About Brain Concussions
What is a Brain Concussion?
A brain concussion is when a person experiences a trauma to the head, which in turn affects the normal functioning of the brain. A concussion is usually accompanied by a brief loss of consciousness and bruising.
A brain concussion is trauma-related: the greater the head trauma, the greater the risk of an emergency situation. When there is a severe head injury with brain trauma, there can be several complications that call for immediate medical attention:
- Brain contusion – An extended loss of consciousness after the concussion. The pia mater may be stripped and torn; if this is the case, the blood will then enter the subarachnoid space. This may then also cause meningeal irritation, a severe headache, and a stiff neck.
- Acute epidural hemorrhage – Torn vessels of the middle meningeal artery release blood into the outside layer of the dura. This can cause a headache, confusion, seizures, a coma, respiratory depression, or death if left untreated by surgical intervention.
- Acute subdural hemorrhage – When veins from the cortex to the superior sagittal sinus tear, blood pooling splits open the dural border cell layer; this causes the blood to collect at the dura-arachnoid junction. Surgical intervention is required to withdraw the blood pooling and ease the intracranial pressure.
- Cerebral hemorrhage – Usually noticed immediately after an injury. Due to blood pooling in the head, intracranial pressure will rise until the point of coma or death unless surgical intervention is made.
Brain concussions can affect an individual by causing the following symptoms:
- Memory Loss
- Slurring Speech
- Lack of Coordination
- Sense of Fogginess or Confusion
- Ringing in the Ears
- Feeling Physically Fatigued
Symptoms of a brain concussion can be subtle and not immediately noticeable and can last for several days, weeks, or longer. These symptoms include:
- Problems concentrating
- Problems with memory andrecall
- Light sensitivity
- Sleeping disorder
- Withdrawal or depression
Trauma to the head in some form or another is usually the cause of brain concussions. Car accidents, sports-related injuries, construction site accidents, or even violence are the primary causes. Additionally, no matter how mild a concussion may seem, it still injures the brain. Fortunately, most brain concussions are mild and people recover fully.
Two of the more common symptoms involved in brain concussions are confusion and memory loss. Due to the trauma suffered in the concussion, the memory loss may occur regardless of being conscious or not. Many people will not even recall the moment of impact and even forget daily tasks at home and work. This can have a debilitating effect for any individual.
At an emergency room or hospital, a physician will typically use the Glasgow Coma Scale to evaluate a patient with a head injury. This instrument will initially determine the level of your brain injury. Once the degree of the injury is known, a physician will put a treatment plan in place.
If it is a major head injury, then surgery may be required to repair ruptured vessels or to allow the swelling to temporarily expand. For milder concussions, patients may be allowed to leave the ER or hospital once the physician determines that the patient no longer needs medical supervision.
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