A concussion is a common type of brain injury most often caused by a direct blow to the head, causing temporary brain malfunction that can cause a wide range of symptoms depending on the severity of the condition. When the head is hit unexpectedly, the brain can move and hit the skull, affecting memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance and coordination.
Patients with a concussion may experience:
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Sensitivity to light
These symptoms can vary depending on the individual patient, and can last for days or even weeks. Some people may not even be aware that they have a concussion, or may not develop symptoms until several hours or days after the injury.
Diagnosing a concussion is a straightforward procedure, but doctors are more concerned with the severity of the condition and if any internal bleeding or swelling has occurred. A series of tests may be performed to evaluate the patient’s memory, vision, hearing and balance.
Treatment for a concussion usually focuses on relieving symptoms and allowing patients to return to their regular activities through rest and Tylenol. It is important to make sure you are fully recovered before resuming sports and other physical activity, as you are at a higher risk of developing a second concussion at this time. You can reduce your risk of a concussion by practicing safety at all times, including wearing a seatbelt in the car, wearing a helmet during certain activities and wearing appropriate shoes to prevent falls.