The recovery time for a concussion is greatly governed by the severity and the overall health of the affected person. This HealthHearty article will give you some basic information on concussions, and more.
Although a concussion is categorized under mild traumatic brain injury, its effects (in some cases) may prove to be extremely serious. Every concussion ends up injuring the brain to a certain extent.
A concussion is a form of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This term is used for a blow to the head that may alter the brain’s functioning, mostly temporarily. It usually occurs while playing contact sports, or when the upper body is shaken violently, as in the case of a car crash.
Our brain is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid protects the brain from external jolts. However, when the head is hit by an object with substantial force, it may cause the brain to move forcefully back and forth, and hit the skull wall. This may cause certain problematic symptoms, which may include severe headache, confusion, dizziness, and, in some cases, loss of consciousness. Experts advise taking complete physical and mental rest for recovery, till the symptoms subside. It plays a very important role in the recovery. However, the point to be noted is that the healing time varies from case to case. The factors on which it depends are discussed in the following section.
Factors Affecting the Recovery Time
Most cases of concussion are mild in nature, and therefore, recovery doesn’t take more than a few hours, days, and even months. However, there are various factors on which the recovery of a person depends. These are mentioned as follows
- The severity of the hit or blow
- The severity of the injury
- The area that has been injured
- The age of the person affected
- The overall health of the person affected
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the maximum number of hospitalization and deaths due to TBI have occurred among adults aged 75 years and above. Also, people dealing with problems such as depression and anxiety, tend to take longer to recover, due to their inability to cope with the symptoms as efficiently as others. Those who have experienced concussions in the past are also prone to certain complications with each subsequent episode. These cases may take longer to recover completely.
What Can You Do to Speed Up Recovery
The brain happens to be the most important and sensitive organ of the body; any form of external hit or trauma may affect its functioning abilities to a great extent. Therefore, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention as soon as the bothersome symptoms are experienced, after being hit on the head. After physical examination and diagnostic tests, the doctor is likely to prescribe certain medications, and a lot of rest.
Do Not Ignore the Symptoms
The symptoms may vary from one person to another, depending upon the impact of the trauma. The following are the most commonly observed symptoms that are experienced. While these may appear in some people almost immediately after the incident, there is a possibility that these may show up hours, or even days, after the hit.
- Pressurized feeling in the head
- Vomiting and nausea
- Confusion and dizziness
- Ringing sensation in the ears
- Sleep problems
- Irritability and sensitivity towards light and noise
- Memory problems
- Slurred speech
It is important to be able to identify the signs in infants, as they are highly prone to hit their sensitive head against a concrete surface. They will not be able to communicate the symptoms verbally, so it is important for you to identify them. These are listed as under
- Change in sleeping pattern
- Lack of interest in their favorite toys
- Walking unsteadily, indicating balance-related problems
- Increased crankiness and irritability
- Getting tired easily
- Change in eating pattern
Symptoms may also worsen with time, in some cases, if there is any delay in medical intervention. There may be bleeding from the nose or ears, dilation of pupils, breathing difficulties, and more. Many people, especially sportsmen, tend to avoid these symptoms and continue with their usual physical and mental activities. Experts strictly advise complete rest until full recovery. Only when the doctor has evaluated the damage is the person allowed to resort to normal activities.
Take the Right Medications
Acetaminophen is prescribed by the doctors to get relief from severe headaches. However, there are other painkillers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, that should be strictly avoided. These medications are blood thinners and therefore are likely to increase the chances of internal bleeding. This may be dangerous for the brain. If there are certain medications or supplements that you consume on a regular basis, do inform your doctor about them, so that he may guide you accordingly.
Take Complete Rest
‘Rest’ doesn’t mean lying on the bed and watching TV. ‘Rest’ means not doing any activity that stresses your brain or body. Even activities such as browsing the Internet, playing video games, reading, or watching TV may not allow the brain to rest completely. So, yes, any form of exertion should be strictly avoided.
Consecutive concussions may lead to severe and progressive complications, which may involve epilepsy and cognitive impairment. Therefore, it is best to give yourself enough time for complete healing. Complete recovery will take time, the duration however, will depend upon the individual case; not providing the required time will seriously hamper the healing process.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.