Concussion - The Mild Traumatic Brain Injury


What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of brain disorder caused by mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that causes headache and creates problems with concentration, memory, balance, and coordination.

Brain is the most complex organ of our body which is made up of billions of neurons and other cells to control our behaviour, response and movements entirely. Brain is also connected to the nervous system and the spinal cord.

If the brain is injured by a blunt traumatic strike it can affect the brain’s ability to control and communicate with the rest of our body.


A concussion is a brain condition developed by mild brain injury. It may occur if the head is impacted by a fall or collision or even by a violent shake.


How concussion may occur?

Body contact sports are the primary reasons of concussions because they may cause blows to head, neck and back during a match or even a practice game which causes brain injury. Most risk involved sports include-

  • Boxing
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Baseball

Fall and motor vehicle accidents are among the other reasons of concussions.


How will you know if someone is in a state of concussion?

After somebody has experienced an impact on head and the body he/she should be observed for some days because signs of concussions may be seen immediately after the trauma or may be after some hours or even days. Symptoms of a concussion include-

  • headache or some kind of pressure in the head
  • temporary loss of memory
  • confusion
  • difficulties in focussing or concentration
  • dazed and vacillating state
  • dizziness and slow response to question
  • blurry vision
  • hearing trouble
  • nausea
  • difficulties from normal light and sound
  • difficulties in having good sleep
  • slurred speech, unsteady walking

Symptoms of concussion in babies:

Concussion symptoms in babies are difficult to notice at first because they can’t complain of their problems and also since their natural speech and walking are not developed it is not easy to make out the effect of concussion from their gurgling or babbling sounds and toddling steps. However, there can be other signs of concussion in babies such as,

  • vomiting
  • irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • drainage - clear or bloody from nose, mouth, or ears.

Concussions in babies normally don’t progress to permanent brain damage and are recoverable. However, if your baby was hit on head with force and you notice any of the above signs then or shortly afterwards it is advisable to contact a pediatrician immediately.


Treatment

If one is in a state of concussion it is important to take a break from the works and take rest and sleep as much as possible to heal the brain injury. A complete mental rest is also vital which means no reading, no watching TV, and no to mobile or computer uses. It is important for him/her to -

drink plenty of fluids,

eat healthy foods,

sleep well,

avoid alcohol and smoking,

avoid travelling in airplanes, trains, or boats because these affect the mental balance,

avoid driving vehicles or operating machines, etc.


In short, the patient must avoid brain activities as much as possible.

Medications for a concussion

Medicines, especially pain medicines shouldn’t be taken in the initial phase because it can suppress the symptoms and the person will go back to work or playing the sport before the actual recovery and invoke greater danger. After a concussion is diagnosed medicines like acetaminophen can be used with doctor’s advice.


Since concussion is mild brain damage this can be improved through rest. However, there can be post-concussion syndrome (PCS) which can cause symptoms to occur at times after months or even years. For example, memory problems may haunt you time to time.


It is not advisable to return to work or sport before full recovery. Even a small second blow can be detrimental and lead to a rare condition called second impact syndrome which may lead to rapid brain swelling and death.


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