Posted on Jan 3, 2012 in Health & safety
When you get a bump or hit on the head, how do you know it’s a concussion and doesn’t just mean you’re going to have a bad headache? When is it considered serious enough to seek care, and when should you just make do with an icepack?
As the dangers and damaging effects of multiple concussions are becoming more understood and appreciated these days, it’s important to be able to tell when a person has been concussed and when they’ve just got a bit of a bump on the head. Once considered just a bad headache, concussions are now recognized as they should be — as a head injury. Before we go further, however, it’s time for the…
Finders Free Legal Team Super Happy Fun Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nurse, or any other sort of medical professional. I spent a few years as a NYS EMT-D a while back, but please consult with a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional or if you have any health or medical questions — especially about something as important as your brain.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, a concussion is defined as:
…a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that may result in a bad headache, altered levels of alertness, or unconsciousness.
It temporarily interferes with the way your brain works, and it can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance, coordination, and sleep patterns.
In short, it’s a nasty bump or blow to the head that leaves you feeling crappy, for anywhere from minutes to months at a time. (Find out about more concussion risk factors and common causes from the CDC here.)
First of all, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you see a doctor immediately if you suffer a blow to the head that renders you unconscious for more than one minute.
From there, your doctor will evaluate you for a concussion — this can be anything from a few simple questions orienting you to “person, place and time” to an MRI or CT scan if they feel it is warranted. (See a view of an MRI at the right here.)
Of course, not every blow to the head that causes concussion will knock you out for more than a minute — or at all. This doesn’t mean the injury is any less severe or won’t cause you problems. Let’s look at some of the common signs and symptoms of concussion so you know what to look for.
Additionally, some of the following symptoms may manifest themselves immediately after being concussed — or not show up for hours or days:
If you (or someone you know) start showing any of these signs or symptoms, get thee to a doctor immediately.
Top image courtesy US Department of Veterans Affairs
Side MRI mage via National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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