Concussion symptoms can vary widely but in general include any combination of the following:
- “Pressure” in the head
- Neck pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Balance problems
- Sensitivity to light and/or noise
- Feeling slowed down
- Feeling like “in a fog“
- “Don’t feel right”
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty remembering
- Fatigue or low energy
- More emotional
- Nervous or Anxious
- Trouble falling asleep
There can also be trouble with balance, recall and higher processing such as working with numbers. The symptoms, although usually temporary, can be quite disturbing to the individual and cause functional impairment.
What causes it?
CONCUSSION IS A BRAIN INJURY. It can result from a direct or indirect blow to the head with force transmitted to the brain. Often, there are no significant changes on scans, but functionally there can be limitations and the duration of symptoms can vary considerably. With modern activities involving more computer and smartphone use, it can be difficult to completely “rest” the brain.
How can I help myself?
If you or someone you know has sustained a concussion, it is important that they try to limit mental and physical activity as much as possible. This enables the brain to rest and recover. It is particularly important if you have ongoing symptoms and younger brains are certainly more vulnerable.
When to seek help?
It is important to seek help for ALL suspected and diagnosed concussions.
What are the treatment options?
Your clinician should assess your symptoms and functional status and once your symptoms have settled, they can take you through a graduated return to sport. Certain sports will have specific rules for managing concussion and these will need to be followed and certainly younger brains will need greater caution and consideration due to their inherent vulnerability.
One of the concerns with concussion is the phenomenon of second impact syndrome, where a brain sustains repeated injury without an opportunity for recovery. It can lead to more serious and lasting problems for the individual.