Concussion: Everything you need to know

This article looks at the symptoms, therapies and concussion diagnosis. Concussion is also known as mild brain injury, mild traumatic injury to the brain, mild head injury and minor head trauma.

In 2009, 446,788 sports-related head injuries were treated in United States hospital emergency rooms.

Some psychologists describe concussion as a head injury with temporary loss of brain function, which can cause cognitive, physical , and emotional symptoms.

Concussion can also be characterized as a brain injury, often caused by a jolt or a head blow. The person does not lose consciousness, in most cases.

We will be discussing how to spot a concussion, how it is treated and ways to prevent being concussed in this article

Important facts about concussions

  • Usually, concussions are caused by a jolt or blow to the head.
  • Some research shows that the effects of a concussion on cognitive ability can still be measured 30 years later.
  • Initial symptoms might include dizziness, slurred speech, and amnesia.

Signs

Signs of a concussion may not be instantly apparent.

Immediate signs

Signs of a concussion that can be noticed immediately include:

  • loss of consciousness
  • confusion
  • headache
  • slurred speech
  • dizziness
  • ringing in the ears
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • amnesia
  • tiredness

Non-immediate symptoms

For several hours or even days, the following symptoms might not be noticable:

  • amnesia
  • depression
  • disturbed sleep
  • sensitivity to sounds
  • irritability
  • lack of concentration or focus
  • moodiness
  • sensitivity to light

Serious symptoms that need immediate attention

The following signs and symptoms of concussion may be linked to a more serious injury, and should seek immediate medical assistance:

  • prolonged headache
  • prolonged dizziness
  • dilated of different-sized pupils
  • prolonged nausea and vomiting
  • consistent memory loss
  • ringing in the ears
  • loss of sense of smell or taste

In children

Concussion signs and symptoms in very young children are most difficult to detect, because they can not explain how they feel. Signs may include:

  • lethargy and listlessness
  • irritability
  • changing sleeping patterns
  • altered appetite
  • walking or standing unsteadily, or any signs of balance and dizziness problems

Serious signs in children

In general, the following symptoms mean that the child needs urgent medical attention:

  • loss of consciousness
  • after attempting to stem the bleeding, a cut continues to bleed
  • any change in the way the child walks
  • bleeding from the ears or nose
  • blurred vision
  • confusion
  • continuous crying
  • seizure
  • discharge from the ears or nose
  • dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • prolonged headache
  • prolonged irritability
  • prolonged listlessness, fatigue, and lethargy
  • repeated or forceful vomiting
  • slurred speech
  • worsening headache

Diagnosis

They have concussion if an individual has experienced a severe jolt or blow to the head that has left them dazed, confused or wobbly.

Determining the severity of the concussion is more difficult because the signs may not be evident. A report published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine explains that athletes without becoming unconscious can have a severe concussion. According to the authors, in making a return-to-play decision amnesia and confusion on the field after injury may be just as important, if not more important.

A doctor will ask the details of the trauma on the patient. Those people who accompanied the patient may need to be questioned. There will also be a neurological examination, which will include evaluation of the following factors:

  • balance
  • concentration
  • coordination
  • hearing
  • memory
  • reflexes
  • vision

If an internal bleeding or brain swelling is a problem, a CT scan may also be required.

Treatment

Most of the symptoms of concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) will go away untreated. Guidelines for Concussion Treatment include:

  • Rest: This is vital. It takes time for the brain to recover, and recovery is quicker if the body is resting and getting good sleep each night.
  • Headaches: Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, is the best painkiller for a headache due to a head injury. Drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs should be avoided because they thin the blood and increase the risk of internal bleeding.
  • Sports: It is important not to return to any sporting activity too soon. Ask a doctor.
  • Alcohol: People should avoid consuming alcohol until all symptoms have completely disappeared because it slows healing.
  • Migraine: The occurrence of a migraine after a concussion may indicate an increased risk of neurocognitive impairment.
  • Worsening symptoms: If symptoms get worse, visit a doctor.

Just a small number of MTBI patients do need surgery.

Recovery time

Symptoms can be dangerous to ignore. It can take a long time to recover from a concussion, particularly in serious cases, therefore rest is crucial.

If physical signs return during this time, it is a powerful indicator that you are over-exercising. Do not return to driving a car, riding a bike or following a concussion operating heavy machinery immediately.

It is necessary to focus on one task at a time, avoid using computers too often, and write down something that it may be difficult to recall.

Return to work and gradually to normal life. Make sure to avoid all concussion-risk practices, such as contact sports, until all symptoms have stopped occurring.

Causes

Sports head injuries
Sports injuries are a common cause of concussion. Helmets and protective equipment can reduce risk.

The brain floats in cerebral fluid, which protects it from jolts and bumps. A severe jolt or blow to the head may cause the brain to bump hard against the skull. It can lead to the breaking of nerve fibers and rupture of blood vessels under the skull , resulting in blood build-up.

Concussions are most commonly caused by:

  • automobile accidents
  • sports injuries
  • falls
  • horseback riding accident
  • playground accidents
  • cycling accidents
  • assaults
  • explosions

Prevention

Preventing concussion means finding ways of preventing physical injury, especially to the head.

A lady wearing wearing seat belts.
Another simple ways to prevent concussion include wearing seat belts.
  • Helmets and other protective headgear: It is important to buy new protective headgear, not second-hand ones. Headgear will need to be replaced periodically.
  • Seat belt: wearing a seat belt has been proven to significantly reduce the risk of head injury during vehicle accidents.
  • Driving under the influence: Never drive under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or some medications.
  • Mouthguard: A good mouthguard can help prevent concussion in contact sports.
  • At home: Consider adding lighting to areas that may be hazardous. Be alert for clutter that could cause people to fall over. If there are toddlers in the house, place pads on sharp edges of furniture, use a stair gate, install window guards.
  • Playgrounds: There should be an underlay of soft material, either sand or special matting.
  • Jogging in busy streets: Wear bright colored clothing and use eyes and ears when crossing the road. Keep to the sidewalk.
  • Cycling at night: Make sure the bicycle has good lighting in front and behind. Wear bright clothing with reflectors.
  • Nutrition and exercise: A well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise can help maintain good bone mass and bone density. This is especially important for older individuals and post-menopausal women. Stronger bones may reduce the severity of brain injury following a blow to the head.

A concussion can be avoided easily, but accidents do occur. If you are having concussion, be sure to give it a prolonged recovery time.

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