10 Symptoms and Signs of Concussion


A concussion is a head injury that temporarily affects the functioning of the brain. It is the most common and least serious type of traumatic brain injury (or TBI), and is most often caused by a bump to the head.


According to the CDC, traumatic brain injury is one of the most popular reasons for people to seek medical attention. Seniors over 75, small children and young people aged around 15-24 are high-risk groups.

It is widely believed that concussions involve bleeding, losing consciousness, or amnesia; however, it’s not as common as it seems. [1, 2]

In this article we are going to look closely at the common symptoms of concussion, as well as warning signs that require immediate action.

How Does It Happen?

Our brain is made of soft tissue which is protected by the skull and cushions by cerebrospinal fluid. If there was a strong blow or bump to the head, the brain may have hit the inner side of the skull. TBI’s can result in bruising, damage to blood vessels, and nerve injury, which can damage brain function.

Sometimes the blow can lead to microscopic damage to brain cells that is not visible on a CT scan. In severe cases, the brain tissue may begin to swell, leading to the compression of the brain and the blood vessels, limiting the flow of blood. As a result, the brain fails to receive the necessary amount of oxygen and glucose, and begins to starve. [2]

Depending on the location of the damage, vision, balance, or consciousness may be disturbed by the blow.

Most common situations that can lead to concussions are:

  • Strong falls (especially in children and elderly people);
  • Riding without safety equipment (for example, a bicycle);
  • Car accidents;
  • Violent sports (such as boxing);
  • Military service.

How To Tell If It’s a Concussion?

Concussions are very common. A mild brain trauma occurs every 21 seconds in the U.S.
It can be tricky to diagnose, though, because the symptoms may only appear after days or weeks after the actual injury. Some symptoms may come and go, others might be persistent.
Here are the most frequent signs and symptoms of TBI: [1]

1. Headaches

Everyone has headaches now and then, but if following a head trauma you develop a headache that gradually increases and becomes more and more intense, you are likely to have a concussion. There are different types of pain you may experience with a concussion-related headache, such as sharp pain, stabbing or throbbing sensations, and pressure anywhere in the head. [3]

It may get worse when lying down and better when standing up. It is also commonly aggravated by increased blood flow, so mental or physical activities are likely to cause increased pain. [4]

If you have had a head trauma and experience persistent or intensifying headaches, please see a healthcare specialist.


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