A concussion or head trauma is a type of brain injury that occurs when the brain is shaken or jarred inside the skull due to a blow to the head, a fall, or any other type of injury that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. This movement can cause the brain to bounce or twist within the skull, damaging brain cells and causing a range of symptoms.
Symptoms of a concussion
Symptoms of a concussion can vary widely depending on the severity of the injury and the individual. Some common symptoms include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Changes in mood or behavior, such as irritability or depression
More severe symptoms can include seizures, loss of consciousness, or difficulty waking up from sleep. If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms after a blow to the head or other injury, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
When to go to the emergency room after a head injury
Concussions, also known as mild TBIs, are head injuries that vary in severity. It’s important to assess and monitor concussions closely to know when to call 911 or go to the emergency room. With any head injury, we encourage patients to seek the proper medical attention.
After a potential concussion, call 911 or visit your closest emergency room if the injured experiences any of the above symptoms.
Steps to take to recover from a concussion
Recovery from a concussion can take time and varies from person to person. Here are some tips that may help speed up the recovery process:
- Rest: Give yourself time to rest and avoid activities that may exacerbate symptoms, such as physical or mental exertion, until symptoms begin to improve.
- Gradually resume activities: Once your symptoms begin to improve, gradually resume your normal activities, starting with light activity and gradually increasing the intensity over time.
- Follow your provider's recommendations: Be sure to follow your primary care provider's recommendations for treatment, which may include medication, therapy, or other interventions to manage symptoms and promote recovery.
- Eat well: A healthy diet can support recovery from a concussion. Focus on foods that are high in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants to help reduce inflammation and support brain health.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which can help support recovery and prevent headaches.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is crucial for recovery from a concussion. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and consider taking naps during the day if necessary.
- Seek support: Reach out to friends, family, or a support group to help manage the emotional and psychological impact of a concussion.
Tips for preventing a concussion or head trauma
While it is impossible to completely prevent all concussions, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of sustaining a head injury. Here are some tips to help prevent a concussion:
- Wear protective gear: Helmets and other protective gear can help absorb the impact of a blow to the head and reduce the risk of a concussion. Be sure to wear appropriate gear for sports and other activities that involve the risk of head injury.
- Practice safe driving: Wear a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car, and make sure children are properly secured in car seats or booster seats.
- Avoid risky activities: Activities such as extreme sports, contact sports, or other high-risk activities can increase your risk of head injury. Consider your own limitations and skill level before engaging in these types of activities.
- Prevent falls: Make your home and workplace safe by removing tripping hazards, installing handrails on staircases, and using non-slip mats in the bathroom and shower.
- Stay alert: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions while walking, driving, or participating in other activities where a head injury could occur.