What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain damage due to a direct strike, jolt or thud to the head. The abrupt movement triggers the brain within to bounce around or twist which leads to stretching that damages the brain cells and triggers chemical changes in the brain. The jolt to the body can result to a concussion if the impact is strong enough to forcefully jerk the head backward, forward or to the sides.

What are the causes?

Falls, vehicular accidents and sports injuries are the typical causes of concussions. Take note that engaging in any sport that involves contact increases the risk for this injury. As for children, the injury usually occurs in the playground, while playing sports such as soccer, football or basketball or while riding a bike.

Indications of a concussion

Concussion

Falls, vehicular accidents and sports injuries are the typical causes of concussions.

The usual symptom of a concussion is a headache. This is a serious symptom if the headache becomes worse over time which indicates the presence of bleeding within the skull. Other symptoms that can occur include the following:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Changes in the sleeping patterns
  • Depression
  • Difficulty with concentration and/or comprehension
  • Nervousness or irritability
  • Feeling “not right”

What are the danger signs?

  • Unusual or erratic behavior
  • Seizures
  • Could not recognize places or people

Among children, it is vital to seek immediate medical care if the symptoms above are present, child will not stop crying or calm down and has not appetite to nurse or eat.

The symptoms manifest within minutes after sustaining a blow to the head. Some symptoms might take several hours to occur. Take note that the symptoms can change later while others develop if the brain is stressed by certain activities such as running or reading.

Management

The focus of treatment is rest. The doctor will advise the individual to take a break from school or work. After some time, the symptoms will vanish as the brain heals. The symptoms can last for 6-10 days depending on the severity of the injury. In most individuals, they heal within a week. If the symptoms last more than a week, consult a doctor.

  • Get enough sleep at night and rest during the day
  • Stick with a well-balanced diet
  • Avoid any sensory or visual stimuli including loud music and video games
  • If eager to resume normal activities, it must be done steadily.
  • Avoid engaging in strenuous mental or physical tasks
  • Do not engage in activities that might result to another concussion such as sports.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages unless allowed by the doctor.
  • Do not perform any tiring activities such as exercising, heavy cleaning or working on a computer.

Outcome

Many individuals were able to achieve full recovery after a concussion. The recovery depends on the severity of the injury, overall health of the individual and if compliant with the treatment. Always remember that rest is a vital part of the treatment since it allows the brain to heal.

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