All you Need to Know about Concussion

All you Need to Know about Concussion

 All you Need to Know about Concussion

It can happen in a fall or accident, for example, in sports or road traffic: The head receives a

shock, moves jerky or hits the ground. Such an injury can cause the brain to stop functioning

correctly temporarily. The colloquial term for this is "concussion." Experts refer to it as a mild

craniocerebral trauma.

Those who have a concussion usually feel lightheaded and have headaches. Often it also

comes to dizziness and nausea. Sometimes the memory of what happened shortly before or

after the accident is missing. It is essential to have an (emergency) medical examination for a

head injury. In the case of a concussion, one is often admitted to a hospital for observation for

24 hours as a precaution. After a short period of physical and mental rest, the symptoms usually

disappear after a few days or weeks. Long-term consequences are rare.

Symptoms

Typical complaints of a concussion concern

● The body: these include headaches, dizziness, balance problems, visual disturbances,

nausea and vomiting.

● Perception and thinking: often, there is drowsiness, confusion, and slowed the action

and thinking; directly after the head injury also to problems with concentration and

orientation.

● Memory: Sometimes, the shock leads to memory impairment (amnesia), usually lasting

less than 24 hours. Then you can't remember what happened just before, during or

shortly after the accident.

● The condition: Irritability, anxiety, and problems falling asleep or staying asleep can also

be consequences.

The severe symptoms depend mainly on how much the brain has been injured.

Some people are briefly unconscious after a fall or accident. Then quick medical help is

necessary to clarify whether it is a severe injury such as a cerebral haemorrhage. It is also

essential to dial the emergency number 112 if there are the following signs:

● Disturbances of memory

● persistent headaches that become more severe

● repeated vomiting

● severe fatigue or drowsiness

● unclear speech or vision

● unusual behaviour

● pupils of different sizes

● Seizures

● Bleeding or fluid leakage from the ear or nose

● heavily bleeding wounds on the head

Causes and Risk Factors

The brain is in the skull of a fluid, the so-called cerebrospinal fluid. Usually, it protects the brain

from injury by cushioning movements.

Concussions are often the result of falls, sports injuries, traffic, work or household accidents. For

example, if you hit your head on the ground, the jerky movement can "shake" the brain. If it hits

the hard skull wall, it can be injured. Some nerve connections often rupture so that information

is no longer processed and passed on slowly or only slowly. The brain is, therefore, initially less

efficient after a concussion. This can influence thinking, perceiving and feeling.

Concussion: Force in the event of an impact with the head

Impact injuries often occur in contact sports such as football or ice hockey. This is why athletes

have an increased risk of concussions. Children and the elderly also risk more because they fall

more often.

Frequency

More than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year in Germany with a concussion. The

number is increasing yearly – mainly because falls increase in the elderly. There is no exact

information on the frequency of a concussion because by no means do all those affected seek

medical help.

Especially in sports, head injuries are often underestimated, or the symptoms are not

adequately recognized. However, they are common in contact sports: about 5 to 15% of all

injuries are concussions.

Course

After the injury to the head, complaints such as headaches and dizziness usually occur quickly.

Other symptoms may not appear until hours or days later. In most cases, the symptoms

gradually decrease over a few days or weeks. After 1 to 3 months, about 85% of people with

mild traumatic brain injury are symptom-free again.

Occasionally, complaints also last longer. They can show themselves physically, emotionally

and in behaviour. These include headaches, nausea, fatigue, sleep disturbances, listlessness,

anxiety and irritability. A concussion usually does not leave any permanent damage. Whether

multiple concussions in athletes can lead to long-term complications such as dementia is

unclear.

Diagnosis

With any suspicion of a concussion, it is essential to have a medical examination. The doctor

first asks,

● what exactly happened,

● what complaints have occurred after the accident and how they have developed,

● whether there has been a concussion recently and

● what medications are taken?

If you are unconscious or do not remember what happened, an eyewitness may be able to

provide important information.

Subsequently, the doctor examines the general physical and mental condition, for example:

● Balance and gait safety

● Pupil function

● Reflexes of arms and legs

● Orientation and coordination

● Language

A concussion cannot be detected using imaging techniques such as Computed tomography.

They are only used if a severe brain injury such as a cerebral haemorrhage is to be ruled out –

for example, if the symptoms are particularly severe or if there is a higher risk of complications.

Prevention

Some protective measures can lower the risk of head injuries in leisure and sports, such as:

● wear a helmet, for example, when cycling, skiing, inline skating and horseback riding,

● to adhere to the traffic rules and

● buckle up in the car.

In old age, it is essential to prevent falls – for example, by eliminating tripping hazards in the

home environment. In addition, movement and coordination exercises can help to strengthen

the muscles and improve the sense of balance.

Athletes, in particular, should be informed about the dangers of concussions. Because accidents

with head injuries are often underestimated, considered normal, or the symptoms are not

adequately recognized. Some sufferers downplay the complaints, want to continue playing or do

not want to let their team down. If a concussion is suspected, it is essential to end the training or

game and be examined quickly by a doctor because a renewed head shaking can cause a more

severe injury and lead to more substantial discomfort or complications.

Treatment

The brain needs time to recover to become as efficient as before. The treatment, therefore,

initially consists of a lot of rest, especially in the first three days – with sufficient sleep, little

physical and mental exertion and hardly any external stimuli.

Rarely complications such as a cerebral haemorrhage can occur after a concussion. Therefore,

during the first 24 hours after the accident, one is often observed in the hospital as a precaution.

Subsequently, it is recommended not to stay alone at home. If the symptoms do not subside or

worsen, they should be driven back to the hospital.

After the 1- to the 3-day recovery period, you can gradually resume and increase everyday

activities such as housework, exercise or driving. Going to work or school is then possible

again. Acute complaints such as headaches or nausea can be alleviated by medication.

Listening to the body is essential: If the symptoms return, it must rest again.



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