It can be easy to dismiss a concussion as nothing but, if left untreated, it can have disastrous consequences. So, what is a concussion? What are the signs and symptoms to look out for? How long does it take to recover from one? Here we’ll answer those questions and more!

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

How does a concussion happen?

A concussion typically occurs when the head is hit, bumped, or shaken with force. This causes the brain to hit the skull with impact and in doing so, can damage blood vessels and nerves which leads to a concussion.

Types of concussion

There are three grades of concussion depending on the severity, they are:

  • Grade one: Is a mild concussion. There is no loss of consciousness, and the symptoms dissipate in less than 15 minutes.
  • Grade two: This is considered a moderate concussion and has symptoms that last for more than 15 minutes however, there is no loss of consciousness.
  • Grade three: This is the most severe concussion and usually involves the victim losing consciousness, even momentarily.

Signs and symptoms of a concussion

The thing about a concussion is, often from the outside, there is no obvious sign that there is an issue on the inside, but if you know what to keep an eye out for, you can get yourself the medical attention you need before the condition has a chance to worsen. Which you should always do, even if the symptoms are mild. Here are some common symptoms of a concussion:

  • Headache or pressure like feeling
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion or brain fog
  • Blurred vision or seeing double
  • Losing consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Unable to recollect what happened
  • Ringing in ears
  • Vomiting
  • Delayed responses
  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue

How is a concussion diagnosed?

A doctor will typically do a neurological assessment to determine the type of concussion you have. This involves assessing your cognitive function via a series of tests. Depending on the severity, the doctor may conduct a CT scan to see if there are any fractures or bleeding. The doctor will then advise you of the treatment plan you should be following to ensure you recover properly.

Common causes of a concussion

A concussion can be sustained from various causes but, here are some common ones:

  • High impact sports
  • Car accidents
  • Workplace incidents
  • Falls

How long does it take to recover from a concussion?

The recovery time can vary from person to person depending on how severe your concussion was. A concussion can take anywhere from 7 days to 6 weeks to heal. Sometimes a concussion can develop into a condition called post-concussion syndrome. It is often diagnosed when the person’s symptoms continue to linger, and it can last up to three months and in rare cases, even longer. There is no explanation why some people experience this, and there is no treatment.

Treatment for a concussion

The number one treatment for a concussion is typically plenty of rest to give the brain a chance to recover. Some other ways you can help to recover, include:

Limiting screen time – Screen light and eye strain can trigger headaches and exacerbate concussion symptoms, so it’s best to limit your screen time.

Avoid intense physical activity or sports – To promote optimal healing, you should avoid anything that causes forceful movement for a few weeks after your injury. This includes activities such as sports and high to medium impact physical activity. Things such as bumper cars, roller coasters etc should be avoided during this time. 

Stay hydrated and eat a nutritious diet – Keeping hydrated and eating a wholesome diet can promote healing and get you back on your feet. Make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions as the recovery method can differ depending on your age, overall health, whether you take medications and whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions that need to be taken into consideration.

A concussion can be accompanied by other complications

When the head sustains impact from a significant force, it can cause other complications along with a concussion. If left untreated, it can have serious consequences. Some of these include:

  • Brain swelling
  • Bleeding on the brain
  • Brain damage
  • Skull fracture

All the above can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.

Having a concussion more than once puts you at higher risk of:

  • Having one concussion can put you at a higher risk of sustaining another one. This is because of the chemical changes that occur in the brain from a concussion. It can take more than a year for them to go back to normal.
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a neurodegenerative disease that is caused by numerous hits to the head. This can result in issues such as impulsive behaviours, trouble with memory, difficulty thinking or completing tasks. This condition usually gets progressively worse and can lead to Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
  • While more research is needed some studies suggest people who have sustained multiple concussions are at a significantly higher risk of a stroke.

We hope this post has given you an insight into concussions. If you have sustained a concussion at work or in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation to help with your recovery. Contact our highly skilled team here at South East Injury Lawyers for more information.