A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI), sometimes called a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Concussions are the result of a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Just like people, every concussion is unique. In fact, healthcare professionals in the field of brain injury often say, “If you’ve seen one concussion, you’ve seen one concussion.” Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Most signs or symptoms of a concussion are evident soon after the traumatic event, while you may only become aware of others days or weeks later.
The following are the most common signs and symptoms of a concussion:
General Symptoms of Concussion
- Headaches or neck pain that do not go away
- Difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions
- Slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading
- Getting lost or easily confused
- Feeling tired all of the time, having no energy or motivation
- Mood changes (feeling sad or angry for no reason)
- Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping a lot more or having a hard time sleeping)
- Light-headedness, dizziness, or loss of balance
- Urge to vomit (nausea)
- Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, or distractions
- Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Ringing in the ears
Most people make a good recovery from a concussion, but it’s important to take what may seem like just a bump on the head seriously. A common question is when should I go to the hospital for a concussion? If you or a loved one notices any of the above symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away. Even seemingly minor bumps can result in life threatening brain bleeding or other serious conditions that can only be identified and treated in a hospital.
Children Concussion Symptoms
Children with a concussion can have the same symptoms as adults, but it is often harder for them to share how they feel. Call your child’s doctor if they have had a blow to the head and you notice any of these concussion symptoms:
- Tiredness or listlessness
- Irritability or crankiness (will not stop crying or cannot be consoled)
- Changes in eating (will not eat or nurse)
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in the way the child plays
- Changes in performance at school
- Lack of interest in favorite toys or activities
- Loss of new skills, such as toilet training
- Loss of balance or unsteady walking
Sometimes adults and children complain of “just not feeling like themselves.” Children often have a hard time explaining that they don't feel normal and it's up to the parents and their friends, family or coaches to know that they aren't acting like themselves and get them to rest or to seek medical attention.
About the Author
BrainLine offers authoritative information and support to anyone whose life has been affected by brain injury or PTSD: people with brain injuries, their family and friends, and the professionals who work with them.
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