Concussion: An Inside Look Into What It Is, Causes, and Treatment

Concussion: An Inside Look Into What It Is, Causes, and Treatment

Nov 03, 2020

Have you ever been in a car accident or injured during a fall, and it felt as though your brain shook in your head? The chances are that you had a concussion. Concussions are quite common, and every year many patients come to our ER in Waco seeking treatment.

It is also a nationwide problem since there are over 800,000 children who get treated for concussions each year. Close to over 300,000 sports-related concussions are reported each year. Anyone can get a concussion, from infants to the elderly. However, the highest incidence of concussions is reported in people who are over 75 years, individuals between 15-24 years, and children below four years.

Typically, concussions are not life-threatening, and the symptoms, which include headaches and poor coordination, are temporary. However, there are instances when you will need to get to the ER near you.

Let’s peer a bit deeper to get to know more about concussions.

Concussions 101

People often usually confuse a contusion for a concussion and, at times, use the terms interchangeably. However, contusions are bruises that are less severe and can get resolved within days.

On the other hand, concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries that are caused by a sudden blow to your head that makes your brain shake quickly back and forth or side to side. Most of the time, it is referred to as “mild” in medical jargon since it is not life-threatening. However, a concussion can have adverse effects on your brain and body.

How Does a Concussion Happen?

Your brain is made of soft tissue and hence needs to be protected. It is encapsulated by spinal fluid to cushion it from hitting either side of the skull. Your skull is the hard covering that protects your brain.

When there is a sudden bump or blow to your head, the impact usually jolts your brain. At times, the force can be too much that the brain moves around in the skull. Therefore, this causes bruising, injury to the nerves, and damage to the blood vessels.

This means that your brain will not function as it should. Therefore, your vision may be disturbed; you might lose consciousness or lose equilibrium. In a nutshell, your brain literally becomes confused.

Causes and Risk Factors

As you already know, anyone can be at risk of having a concussion. You might slip and fall while you are performing your daily tasks. Either way, here are some causes and risk factors:

  • Playing a contact sport
  • Falls, especially in older adults and children
  • Military service
  • Car, bicycle, motorcycle, or any other accidents that cause a blow to your head
  • Lack of safety gear when participating in contact sports
  • Being struck or hit with an object or fighting or physical abuse

Symptoms

The symptoms of a concussion may be subtle, and you might miss them. At times, the symptoms take some time before they show up. Some of the symptoms that you should look out for are:

  • Headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Loss of memory
  • Blurry vision
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Dizziness or “seeing stars
  • Confusion

At times, you might notice the following symptoms in another person:

  • Slurred speech
  • Temporary loss of consciousness (not always)
  • Dazed appearance
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Forgetfulness

At the same time, peel your eyes for the following symptoms that occur days after the injury:

  • Disorders of smell and taste
  • Concentration complaints
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Irritability

It would be best if you were on the lookout for the following symptoms in children:

  • Excessive crying
  • Vomiting
  • Dazed appearance
  • Loss of balance or unsteady walking
  • Lack of interest in favorite toys
  • Seizures
  • Crankiness and irritability
  • Tiring easily
  • Change in sleeping and eating patterns

How Is It treated?

The course of treatment is dependent on the severity of your symptoms. Surgery or any other medical procedure may be necessary if:

  • You have a swelling of the brain
  • You are bleeding in the brain
  • You have a severe injury to the brain

However, in most cases, surgery may not be necessary. Our doctor in our emergency room in Waco may prescribe some pain medication for the headaches. Then, our doctor may advise you to take some time off and get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activities. If your injury is severe, you might be asked to even avoid such activities for a few months.

We Are Here for You

Do not hesitate to visit us at Express ER in Waco if you or your loved one experiences a head injury. The injury might be severe, but the symptoms may take some time before they become noticeable. Better to be safe than sorry!

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