A mild concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury is the least severe type of traumatic brain injury that can interfere the normal brain functions for a short while. However, it rarely causes loss of consciousness, which if occurs, lasts only for a brief period. This kind of head injury is most commonly observed in sportspersons and athletes.
An injury or trauma is the most common cause of a mild concussion. One can experience such trauma in automobile accidents, or during an accidental fall. A blow to the head, usually by a blunt object can also cause this condition. This type of head or brain injury is generally observed to be associated with certain sport activities, like boxing, horse riding, hockey, football, and cycling. Children can experience such a traumatic injury from a fall that jolts the head.
Signs and Symptoms
As a concussion can jolt or shake the brain, it can temporarily disturb the normal brain functions. The condition can produce a number of symptoms, which can be physical, emotional, as well as cognitive. These symptoms can develop suddenly or over a period of time. Sometimes, the symptoms may not become evident for several hours or days following the head injury. In a mild concussion, a person may or may not lose consciousness, while a severe concussion is usually accompanied by loss of consciousness for a prolonged period of time. A mild concussion is generally not considered an alarming condition, but it can produce a number of disturbing symptoms, such as:
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ear
- Blurred vision
- Mental confusion or disorientation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Problems in coordination
- Loss of balance
- Changes in sleeping patterns
In addition to these, some individuals can experience amnesia or temporary memory loss. They may find it difficult to recall the events preceding and following the head injury. Later, some behavioral changes may occur, and the affected person may exhibit restlessness and irritability. Loss of consciousness can also occur for a very brief period of time following the head injury.
A mild concussion should not be neglected though it is considered to be the least severe type of traumatic head injury. This is because, many times, what has been presumed to be a mild head injury can ultimately turn out to be a severe injury after a few days. So, it is important to evaluate any type of head injury on time.
Generally, the recovery time for a mild head injury or concussion does not exceed 3 months with sufficient rest and proper treatment. Physicians usually carry out tests, like X-ray and CT scan of the skull and the brain to rule out the possibility of any major damage to the brain. As far as the treatment is concerned, rest is considered the best way to ensure fast recovery. In the meantime, any kind of strenuous physical activity should be avoided. For alleviating the pain, one can apply ice or cold packs on the affected area of the head.
Along with proper treatment, it is important to prevent repeated concussions. Otherwise, it can cause considerable brain damage, and eventually lead to some major complications like dementia. Some precautionary measures like wearing a helmet and seat belt can help avoid head injuries in the future.
The symptoms of a concussion should be closely monitored. A physician should be consulted at the earliest to know whether it is a mild or severe concussion. If the symptoms persist for a considerable length of time, and if the individual experiences loss of smell and seizures, or if his or her pupils become dilated, the condition should be immediately reported to a physician.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.