Concussions

Head injuries should not be taken lightly
Prompt medical attention is important

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that results from a blow to the head that is strong enough to disrupt normal brain function.

When people think of concussions, they tend to think of sports-related injuries. Although, it’s quite common to see in the sports arena, we also see it frequently due to car and bike accidents, construction site accidents, falls at work, and even injuries sustained in the home.

Concussions cause chemical changes in the brain that result in a temporary loss of normal brain function. A single concussion usually doesn’t cause permanent damage.  Multiple concussions over a lifetime may result in structural changes in the brain.

Symptoms of Concussion

Regardless of what caused the trauma, most patients suffer from memory problems, headaches, dizziness, mental fogginess, and neck pain. Common symptoms may include:

Symptoms may not be apparent until hours after the injury. Often delayed concussion symptoms will appear in the first seven to ten days and will resolve after a few weeks. For others, symptoms may continue to linger for a few months or longer.

Moderate to severe head injuries require immediate medical attention. It is very important to have a formal evaluation which includes a comprehensive physical examination. At times, further evaluation with appropriate imaging and other diagnostic modalities is necessary. A concussion that goes untreated could lead to long-term complications.

The Road to Recovery

Some patients may need to be hospitalized overnight for observation. If the doctor feels that a patient may be observed at home, they will need someone to stay with them for at least 24 hours to maintain a watchful eye.

A caregiver may need to awaken the patient regularly to make sure they can awaken normally, and that their symptoms are not getting worse.

If the injury is sports related, athletes will need to sit out for a period of time before they can resume play. They should be monitored during this time.

The road to recovery can be difficult but there are ways to optimize recovery. The goal of treatment includes helping a patient effectively manage their symptoms.

Moderate to severe head injuries require immediate medical attention. Untreated concussions may lead to long-term complications, especially if you have had concussions in the past.