The term 'concussion' refers to brain damage caused by physical injury to the head. A sharp blow to the head in an accident, or while playing sports like rugby, boxing or football, can result in a concussion. A concussion is different from other types of brain injuries. This is because the brain damage caused by a concussion is temporary, and so the brain resumes its normal function after a stipulated period of time. In other words, a concussion does not trigger any permanent damage and hence it is categorized as least severe form of brain injury.
Being a head injury, the person is likely to experience headache. This is the immediate consequence of a concussion that does not go away easily, in some cases, last for more than 2 years. Besides causing frequent episodes of headache, the traumatic brain injury may also cause persistent neck pain, followed by feeling of drowsiness and dizziness (vertigo). Mild concussion in adults can also lead to poor appetite, as it can trigger nausea.
If the head injury arising from a fall or accident has damaged the nerves and blood vessels, it is obvious that concussion symptoms will not remain confined to headache and nausea. They are discussed below:
As we all know, the brain transmits electrical signals through the nerves to various parts of the body. The transmission of brain signals in the correct manner is necessary for proper muscle movement. However, concussion that damages the nerves can lead to disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. This causes involuntary muscle movement, commonly referred to as seizures. In seizures, a part of the body shakes violently for a few minutes.
Eyesight may no longer remain normal if the brain function has been damaged considerably. Eyesight problems, as a response to concussion, manifest in the form of double or blurred vision. Eyes also become more sensitive to light.
The ability to hear may diminish, if the area of the brain that controls hearing activity is affected during a concussion. Some also complain about persistent noise or ringing ears. Ability to tolerate noise may decrease considerably.
There have been reports of emotional disturbances in adults after concussion. There is a noticeable change in the behavioral pattern of adults affected with this brain injury. These mental problems are long-lasting and continue to affect for months after brain injury. It is mentioned below:
- Intolerance towards stress
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Emotional incontinence (Uncontrolled display of emotions)
- Memory dysfunction
- Reduced problem solving capability
Taking as much rest as possible is the cornerstone of concussion treatment. Avoid any strenuous activities until the symptoms disappear. The symptoms like headache may respond quite well to OTC medications such as acetaminophen. The amount of damage inflicted during brain injury decides the length of the concussion recovery time. Serious concussions may take several months to heal, whereas a person affected with mild to moderate concussion may recover within a few weeks.