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    What Are the Impacts of a Concussion?

    Any type of head injury is quite serious and concussions are no different.

    Unfortunately, the symptoms of a concussion are often overlooked because the wound is viewed as fairly minor. As a result, people may return to normal activities without proper rest, risking further trauma to the brain.

    This is extremely problematic because sustaining a brain injury requires extra care to ensure a full recovery. If you don’t take this into account, then you risk permanent damage that can linger for the rest of your life.

    We’ll go over the full effects of concussions below so you can understand how important it is to identify and treat them properly!

    How Is a Concussion Diagnosed

    To begin with, it’s helpful to know how concussions are diagnosed.

    If you watch any type of major sport, like football or basketball, then you’re likely familiar with the term; concussion protocol. Any time a player sustains a blow to the head, they are immediately taken out of the game and sent for testing.

    The reason for this is that a concussion can only be diagnosed by a doctor after running tests. There are some common symptoms of a concussion, but these need to be validated through testing.

    There are multiple tests that a doctor might perform on someone who has recently been hit on the head. This is broken up into two categories; manual exams and mechanical tests.

    Manual exams include things like checking your vision, memory, balance, and reflexes. These don’t require fancy equipment and can be performed just about anywhere.

    On the other hand, mechanical tests are necessary to verify a concussion. This includes imagery scanning of your brain through either a CT scan (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

    CT scans and MRIs will produce images of your brain for a doctor to examine. These images can be compared against a normal brain to identify any abnormalities in yours. If they are seen, then at that point a concussion can be diagnosed.

    Immediate Effects

    Now that you know how a concussion is determined, you should understand what the immediate effects of one are. This includes the hours following a blow to the head and the first few days afterward.

    Right after a concussion is sustained, there are a few typical symptoms that arise. A headache is almost inevitable, but nausea, confusion, amnesia, and dizziness are often paired with it.

    Someone with a concussion may also experience a period of unconsciousness, brain fog, ear ringing, blurry vision, and light sensitivity. These ailments will often last throughout most of the healing process.

    In the days following a concussion, it’s also normal to feel fatigued, irritable, have a skewed sense of balance, and lack an appetite. When your brain is injured, it directly affects your ability to function and this is clear in the symptoms that appear.

    Long-Term Implications

    In some situations, there are also long-term complications resulting from a concussion. This will depend on how serious the concussion is and how well the healing process goes.

    Luckily, less than a fifth of those who endure a concussion experience long-term ramifications. Most symptoms disappear within six weeks and allow a person to resume their normal routine.

    For those that are less fortunate or experience multiple concussions, long-term effects are unavoidable. These are fairly similar to the short-term effects but prolonged. This includes a shift in personality, inability to concentrate, memory issues, difficulties sleeping, and depression.

    While long-term symptoms are unavoidable for some, many times they can be prevented by being diligent about resting after a concussion. Exacerbating your injury by returning to action too quickly is usually what results in long-term problems, so you need to be serious about resting and healing after receiving a concussion.

    Treat concussion properly to avoid long-term complications. Cognitive rest, involving avoiding mentally demanding tasks, is fundamental, with gradual reintroduction as symptoms improve. Symptom management, including medication for specific symptoms, complements rest. 

    A careful, guided return to physical and cognitive activities follows symptom alleviation, minimizing the risk of complications. Persistent symptoms may indicate post-concussion syndrome, necessitating further evaluation and a multidisciplinary approach.

    A neurologist or sports medicine physician can assist by accurately diagnosing and assessing the severity of concussions. They develop personalized treatment plans, monitor progress, and educate patients about concussions. These doctors also make return-to-play decisions, refer to specialists as needed, and stay informed about the latest research in the field.

    Don’t Neglect Any Head Injuries

    No matter how minor you may think a blow to the head is, any head injury needs to be approached with caution. Even if you feel completely fine, some symptoms take a few days to appear and it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

    Head wounds are one of the worst ailments you can suffer from because they affect your brain. Any type of traumatic brain injury, mild or serious, can impact your ability to function and your overall quality of life.

    It may be frustrating to take it easy and rest, but you don’t want to regret rushing through a concussion later in life. Always visit a doctor after sustaining any form of a blow to the head to rule out a concussion. If you don’t have one, then you’ll at least have the peace of mind knowing that you’re okay!

    Closing Thoughts

    Concussions are a fairly minor form of traumatic brain injury, but they still need to be taken seriously.

    It can be difficult to know whether you have a concussion or not, so you need to visit a doctor for an official diagnosis. There, you’ll have your cognitive skills examined and you’ll go through a CT scan or MRI to check for abnormalities in your brain.

    The immediate effects of a concussion include a variety of symptoms like headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and memory loss. These tend to last for a few days or even a week and usually fade afterward.

    A smaller percentage of concussion sufferers deal with long-term complications. These are similar to the short-term effects but are hampering because they don’t go away.

    Make sure to never neglect any head injuries and always visit a doctor to give yourself the greatest chance of avoiding any long-term issues.

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