A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) caused by a blow or shock to the head that disrupts normal brain function. This disruption can be caused by a direct blow to the head or by forcefully whipping the head and brain back and forth. Although concussions are considered the mildest form of brain injury, they can still cause a variety of symptoms and require proper management to ensure full recovery. 

What is the cause of the commotion?

Concussions can be caused by a variety of events that cause a blow or jolt to the head, such as:

  1. Falls: Slipping, slipping, or falling and hitting your head on a hard surface is a common cause of concussions, especially in children and the elderly. 
  2. Sports injuries: Athletes in contact sports such as football, hockey and soccer are at high risk for concussions due to collisions and head-to-head contact. 
  3. Motor vehicle accidents: Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents can all cause head impact damage with the steering wheel, dashboard, or other objects. 
  4. Chemical changes: Temporary changes in brain chemicals, such as neurotransmitters, affect communication between brain cells. 
  5. Changes in blood flow: Disruption of blood flow to certain parts of the brain, affecting their function. 
  6. Cellular dysfunction: Temporary impairment of brain cells with no obvious damage on a scan. 

Concussion signs and symptoms

The symptoms of a concussion can vary depending on the severity of the injury and can appear immediately or last for hours or days. Some common symptoms include:

Predisposing factors for concussion

Certain factors can increase your risk of concussion: 

  1. Age: Children and older adults are more prone to concussions due to weaker neck muscles and a less flexible brain. 
  2. Previous concussions: Having a history of concussions can make you more vulnerable to future ones. 
  3. Contact sports: Athletes in sports with a high risk of head impact are more prone to concussions. 
  4. Certain medical conditions: Conditions that affect balance or coordination can increase the risk of falls and head injuries. 

Diagnosis of Concussion

Concussion diagnosis usually includes: 

  • Physical examination: A health care professional will examine your reflexes, balance, coordination, and mental status. 
  • Cognitive function: Simple tests can be done to assess your memory, concentration, and problem-solving abilities. 

Imaging tests are not routinely used to diagnose concussions but may be ordered in some cases to rule out more serious brain injuries: 

  • CT scan: A CT scan can help identify bleeding or fractures in the skull. 
  • MRI scan: An MRI scan can be used to detect brain abnormalities in some cases. 

Concussion Treatment Options

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