Concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury associated with a head injury such as hit to the head post fall or blow to the head. It occurs when the blow to the head is strong enough to cause violent head movement. Brain injury associated with concussion causes the brain to move suddenly and abruptly inside the cranial vault. Concussion often results in short term brain dysfunctioning. It is a serious injury which affects the normal functioning of the body and brain cells.
How Long Does a Concussion Last?
The symptoms associated with concussion can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of months. The duration of the condition depends on the severity of the brain injury involved. Based on the severity and duration of the symptoms, concussions are graded as discussed below:
- Grade 0: Associated with headache and difficulty with concentration and focussing.
- Grade 1: This type of concussion is associated with headache, difficulty with concentration with a feeling of being dazed for less than a minute.
- Grade 2: Symptoms are similar to grade 1, but with a longer period of feeling dazed. Other symptoms include amnesia, dizziness, ringing in the ears, confusion and generalized irritability.
- Grade 3 Concussion: Associated with loss of consciousness that lasts for less than a minute.
- Grade 4 Concussion: Associated with loss of consciousness which lasts for longer than a minute.
In patients with grade 0 or grade 1 concussion, resuming limited activities may be allowed within a day or two. However, patients with grade 2 concussion requires longer period of rest (around 5 to 7 days). In cases of grade 3 or grade 4 concussions, the patients need a few weeks of rest for recovery. Regardless of the grade of concussion that the patient may be suffering from, it is important to ensure that the patient is completely symptom free before resuming his or her normal life.
The time taken to recover from concussion depends on a number of factors as listed below:
- Cause of the injury
- Severity of the concussion (Mild, moderate or severe)
- Delay in treatment or medical attention
- Type of treatment received and response to the treatment
- History of previous concussion or brain injury
- Presence of other underlying medical condition.
Ways to Deal with Concussion
It is essential to diagnose and treat concussion as early as possible to prevent complications and other long term injuries. It is also important to provide adequate post-concussion care for proper healing. It is important to keep the following in mind, when a patient experiences concussion:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible, to get the injury and symptoms evaluated. It is important to treat any head injury as an emergency.
- It is important to provide adequate rest to the body during the day and get enough sleep at night for promote healing of the brain.
- Limit exposure to bright light such as direct sunlight. It is advised to stay indoor as much as possible during the recovery period.
- Apply ice pack to get relief from headache.
- It is advised to avoid staying alone and always have a family member or caregiver or a friend around in case of any emergency.
- Medicines should be taken only consulting a physician. Over-the-counter drugs may have adverse effect and should be taken only after prior consultation.
- Multitasking and any activity that involves quick shift in focus should be avoided till complete recovery.
- In case of symptoms associated with nausea, it is advised to follow a light and healthy meal.
- Avoid skipping follow up appointments. In case of any sudden discomfort, it is advised to seek medical attention immediately.
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Concussion. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/symptoms-causes/syc-20355594
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2020). Get the Facts About Concussion and Brain Injury. https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_whatis.html
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). (2019). Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/concussion-and-mild-traumatic-brain-injury
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2019). Traumatic Brain Injury: Hope Through Research. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Traumatic-Brain-Injury-Hope-Through