Condition: Concussion

Concussion is a form of brain injury, that occurs either as a direct blow to the head

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What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild form of brain injury caused by a trauma to the head such as a bump, violent jolt or hit on the head. The effects of a concussion are usually temporary but can cause unpleasant symptoms including headaches, difficulty concentrating and poor balance and coordination.

causes concussion?

Concussion occurs when your brain is moved out of its normal position for a short time. This could be as a result direct blow to the head or if your head is moved suddenly without direct contact.

The three main causes of a concussion are:

  • Road traffic accidents

  • Accidental trip or falls

  • Sporting and recreational activities, particularly rugby, football, cycling, boxing, horse riding and martial arts

What are the
symptoms of concussion?

While considered a mild injury, a concussion can have serious consequences if left undiagnosed or untreated, so it’s important to know the symptoms and seek medical advice any time you suffer a trauma to your head.

Symptoms of a concussion to be aware of include:

  • Brief loss of consciousness, a blank expression, confusion or a delay in answering questions immediately after the head injury

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Sensitivity to light or noise

  • Sleepiness or sleeplessness

  • Short periods of memory loss

  • Blurry vision or “seeing stars”

  • Changes in behaviour, such as irritability or anger

  • Slurred speech

How is concussion diagnosed?

A concussion can usually be diagnosed through an assessment of the kind of injury you sustained and how, and the symptoms you have as a result.

Your specialist may also conduct a neurological assessment to evaluate your vision, hearing, strength, feeling, reflexes, balance and coordination, as well as your cognitive functions including memory, recall and concentration.

An MRI scan of your brain may be needed if you have unusual symptoms, or if they are taking longer than expected to resolve. A CT scan may also be done in the early stages to rule out any potentially serious additional issues, but this is rare.

What are the
treatment options for concussion?

Every concussion needs to be managed to ensure a safe recovery. Primarily, treatment is about managing your symptoms and avoiding any activities that could inhibit your recovery.

Steps you can take to help aid your recovery include:

  • Taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for headaches

  • Applying an ice pack to any swelling caused by the head trauma

  • Getting good rest and getting back to normal activities slowly

  • Avoiding sports until you have fully recovered

  • Not driving or riding a bike until you have fully recovered

  • Avoiding alcohol until your symptoms have gone

It’s important to have someone stay with you at home for the first 24 hours after suffering a concussion in case you start to experience more serious symptoms.

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