We have all heard the stories – someone fell and hit their head when they were out somewhere and suddenly could not remember where they lived though they remembered to call a family member to come pick them up, and other similar stories.
However such temporary memory loss is just one of the signs of concussion, which is a mild brain injury caused by trauma or injury to head. Signs of concussion could manifest in many different ways – emotional, physical and cognitive.
Any signs of concussion should never be ignored and should be carefully monitored to make sure that there are no complications that result from it.
A concussion usually occurs as a result of falls, car or bicycle accidents, or sports related injuries (such as boxing where there is repeated trauma to the head), where there has been a blow to the head or even indirect jarring of the head without actual impact resulting disruption of the cellular processes of the brain.
The most commonly seen signs of concussion, which may be experienced immediately or even later, several hours after the actual incident are:
- Headache and pain in the site where the trauma occurred
- Dizziness may also occur
- Nausea and less typically vomiting are also signs of concussion
- There could be irritability, and emotional or personality changes noted temporarily
- Confusion or disorientation or what we understand as temporary memory loss (inability to remember event directly preceding the trauma or incident) may also be among the signs of concussion. The person may have difficulty concentrating or may take time in answering questions, even display slightly slurred speech.
Most signs of concussion will disappear over a day or two, though they could last for up to three weeks and require no particular treatment.
The dangerous signs of concussion to watch out for, which may indicate worsening symptoms within hours or days of the incident/injury, are increasing confusion or disorientation, worsening of the headache or increasing feelings of sleepiness. Sometimes there could also be seizures or loss of consciousness or fainting.
Any edema (fluid accumulation) swelling of the brain or signs of a skull fracture are potentially dangerous occurrences that could follow concussion in some severe cases, and this is the reason that no signs of concussion should be ignored, and the person who has undergone a concussion should be kept under scrutiny.
Signs of concussion in a child should also be closely monitored by parents and anything such as vomiting or confusion should immediately be reported to the doctor.
If the symptoms and signs of concussion do not show any signs of worsening or complications after 3 to 4 days, then no further treatment or care is usually required and the person can carry on with regular activities.