What Are The Symptoms Of A Head Injury
Your head has more blood vessels than any other part of your body, so bleeding on the surface of your brain or within your brain is a serious concern in head injuries. However, not all head injuries cause bleeding.
Its important to be aware of other symptoms to watch out for. Many symptoms of serious brain injury wont appear right away. You should always continue to monitor your symptoms for several days after you injure your head.
Common symptoms of a minor head injury include:
- a headache
Head injuries shouldnt be taken lightly. See your doctor right away if you think you have the symptoms of a serious head injury.
In particular, you should always seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- loss of consciousness
Either call 911 or your local emergency services or go to an emergency room. Even if you dont go to the ER immediately after the injury occurs, you should seek help if you still have symptoms after a day or two.
In the case of a potentially serious head injury, you should always call 911 or your local emergency services. Motion can sometimes make a head injury worse. Emergency medical personnel are trained to move injured people carefully without causing more damage.
Can Surfing Cause Brain Damage
By now you will be well aware that surfing can be dangerous.
From big waves to hard ocean floors, you always stand the risk of getting hurt.
But have you ever wondered how dangerous it is?
Can surfing cause brain damage, and what is the likeliness of getting a concussion?
One of the most common injuries that occur when surfing is to the head.
Concussions and brain damage are a real risk when repeated blows are taken to the skull.
Not only that, but asphyxiation or partial drowning further adds to the risk of brain damage.
The following article will look at different ways that you can get brain damage while surfing, as well as what to do when you receive a hard knock to the head in the water.
How Is A Concussion Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about the event leading to your head injury, your symptoms and perform a neurological exam. The neurological exam will check your:
- Neurological function and reflexes.
- Neck muscles for their motion and for tenderness
Verbal, written or computerized tests may be used to check your:
- Thinking ability.
- Problem-solving skills.
- Memory and concentration.
You will also be asked if youve experienced mood changes, sleeping changes or any changes in behavior.
Imaging with CT scan or MRI isnt always needed in the early evaluation of concussion. This is because most of the effects of a concussion arent seen on imaging. However, these imaging tests might be ordered if more serious effects of a concussion are suspected like bleeding inside the skull, brain swelling or spinal cord or cervical spine injury or if symptoms are worsening.
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Repeated Concussions In Athletes
Athletes especially those who play contact sports like football and hockey are at higher risk for multiple concussions than the general population. If youre an athlete recovering from a concussion, do not return to your sport until you are fully healed. Follow the return to play protocol found on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whether youre a high school athlete, college athlete, a retired athlete, or still competing later in life, the dangers are the same.
Unfortunately, sustaining one concussion means that you are at risk for more. During recovery, your brain needs time to heal. Head trauma could affect coordination, balance, and other skills needed to keep you safe during practice. Youre more likely to get another concussion when those abilities are compromised.
Its worth noting: if you sustain a second concussion while recovering from the first concussion, you risk longer-lasting symptoms and brain damage. In extremely rare cases, some patients die from second impact syndrome, a condition we dont fully understand, that involves a rapid swelling reaction in their brains. Never return to sports before your concussion has healed.
Above all, dont let anyone be it your coach, your teammates, or yourself push you into doing something youre uncomfortable doing. Its not worth the risk to your safety.
How Common Are Concussions
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost three million adults and children in the United States suffer a concussion each year. Each day, an average of 150 Americans die of traumatic brain injury.
How does a concussion happen? The main causes of a concussion are head injuries from car accidents, falls, and sports-related concussions.
There are long-term effects of concussions in football. Football players are especially vulnerable to severe or mild traumatic brain injury.
Since it is a contact sport, football is a risk factor for long-term concussion symptoms. The NFL has been slow to admit the link between playing football and sports concussions. However, researchers have concluded there is indeed a link.
But American football is not the only dangerous sport. There are a few sports where a higher percentage of athletes suffer concussions:
- Mens ice hockey
- Womens ice hockey
- Womens soccer
The long-term effects of multiple concussions can be even worse. The more often you are concussed, the more likely these symptoms of concussions will occur.
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Short Term Effects Of A Concussion
After suffering a concussion, many people experience headache and confusion. Some people experience loss of memory and are unable to remember the event. The amnesia may or may not follow loss of consciousness.
