What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a mild brain injury that can affect normal brain function. It may happen due to direct impact to the head or from sudden jerking movements of the head. A concussion can result in an altered mental state or the individual becoming unconscious.
Symptoms of Concussion
The general symptoms of concussion are:
- Sleep disturbances
- Vision problems
- Concentration difficulties
- Depressive mood
- Nervousness and anxious
- Memory loss
- Temporary unconsciousness (for about a minute)
- Sensitivity to bright light and noise
- Loss of balance
Symptoms that require immediate medical intervention include:
- Severe headache
- Blood discharge from the ears
- Being unconscious for more than a minute
- Difficulty waking from sleep
Causes of a Concussion
Some of the common causes for concussions are:
- Motor vehicle accident
- Falls, bicycle accidents
- A contact sport injury
- Head hit by an object
- Violently shaking the head
Diagnosis of a Concussion
To determine the impact of the injury, your doctor may ask questions about the incident, perform a thorough physical examination, neurological examination, cognition tests, and imaging studies.
Neurological examination includes testing of
- Eye movement
Cognitive testing includes testing of
- Learning ability
- Thinking ability
- Processing of information
Diagnostic imaging tests include
These imaging methods can help identify brain injuries such as swelling, damage, rupture of blood vessels, and altered brain functionality.
- CT Scan (computerized tomography): This is a computerized X-ray study that provides different angles of cross-section brain images, which helps determine extent of the injury.
- EEG (electroencephalogram): This imaging study helps analyze the electrical activity in the brain and brain functionality.
- EMG (electromyogram): This diagnostic procedure helps determine the brain & nerve health.
- MRI scan: This scan uses radiation to capture the detailed brain images.
- X-rays: These help to determine fractures and injury of the cranium.
Treatment and Recovery
- Your doctor may instruct you to have plenty of rest and avoid vigorous physical activities or mental activities that require a lot of concentration, memorization, and thinking.
- Your doctor can prescribe the necessary medications to recover from a concussion.
- Rehabilitations therapy such as balance training, visual exercises, speech therapy, and physical exercises may be recommended.
- In some cases, if there is skull or brain damage, surgery may be performed, but most concussions do not require surgery.
The preventive measures to prevent concussions include
- Follow safety measures such as wearing seatbelts while driving
- Use protective gear such as helmets and padding when playing sports
- Exercise regularly, but avoid overexertion