Concussion Treatment - Signs & Symptoms
By far the most common head injury, concussion results from a blow to the head - a blow hard enough to jostle the brain and make it hit against the skull, causing temporary neural dysfunction, but not hard enough to cause a cerebral contusion. Most concussion victims recover completely within 24 to 48 hours. Repeated concussions, however, exact a cumulative toll on the brain.
The blow that causes a concussion is usually sudden and forceful- a fall to the ground, a punch to the head, a motor vehicle accident. Also, such a blow sometimes results from child abuse. Whatever the cause, the resulting injury is mild compared with the damage done by cerebral contusions or lacerations.
Signs and symptoms
After a blow to the head, talk to your doctor if you have any of the following signs of concussion:
Differentiating between concussion and more serious head injuries requires a thorough history of the trauma and a neurologic examination. Such an examination must evaluate the patient's level of consciousness (LOC), mental status, cranial nerve and motor function, deep tendon reflexes, and orientation to time, place, and person.
If no abnormalities are found and if severe head injury appears unlikely, the patient should be observed for signs of more severe cerebral trauma. Observation provides a baseline for gauging any deterioration in the patient's condition.
Computed tomography (CT) scans may rule out fractures and more serious injuries; obtain them whenever you suspect severe head injuries. Skull X-rays remain controversial and are, in any case, being supplanted by CT scans.
Rest is the best recovery technique. Healing takes time. Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs may relieve headache pain, but talk to your doctor before taking any medications, especially aspirin. Aspirin may contribute to bleeding. Don't give aspirin to children because it may lead to serious problems, such as Reye's syndrome.
The use of protective headgear can dramatically decrease the risk of concussion when engaging in any of the following activities:
Wear sensible shoes. If you're older, wear thinner, hard-soled, flat shoes. Resilient-soled athletic shoes may impair your balance and contribute to falls. Avoid wearing high heels, sandals with light straps, or shoes that are either too slippery or too sticky.
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