In addition to loss of balance or dizziness, concussions may cause:
- A temporary loss of consciousness
- Feeling as if your brain is in a fog
- Delayed response to questions
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light and sound
Head trauma is very common in young children, especially in toddlers who are learning to walk, run and play. Short-term effects may be difficult to recognize in children because youngsters may not be able to describe how they feel. After a child hits his head, watch for non-verbal clues of a concussion, such as:
- Appearing dazed
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
What Causes Traumatic Brain Injury
The main causes of TBI depend on the type of head injury:
- Some of the common causes of a closed head injury include
- Falls. This is the most common cause in adults age 65 and older.
- Motor vehicle crashes. This is the most common cause in young adults.
- Being struck by an object
- Child abuse. This is the most common cause in children under age 4.
- Blast injuries due to explosions
Some accidents such as explosions, natural disasters, or other extreme events can cause both closed and penetrating TBI in the same person.
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When It Comes To Damage To The Brain Not All Concussions Are The Same
Concussions can vary greatly in severity depending on the force of impact or whiplash. To guide treatment, physicians will grade the concussion on a scale of one to three :
- Grade 1 Concussion: Grade 1 concussions are considered mild concussions. The symptoms should last less than 15 minutes and involve no loss of consciousness.
- Grade 2 Concussion: Grade 2 Concussions, or moderate concussions, have symptoms that last longer than 15 minutes. Still, however, they do not involve loss of consciousness.
- Grade 3 Concussion: Grade 3 concussions are severe. These are cases where the person loses consciousness. The loss of consciousness can be for just a few seconds or longer.
Does Diet Play Any Role In Recovery From A Concussion
Theres not much information about concussion and diet in the medical literature. There is some on nutrition and general brain health and well-being in the elderly. Some of the more researched supplements on diet include fish oils, turmeric, green tea extract and resveratrol. Any supplements taken should be in addition to a well-balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat and processed foods.
One thing to consider is that a concussed person may not feel as hungry or thirsty as before. Make sure to encourage eating throughout the day to keep blood sugar up and to try and drink six 8 oz. glasses of fluid throughout the day. The brain is sensitive to low blood sugar and dehydration and these conditions can mimic or worsen concussion symptoms like headache, dizziness, fogginess, stomachache and irritability.
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What Can I Do To Get Rid Of Brain Fog
Some patients come to us and say their brain fog really isnt that bad. But when we dig deeper, we see theyre compensating for it in some way. Or, maybe their injury was so long ago, theyve gotten used to it and it just seems normal to them.
On the other hand, some are having so much trouble that theyre unable to work, or their productivity is drastically reduced. They are desperately seeking a solution.
So, how do you get rid of brain fog? Will it ever go away?
First, well look at a few things patients often do or try. Then, well discuss a few strategies that can really help.
What Tests Can Be Used To Assess My Athletes Brain To See If They Are Ready To Go Back To School Or Sport
After the hands on neurological examination is complete, other neuropsychological tests can be used to assess a student-athletes ability to go back to school and sport.
ImPACT neuropsychological test
The immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive test is a concussion management tool used to help diagnose and evaluate student athletes. This computerized test measures a student athletes visual and verbal memory, reaction time, and processing speed.
The 30-minute test is ideally performed before the start of a sport season and after a head injury . Evaluating the test results and comparing with the baseline test helps care providers document brain function and see if it has returned back to a student athletes healthy normal. It can assist with treatment decisions and help determine when its safe for a student athlete to return to their activity.
Hospital or Organization Concussion App
Some sports health centers within hospital systems have developed their own concussion app. These tablet-based, mobile tools are used to report and assess concussion and symptoms.
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Why Do I Feel More Tired Than Usual
A concussion weakens your brains ability to make and supply energy for healing. To make matters worse, a concussed brain needs more energy than normal to restore balance and heal. This gap between your lower energy supply and higher energy demand explains why you may feel extremely tired after a concussion.
On top of this energy shortage, your brain is prioritizing its limited energy for healing, which means that you have less energy available for daily functioning. Its common for people recovering from a concussion to feel they are always running out of energy.
What Is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
There is now evidence that repeated concussions could be associated with the development in later life of a particular kind of degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy .
CTE is a progressive disease with Alzheimers-like symptoms. It was first discovered by neuropathologist Dr Bennet Omalu in the early 2000s in the brain of Mike Webster, a former National Football League player. When Omalu looked at Websters brain tissue under the microscope he observed concentrations of a material known as tau. This is one of two proteins known to accumulate in the brain in Alzheimers disease. Since then, CTE has been found in the brains of 110 out of 111 former NFL players who donated their brains to research.
