Untreated concussion and other brain injury may lead to mental health problems, like depression, anxiety, and also change in personality. A concussion is also a brain injury or head injury that temporarily affects brain functioning. Therefore, most people always ask questions about untreated concussions. However, this problem can result in long-term complications. Chronic headaches, memory problems, change in personality, vertigo, and post-concussion syndrome, which are headaches, dizziness, mood swings, and brain fog that can last for months or years after a concussion, are all possible complications.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury – or TBI – caused by a blow to the head or something that causes the head and brain to move back and forth too quickly. This sudden movement can cause the brain to slide down or around the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells. The signs and symptoms of stress can be subtle and not immediately apparent. Symptoms can last for days, weeks, or even longer. However, a concussion can be mild and severe. The most common symptoms after the injury are headache, memory loss (Amnesia), and confusion.
Physical Signs and Symptoms of Concussion may Include:
Other Signs and Symptoms of Concussion Include:
- Amnesia surrounding traumatic events
- Dizziness or “stargazing.”
- Low energy
- Sensitivity to noise and lights
- Difficulty remembering and concentrating
How Long After Hitting Head Can Concussion Symptoms Start Signs of Concussion
You may have symptoms immediately after the injury, some of which may occur a few days after the injury, such as:
- Concentration and memory
- Anger and other behavioural changes
- Light and sound effects
- Sleep problems
- Emotions and depression
- Taste problems and headaches
How Do You Tell if a Child Has a Concussion
Head injuries are common in children due to hyperactivity; children can easily fall or hit their head on an object which may result in a concussion. However, this can be challenging for the child and the parents because children (babies) cannot express their feelings.
Common Symptoms of Concussion in Children can Include:
- Stun appearance
- Intense crying
- Loss of motor movement and loss of balance
- Lack of interest in favourite play activities or toys
- It can also change eating patterns, quantity, and appetite.
Causes of Concussion
Your brain has a gelatinous texture. It is repaired daily from cuts and bruises by the cerebrospinal fluid inside your skull. However, a severe burn to the head and neck or upper body can cause your brain to sag into the interior of your skull.
Sudden acceleration or deceleration of the head, caused by an event such as a car accident or a violent collision, can also cause brain damage. These injuries affect brain function, usually for a short time, causing signs and symptoms of concussion.
This type of brain injury can cause bleeding in or around your brain, causing symptoms such as drowsiness and leading to a prolonged untreated concussion. These symptoms can start immediately or later.
Such bleeding in your brain can be fatal. Therefore, anyone with a brain injury should be evaluated within hours and receive emergency care if symptoms worsen.
Activities that Could Lead to Concussion
Activities and factors that can increase the risk of concussion include:
- Falling, especially in children and adults.
- Playing high-risk sports that demand energy and force, such as football, hockey, soccer, rugby, boxing, or any other contact sport. Thus, playing sports is very dangerous without proper safety equipment and supervision.
- Being involved in a car accident
- Engaged in a pedestrian or bicycle accident
- Engaging in fight or war
- Being a victim of physical violence
Problems that can Cause Concussion Include:
- Post-traumatic headache. Some people have severe headaches for up to seven days after a brain injury.
- Post-traumatic vertigo. Some people experience dizziness or headaches for days, weeks, or months after a brain injury.
- Persistent post-concussion symptoms (post-concussion syndrome). A few people may have symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and disturbed thinking that last longer than three weeks. If these symptoms persist for more than three months, it is called persistent post-convulsion symptoms—cumulative effects of multiple brain injuries. Active research is currently underway to study the impact of repetitive head trauma that does not cause symptoms (subconcussive injury). So far, there is no clear evidence that repeated brain injuries contribute to memory loss.
- Affective syndrome. Rarely, having a second concussion before the signs and symptoms of the first concussion resolve can lead to rapid and often fatal brain swelling.
- Athletes should not return to play if they show signs and symptoms of untreated concussion.
How to Prevent Concussion?
Here are some tips that can help you prevent or reduce the risk of head injury:
Wear protective gear during sports and other recreational activities. Make sure equipment fits properly and is adequately stored and worn correctly.
Be aware that adults, youths, and children can have a concussion, but kids and children have a high rate of engaging in activities that would lead to sudden falls, such as sports, accidents, and rough play. Thus these are ways to prevent concussions.
Wearing of Helmets
Ensure that you or your child always wear the appropriate helmet for activity and that it fits properly. A helmet is required to help reduce the risk of a severe brain injury or skull fracture. Helmets, on the other hand, are not intended to prevent concussions. Therefore, there is no such thing as a “concussion-proof” helmet.
2. Stairway Gate
Use gate protection of stairs to prevent one from falling. Both infants (toddlers) and adults are at risk of falling from unprotected stairs.
3. Soft Surfaces
Use playgrounds with soft material beneath them, such as sand, rather than grass or hard surfaces.
4. Seat Belt:
Make use of a seatbelt while in the car
5. Slippery Floor
Make sure your floor is smooth. A slippery floor can make one fall and possibly hit their head on the floor.
6. Bright Environment
Always stay away from a dark room; one can mistakenly hit their head on the wall, iron, or a wooden object.
7. Free Hazard Surroundings
Take your time to keep your surroundings free from objects that would lead to sudden falls.
Management of Concussion
Resuming routine activity
As your symptoms improve, you can gradually incorporate more thinking-intensive activities, such as doing more schoolwork or work assignments or increasing your time at school.
Your doctor will advise you when it is safe to resume light physical activity. Before your symptoms are completely gone, you’re usually allowed to do light physical activity — such as riding a stationary bike or light jogging — as long as it doesn’t significantly worsen them.
Once all signs and symptoms of a concussion have subsided, you and your doctor can discuss the steps you’ll need to take to return to sports safely. However, returning to sports too soon raises the risk of another brain injury.
Headaches are common in the days and weeks following a concussion. To manage pain, consult your doctor about whether it is safe to take a pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Other pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others), and aspirin, should be avoided because they may increase the risk of bleeding.
There is some information on nutrition and general brain health and well-being. Fish oils, turmeric, green tea extract, and resveratrol are some of the more researched diet supplements. Supplements should be taken in addition to a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat and processed foods. Consider that a concussed person may not feel as hungry or thirsty. However, following the doctor’s prescription will help manage concussion symptoms.
Rest, Both Physical and Mental
Relative rest is the best way to allow your brain to recover in the first few days after a concussion. To recover from a concussion, your doctor will advise you to rest physically and mentally.
For the first two days after severe head concussion symptoms, You have to limit activities that require thinking and mental concentration. However, total rest, such as lying in a dark room and avoiding all stimuli, does not aid recovery and is not advised. If these activities cause your symptoms to worsen, you should limit them for the first 48 hours. This includes playing video games, watching TV, doing schoolwork, reading, texting, or using a computer.
If you believe you have suffered a concussion, you should seek medical attention immediately. Concussion symptoms can last long if they are not appropriately treated. Furthermore, untreated concussion patients are more likely to suffer another concussion, which can significantly worsen the severity and duration of symptoms.