vomiting, a headache, dizziness or balance problems, and ringing in your ears.
They also include sensitivity to light, blurred vision, sensitivity to noise, sluggishness, sleepiness or fatigue, issues with taste and smell, and sleep problems. Finally, some people might end up in a coma.
If you’ve recently experienced an impact against your head, whether you were hit, an object fell on you, or you slipped and hit your head, then pay attention to any of these signs.
If you’ve experienced any of them, it’s time for concussion management.
There are also cognitive signs that a concussion might cause. These include feeling dazed or confused, slurred speech, clumsiness, a loss of memory, difficulty concentrating, a loss of consciousness, and a slowed response when someone asks you questions.
If you feel forgetful—for example, you repeat yourself just after you’ve said something—this is also a sign of a concussion.
Many people will experience such bad memory loss that they might not remember the injury that caused the concussion.
Emotional signs of a concussion can be subtle, so it’s essential to be on the lookout for them. These include depression, irritability, or other types of personality or behaviour changes. If you aren’t sure if you’re acting emotionally different than usual, ask a loved one.
Even if you only experience these subtle emotional signs, it’s a good idea to speak with a professional to find out if you’ve experienced a brain injury.
What Should You Do After You Suffer a Concussion at Work?
If you’ve suffered a concussion at work, there are different steps you should take. During and the day following your concussion, you need to avoid caffeine, rest, and sleep between 8 and 10 hours in 24 hours.
You should also have a family member or friend who checks in on you in case your symptoms get worse.
If you’re in pain, you can use a mild pain reliever (for example, Tylenol). You should also stay hydrated and eat a healthy, light diet.
What Not to Do After a Concussion
Immediately after you’ve experienced the concussion, you shouldn’t be alone, operate machinery, or drive. Continue avoiding these activities for 24 hours. Because your symptoms could still be developing, you could end up have slowed reaction times or passing out.
This could lead to an additional injury or worsen your concussion if you hit your head again.
Even though it’s difficult, you should also avoid spending screen time using a tablet, smartphone, TV, or computer.
Activities such as playing video games or texting require you to focus mentally so that your symptoms could worsen. Additionally, the movement and bright lights on the screen could make your symptoms worse.
It would help if you also stayed away from mentally demanding activities, such as reading, computer use, school, and work.
Stay away from anywhere with loud noises or bright lights, and avoid any physically demanding activities and sports. Don’t drink either, as this could mask or worsen your symptoms.
What’s a Typical Recovery Plan for Those Who Have Experienced a Concussion?
Somewhere between two days and a week after you’ve experienced your concussion, you’ll start to feel some of your symptoms subside. As a result, you’ll be able to start being slightly more active. However, you want to return to life gradually.
As you get active, do so slowly. You’ll probably be able to return to your work in a week.
However, if you feel your symptoms returning due to more activity, take a break and modify your activities. Slow down, changing things up, so you don’t get overwhelmed by returning to whatever impacts you.
When it comes to highly physical activities, especially ones where you could end up hitting your head again, wait so that you don’t worsen your concussion, get in the way of healing, or get another concussion.
This is important to note. If your concussion symptoms haven’t improved between 7 and 10 days after your injury, call a doctor. Likewise, if you’re worried or your symptoms worsen instead of better, you should also contact a doctor.
How Our ECAT Program Works
If you’ve experienced a concussion in the workplace, you should consider using our Early Concussion Assessment and Treatment (ECAT) Program. This is a multidisciplinary service that is made up of different assessments and treatments.
The treatments related to work-related difficulties, functional, physical, and cognitive factors will make it easier for you to return to your life as usual after your concussion.
It works like this. First, you meet with an Occupational or Physical Therapist, who will provide you with an Intake Test. This test takes five days maximum.
Once you’ve taken the test, the OT or PT will create a treatment plan with you that addresses the specific issues you’re experiencing after your concussion. This treatment usually takes 4 to 6 weeks.
After completing the treatment, you should return to work. Sometimes, the ECAT Program will also provide support when you return.
Note that the ECAT Program is currently being completed virtually, with you meeting over the phone or Zoom.
Returning to Work Following a Concussion
When you return to work following a concussion, you should be ready to take on some of your responsibilities. However, you might find that you get overwhelmed or tired quickly, especially if your tasks require a lot of energy or concentration.
If this occurs to you, you need to find a way to conserve your energy.
Prioritize the most critical tasks, pace yourself if you need to (and be patient with yourself), change your physical position if necessary, and plan out your activities into manageable tasks.
Of course, it helps if your boss understands that you need a bit of time to get back to your average pace. A supported return to work plan can also help.
We offer two Return to Work Services: the Gradual Return to Work (GRTW) Planning and the GRTW Implementation and Monitoring.
We Can Help With Concussions in the Workplace
Now that you’ve learned about concussions in the workplace and your treatment options, you might be looking for additional support. If this is the case for you, look no further than Easy Allied Health. We’re experts when it comes to getting you back to speed.
To learn more about how we can help you get back to normal after your workplace concussion, book an appointment now.