What You Need to Know About Concussions
A concussion is a mild form of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Like other TBIs, concussions are caused by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. Concussions are usually not life-threatening, and most patients recover without any lingering symptoms. Even though concussions are usually not severe, it still is important to treat them in order to prevent complications.
Causes of Concussions
Concussions are caused by a sudden jolt or a blow to the head. Commonly, concussions are sustained in:
- Sports accidents
- Car accidents
- Being struck by or against an object
These incidents can cause trauma to the head, resulting in a concussion, or even a more severe TBI.
Symptoms of a Concussion
People who have sustained a concussion may “black out,” or lose consciousness afterwards, but most mild brain injuries don’t result in a loss of consciousness. Victims may also experience confusion, feeling dazed, or be unable to remember the events surrounding the injury. Concussion symptoms fall into 4 categories:
- Thinking & Remembering: Difficulty remembering recent events or new information, feeling mentally “foggy” or confused, difficulty concentrating
- Physical: Headaches, aversion to bright lights or loud sounds, nausea, balance problems, blurred vision
- Emotional & Mood: Displaying irritability, sadness, nervousness, or other sudden mood shifts
- Sleep Disturbance: Sleeping more or less than usual, sudden sleepiness, or trouble falling asleep
If you have suffered a head injury and are displaying any of the above symptoms, you may have a concussion. Seek medical treatment for your injuries to prevent a concussion from becoming a bigger problem. If you are taking blood thinners, you should seek medical care even if you do not display any of the above symptoms after a head injury.
Treatment of Concussions
If you have a concussion, you need to be treated by a doctor. Concussions, while mild, are brain injuries. They can have serious consequences if not treated. Concussions are often diagnosed with a number of tests, such as neurocognitive tests which assess your ability to concentrate, learn and remember, and solve problems. Your doctor may also order brain scans, such as a CT Scan.
Your doctor will give you a list of instructions to follow to allow your brain to heal. Closely following these directions will allow you to recover more quickly and will help prevent your concussion from causing more problems. Rest is a key factor in treating concussions. Physical and mental rest will permit your brain to begin the healing process. Limit activities that require concentration and thinking, such as watching television, playing video games, schoolwork, reading, texting, or using a computer, especially if these activities trigger your symptoms. Gradually, you will return to your normal activity, but until then, avoid strenuous activities, or activities that put you at risk of another concussion.
Avoid alcohol while you are in recovery, and take only what medications your doctor has approved. If you take controlled substances for medical or recreational use, or you are on blood thinners, let your doctor know so they can treat you accordingly.
Recovery from Concussions
Many people heal quickly from concussions. Children, teens, people who are older, and people with other medical conditions may be slower to heal. If you have had a concussion in the past, you may also find that you are healing more slowly. Many people report that their symptoms are gone within 7-10 days, though it may take longer for a concussion to fully and completely heal.
While a concussion may not seem serious, they can have serious complications if not treated properly, such as a blood clot. Watch for danger signs after a head injury, including:
- Headaches that grow worse or won’t go away
- Weakness, numbness, or lack of coordination
- Lasting nausea or repeated vomiting
- One pupil larger than the other
- Convulsions or seizures
- Unusual behavior
- Lose consciousness repeatedly or for an extended period of time
- Looks drowsy or cannot be awakened
- Cannot recognize people or places
- Grow more restless, confused, or agitated
In children, danger signs can also include:
- Will not stop crying
- Refuse to nurse or eat
If any of these signs are present, take the injured person to the emergency room for treatment. These warning signs can indicate a greater problem than a simple concussion. Seeking treatment immediately can prevent further damage and reduce the lasting effects of the injury.
Concussions and other TBIs can have lasting effects. If you sustained a brain injury from an accident, our Denver personal injury attorneys are here to help. Contact Jordan Law today to learn how we can represent your case.