CTE has many of the same physiological hallmarks of forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease, particularly the abnormal accumulation in the brain of a protein called tau. In a healthy brain, tau is found in the axons, the transmission lines of neurons, where it plays an important role in maintaining the structure of the internal transport system of these nerve cells. In conditions such as Alzheimers and CTE, tau instead forms tangles that clump together to disrupt the cells transport system.
CTE and dementia share many symptoms and they also share two key proteins that cause toxic clump in neurons.
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How Is A Head Injury Treated
The treatment for head injuries depends on both the type and the severity of the injury.
With minor head injuries, there are often no symptoms other than pain at the site of the injury. In these cases, you may be told to take acetaminophen for the pain.
You shouldnt take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen or aspirin . These can make any bleeding worse. If you have an open cut, your doctor may use sutures or staples to close it. Theyll then cover it with a bandage.
Even if your injury seems minor, you should still watch your condition to make sure it doesnt get worse. It isnt true that you shouldnt go to sleep after you have injured your head. But you should be woken up every two hours or so to check for any new symptoms. You should go back to the doctor if you develop any new or worsening symptoms.
You may need to be hospitalized if you have a serious head injury. The treatment you receive at the hospital will depend on your diagnosis.
The treatment for severe head injuries can include:
What Are The Different Types Of Brain Injuries
They are the concussion, contusion, penetrating injury, and anoxic brain injury. 1. Concussions A concussion is a minor brain injury that is caused by shaking, an impact to the head, or a sudden change in movement, like whiplash.
Does a concussion bruise the brainA cerebral contusion, or intracerebral hematoma, is a type of traumatic brain injury that is essentially a bruise to the brain causing bleeding and swelling. Unlike a concussion, which is more widespread, contusions are localized to a specific area in the brain.
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Other Factors That Influence Recovery
Genetics may play a role in how quickly and completely a person recovers from a TBI. For example, researchers have found that apolipoprotein E 4 a genetic variant associated with higher risks for Alzheimers disease is associated with worse health outcomes following a TBI. Much work remains to be done to understand how genetic factors, as well as how specific types of head injuries, affect recovery. This research may lead to new treatment strategies and improved outcomes for people with TBI.
Studies suggest that age and the number of head injuries a person has suffered over his or her lifetime are two critical factors that impact recovery. For example, TBI-related brain swelling in children can be very different from the same condition in adults, even when the primary injuries are similar. Brain swelling in newborns, young infants, and teenagers often occurs much more quickly than it does in older individuals. Evidence from very limited CTE studies suggest that younger people tend to have behavioral and mood changes associated with CTE, while those who are older have more cognitive difficulties.
Compared with younger adults with the same TBI severity, older adults are likely to have less complete recovery. Older people also have more medical issues and are often taking multiple medications that may complicate treatment . Further research is needed to determine if and how treatment strategies may need to be adjusted based on a persons age.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following physical, cognitive/behavioral, or sensory symptoms, especially within the first 24 hours after a TBI:
- hearing problems, such as ringing in the ears
- bad taste in the mouth
- sensitivity to light or sound
- mood changes or swings, agitation, combativeness, or other unusual behavior
- feeling anxious or depressed
- fatigue or drowsiness a lack of energy or motivation
Headache, dizziness, confusion, and fatigue tend to start immediately after an injury, but resolve over time. Emotional symptoms such as frustration and irritability tend to develop during recovery.
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Brain Injuries And Memory
Memory is often damaged when a traumatic brain injury occurs. Mild traumatic brain injuries may have little or no effect on memory. If there is an effect, the memories lost may be recent and quickly return in hours or days. However, more severe traumatic brain injuries can cause loss of memories for long time periods . Sometimes some memories may never return.
What Are The Complications Of A Traumatic Brain Injury
A moderate or severe TBI can cause permanent brain damage and disabilities. People with TBIs also have a higher risk of:
- Seizures .
In rare cases, severe head injuries or having had several moderate to severe TBIs can increase someones risk to developing Alzheimers disease, dementia, or movement disorders later in life. Reassuringly, this is unlikely to happen with a mild TBI.
Finally, chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE can occur. This is a condition that happens when someone has had several blows to the head over an extended period, such as professional athletes. This condition is in the early stages of research and is still in the process of being understood. Currently, this condition cannot be diagnosed until the brain tissue at autopsy.
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