Physical trauma to the head can transform the normal way in which the brain works and carries out its functions. The medical term for such an injury is Concussion (being derived from ‘concutere’, a word of Latin origin meaning ‘to shake violently’) and is of common incidence, especially in contact sports, for example boxing or football.
The National Library of Medicine states that more than 1 million cases of concussions are reported annually (in US itself). Although the impact of the injury, mostly results in temporary changes or effects and most patients successfully recover from it, delayed symptoms can result too.
Factors that put people at more risk of incurring concussion than the others include a previous episode of concussion, history of physical abuse, participation in fast paced sports, athletic activities such as soccer (without adequate safety equipment) or automobile accidents.
10 Common Symptoms Seen in Concussion
Headache And Confused State Of Mind
This symptom is bound to occur soon after the direct or indirect blow to the head. The patient with head trauma stays disoriented for some time and may not recall the time or place he/she is in. The headache maintains its contact and annoying nature for quite some time and is the most common clinical feature of concussion.
Many become overly sensitive to bright lights and sound of loud nature. If the headache worsens in terms of intensity and/or frequency, one must contact their healthcare provider for it can be a sign of danger.
Patient who has recently been dealing with head injury can complain of a whirling sensation that makes him/her feel unsteady or clumsy whilst walking, even for short distances. This also puts the individual at a greater risk of incurring a fall.
It is normal for these symptoms to take three to four weeks to disappear completely. Some may even take three to six months to recuperate from the light headed feeling.
Nausea Plus Vomiting
Shortly after concussion, people are most likely to feel the strong urge to vomit. This symptom commonly surfaces two to four weeks post the concussion and can last for a substantial duration of time. The increased pressure within the confines of the skull is responsible for the symptom. Instead of being accompanied by vomiting, severe nausea can further lead to dry heaves (seen in children). Excess and repeated vomiting after injury is indicative of a dire health complication.
Short Lived Vision Disturbance
Mild traumatic brain injury can result in ocular symptoms such as blurry vision. Simultaneously seeing two images of the same person, known as double vision or diplopia occurs frequently in the post concussion phase. This is bound to disrupt the affected persons walking and/ or ability to read clearly.
If one notices disparities in the eye movements (for example, involuntary or abnormal eye movements), he/she must mention the same to their doctor as it is indicative of cerebral impairment.
Changes in Ability to Speak
Brain damage can result in dysarthria, which is a speech related symptom involving the muscles that assist in speaking. Temporary paralysis or lack of strength in the muscles can lead to a slurry speech that is difficult to comprehend.
Loss Of Consciousness
Sudden or excessive shaking of the head (the movement is called jarring) that leads to concussion can bring about changes in the level of consciousness. This is a serious change and must be reported to a doctor without any delay, whatsoever. The patient may experience sluggishness coupled with feeling of drowsiness.
One may not be able to completely recall their life events that took place prior to the concussion causing trauma. This is known as retrograde amnesia.
Surprisingly, most of the patients experience anterograde amnesia, which refers to loss of memory of whatever happens post the physical set back. Some fully recover whereas others regain bits of their memory.
Physical Strength Dips
Trauma to the delicate brain structure can take a toll on the individual’s physical strength. Fatigue is an extremely common clinical feature in almost every patient.Also, putting in minimal efforts while working can drain you off your already low energy reserve.
A clear difference is seen in the emotional profiles of individuals before and after the blow to the head. Phases of clinical depression, sudden mood swings and unprovoked anger or gloominess can trouble the patient.
Incurring a mild or major brain injury can cloud normal mental activity for some time. It is difficult for such patients to focus their attention on work, daily activities and struggle a lot with multi- tasking. Recalling as well as retaining new information becomes more difficult than before. Some even experience difficulty in communicating clearly with others.
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