Identifying a Concussion Before Lasting Damage

A blow to the head typically causes concussions. Violent shaking of your head or upper body can also cause them. Although most concussions are usually temporary, they can sometimes cause lasting damage. They can affect your brain function, which means you can potentially have problems with memory, balance, coordination, and balance. You must identify a concussion and know how to treat it before it presents more severe issues.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

Identifying the signs and symptoms of a concussion is not as easy as you may think. Symptoms can be subtle, and they may not be apparent immediately. Symptoms can last for days, weeks, or even more extended periods. One of the most common symptoms is a headache. Concussion headaches can feel like your head is blowing up like a balloon. Sufferers feel a constant pressure on their heads with concussion headaches, which are also known as post-traumatic headaches. So, they are very distinct from everyday headaches. Concussion headaches also fall into more precise categories, such as migraines and Cervicogenic and Autonomic Nervous System headaches. Other common symptoms after experiencing a concussion include amnesia and confusion. Also, you could have symptoms like:

  •   Nausea.
  •   Vomiting.
  •   Dizziness.
  •   Fatigue.
  •   Ringing in the ears.
  •   Slurred speech.

What sort of lasting damage can concussions cause?

According to a study published in the journal Radiology, just one concussion can cause long-term structural damage to your brain. Using a 3D MRI, researchers examined the volume of white and gray brain matter in concussion patients one year after they had had their injuries, alongside people who had not had a concussion. The scans showed measurable losses of brain matter in those concussion patients. That could be why long-term symptoms like the following can occur in patients who have suffered concussions:

  •   Trouble concentrating.
  •   Sensitivity to sound and light.
  •   Irritability and other personality changes.
  •   Sleep disturbances.

Various complications can potentially occur from concussions too. Post-traumatic vertigo, in which you experience dizziness and spinning, can last for months after a concussion. And post-concussion syndrome, which can include symptoms like dizziness and confused thinking, can also go on for months after an injury. Also, if you have had several concussions in your life, you are at a higher risk of developing long-lasting impairments that limit your functions. 

How are concussions treated?

If you experience a concussion that causes only mild symptoms that don’t last long, such as a headache or nausea, you usually do not need to seek medical advice. If you have symptoms that don’t go away, or additional symptoms like issues with your memory, a headache that doesn’t go away, or bleeding from your ears, get medical attention immediately. Typical treatments for average concussions include over-the-counter medication for persistent headaches, and getting plenty of rest. That means avoiding strenuous activities like sports or driving a vehicle. It’s usually best to avoid alcohol as well because it can slow your recovery. The exact type of treatment you should pursue is dependent on your doctor’s advice. So, make sure you see a medical professional if you have symptoms of a concussion that don’t go away.