Mark W. Mathys | December 26, 2022 | Brain Injuries
A cut may bleed, and a broken bone may be instantly painful, but severe head injuries do not always result in immediate symptoms. While you may bump your head in an accident, the true extent of your injury may not be known for several days or weeks. If you have not received medical care, brain damage may already have occurred.
You are at risk of a concussion whenever you hit your head. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that concussions are rarely life-threatening but can nonetheless leave harm that lasts for years. You should obtain a medical evaluation and begin any necessary treatment as soon as possible after a head injury.
Types of Head Injuries Leading To Concussions
A blow or strike to your head can lead to a concussion. In this situation, an external object strikes your head, or you hit your head on a fixed surface. Examples include hitting your head on a steering wheel during a crash or falling in a store and hitting your head on the floor.
“Whiplash” movements can also damage your brain and cause a concussion. These movements often occur in car wrecks, where the forces move your head quickly back and forth. This movement affects your brain, too, causing it to bounce back and forth within your skull. In this manner, you sustain damage to your brain.
Although you can lose consciousness in either type of injury incident, losing consciousness does not guarantee you have a concussion. Similarly, maintaining consciousness after a head injury does not mean you avoided a concussion.
Concussion Symptoms Can Manifest Days After the Injury
Just because you did not lose consciousness or do not feel the pain of a bruise does not mean you are in the clear. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion after a blow or injury to your head. If you notice any of the following symptoms, seek prompt medical care.
Recurring Symptoms or Symptoms that Do Not Resolve
Headaches, nausea, and vomiting may develop immediately after a head injury. If these symptoms go away but reappear or do not alleviate within a couple of days, it could signify a more severe concussion. In this situation, it is advisable to seek evaluation from a qualified medical professional.
Head injuries can cause you to lose consciousness and forget the injury event itself. But if you notice in the days after hitting your head that you forget things more frequently or quickly forget instructions that others give you, it may be a cause for concern.
According to the CDC, some individuals who suffered concussions also reported feeling “off” or easily confused.
Changes in Behavior
In addition to changes in one’s thinking, a concussion may also lead to a change in behaviors. You may notice that you are more agitated than usual. You may also feel more tired and lethargic than what is typical for you.
Any noticeable change in your regular patterns and routines without a satisfactory explanation should warrant a visit to your doctor.
How Long To Watch for Symptoms of a Concussion
If they are to develop, indications of an underlying concussion should manifest within a few days to a couple of weeks following a head injury. You do not need to alter your daily routines to wait and see if symptoms manifest.
However, if you do suspect you have a concussion, it is best to go to the emergency room or schedule a visit with your healthcare provider. It is more beneficial to visit a healthcare provider early than to delay getting treatment for a concussion because you are not sure.