How Long Do Concussions Last?
Perhaps you hit your head as a result of a car accident. Maybe you fell off your bike, and your head hit the pavement. Or maybe you just slipped and fell. People often brush off concussions as temporary, something easily resolved with a little rest. However, some “bumps on the head” can have serious consequences and may even lead to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that in the United States, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including concussions, accounted for 2.87 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in just one year. Traumatic brain injuries are shockingly common.
In Texas alone, 144,000 people suffer a traumatic brain injury each year. The consequences of these injuries can be life-altering. More than 381,000 Texans live with a TBI-related disability.
The CDC estimates that medical professionals only recognize and treat a fraction of the millions of concussions every year.
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury “caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.”
The cerebrospinal fluid acts as a shock absorber, cushioning the brain against the skull. Despite this, a violent blow to the head, or even a rapid deceleration, can cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull. The injured person may suffer from torn blood vessels, damaged nerve fibers, and bruising of the brain.
Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because, typically, concussions are not fatal. Still, the term “mild” refers to the severity of the trauma, not the consequences, which may be serious.
Classification of Concussions
Concussions are sometimes graded from 0 to 4, based on the severity of the initial symptoms:
- Grade 0: headache and difficulty concentrating
- Grade 1: headache, difficulty concentrating, and feeling disoriented or dazed for about a minute
- Grade 2: the same symptoms as a grade 1 concussion, but disorientation, amnesia, irritability, or a ringing in the ears, continue for a longer period
- Grade 3: losing consciousness for less than a minute
- Grade 4: losing consciousness for longer than a minute
These classifications don’t always predict the rate or degree of recovery. A “low-grade concussion,” in other words, can still cause long-term, serious problems.
How Do I Know If I have A Concussion?
After a person suffers a blow or impact to the head, it can be difficult to diagnose a concussion. In most cases, a doctor makes a concussion diagnosis based on the results of a thorough examination, which includes symptoms reported by the patient as well as observations of signs of concussion. Concussion signs and symptoms are extremely important because they may indicate that the brain is injured. Symptoms may take hours or even days to show up.
There is no objective test for a concussion, such as a blood test, available for clinical use. However, in a promising recent study, levels of a biomarker in the blood accurately recognized mild, moderate, and severe concussions. According to the researchers, the difference in biomarkers levels between people with concussions and the control group was evident up to five years after a concussion.
8 Concussion Signs
Concussion signs are indications that someone else could observe, such as:
- Loss of Consciousnes
- Balanced Problems
- Problems with eye function
- Memory loss
- Delayed response to questions
- Confusion or Disorientation
- Inappropriate laughing or crying
to Learn more about specific signs of after experiencing a dangerous head injury speaking with a train professional is the safest way to guarantee your handling the recovery process safely.
4 Types of Concussion Symptoms
A concussion patient may report symptoms, which typically fall into four general categories:
1.) Physical Symptoms
- Feeling dizzy, faint, or light-headed
- Sensitivity to light or sound
2.) Cognitive Symptoms
- Problems concentrating or paying attention
- Memory problems
- Difficulty focusing or multitasking
- Difficulty completing mental tasks
3.) Sleep Symptoms
- Inability to get to sleep or stay asleep
- Sleeping too much or too little
4.) Emotional Symptoms
- Panic attacks
How Long Do Symptoms Last?
Symptoms vary widely from one person to another. The persistence of symptoms depends on the severity of the concussion. Experts have noted that victims who experience mental confusion at the time of the injury are more likely to have longer-lasting symptoms.
Concussion symptoms can come and go. Those who have suffered a concussion may report an irregular recovery process. Some days they may feel that they have completely recovered, and then have days when symptoms return, and they feel their recovery progress has gone backward. Other people might have a few symptoms that clear up fairly quickly, followed by different symptoms. A return of symptoms may indicate that another illness, trauma, or stress is taxing the brain.
The goal of treatment after a concussion is to manage your symptoms. During recovery, the brain is more vulnerable to re-injury. A person who suffers a second concussion during the recovery period may experience dangerous brain swelling, known as Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). Many victims of Second Impact Syndrome suffer from a permanent disability, or the condition is fatal in some cases.
An estimated 10 to 30 percent of concussion patients suffer from an extended recovery period called Post-Concussion Syndrome. This is most likely to occur in patients with a history of multiple concussions.
What to Do While You Are Recovering
During the acute phase, right after a concussion, doctors recommend 24 to 72 hours of rest. A person who has suffered a head injury should not be left alone for the first 48 hours.
While recovering, stay well-rested, drink plenty of fluids, eat a healthy diet, and avoid alcohol. Do not take medication without a doctor’s advice. It may take longer to recover if you try to rush the recovery process. Someone recovering from a concussion should consult their doctor before driving a car, returning to work, resuming athletic activities, traveling by plane, or making important decisions.
A concussion can have serious, long-term consequences. Brain injuries affect the whole person and his or her friends, family members, and colleagues. If you or a loved one have suffered a concussion, an experienced brain injury attorney can explain your legal options.