A concussion is categorized as the mildest subset of traumatic brain injuries. This form of head injury is likely to occur among those who play high-impact or contact sports. The skull is hard enough to damage the brain inside if the head is bumped or rotated forcefully. Aside from sports, falls, vehicular accidents or assault can result to a concussion. Unless you are familiar with the signs and symptoms, the injury might be missed and the required treatment is not started.
What are the physical signs and symptoms?
A concussion is an injury that can trigger changes in the brain function but it is usually temporary. Unlike with other brain injuries, it could not be detected in a CT scan, X-ray or MRI.
A headache is the typical symptom that occurs followed by dizziness. Only a small percentage of cases experience loss of consciousness. Other common physical symptoms include the following:
- Balance problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to noise
- Ringing in the ears
- Vision change include blurry vision, double vision, seeing stars or lights and light sensitivity
Cognitive signs and symptoms
The cognitive aspect can be momentarily or permanently impaired by a concussion. The events either before or after the injury might be lost. The individual will end up with inability to recall events that occurred before the injury which is called retrograde amnesia.
Individuals with a concussion can feel mentally slow, foggy or have difficulty concentrating. Others will notice that the individual appears confused, answers questions slowly and repeats questions.
Emotional changes and sleep disruption
An individual with a concussion can suffer from temporary emotional changes as well as sleep disturbances such as difficulty getting to sleep.
Individuals who sustained a recent injury can also sleep less than usual or sleep more than they did before the injury. In addition, they might also have difficulty with drowsiness as well.
On the emotional aspect, family and friends might notice irritability or mood swings. The individual might appear nervous or sad. Take note that these emotional experiences might appear to be unrelated to what is going on with no specific trigger.
What are the warning signs?
Most cases of concussions are time-limited, usually clearly spontaneous. Nevertheless, immediate medical attention is required once the injury is suspected.
Special tests might be needed for other injuries. A concussion requires careful monitoring and a reduction in the level of activities engaged in to protect the healing brain. Individuals with a concussion who have persistent issues must consult a doctor.
Immediate medical attention is required if the symptoms become worse, new symptoms are present; one pupil has an unequal size than the other or repeated vomiting. Worsening symptoms include increasing confusion or drowsiness, worsening balance issues and intense headaches.