What Happens To The Body And Brain After Experiencing A Concussion
A concussion is one of the most common types of brain injuries, particularly in slip and fall as well as car accident personal injury cases. While many concussions are mild and sufferers recover quickly, this isn’t universally the case, and some concussions can cause lasting physical and psychological consequences. It’s important to know just what a concussion does to the body and the brain in an effort to better understand how one is affected by this type of injury in both the short and long term.
During The Impact
A concussion occurs when the brain is knocked up against the skull in place to protect it, and this can occur when the head experiences impact or when the body experiences a sharp jolt. During more extreme cases of whiplash, for instance, a concussion can occur even if the head hasn’t touched another outside object. What the brain experiences is a type of bruise, but a bruise to such a delicate and complex organ creates a great deal more potential for damage than the common type of bruise one may experience on their skin.
During impact, quite a bit can happen to the brain. The impact can have enough force to tear or shear important nerve tissue, it can alter the balance of chemicals in the brain, and it can impair brain nerve cell function. This damage to nerve cell function is typically responsible for the momentary lapse of consciousness often considered the telltale symptom a concussion has been experienced. Not all concussions do come with a loss of consciousness, but these are usually very mild and come with few symptoms and very little downtime.
Concussions And Secondary Injuries
The injured brain may then trigger processes that actually work to worsen injuries and symptoms, most commonly imbalances of ions for nerve function and inflammation. These processes and secondary injuries can be a big contributing factor to the long recovery times experienced, which is an already energy intensive process. Reduced blood flow due to inflammation may make delivery of necessary oxygen difficult, and nerve cell damage may make production of energy more complicated. Experiencing a second concussion before one fully recovers from the first may even cause lasting and permanent brain injury.
Mild concussions may not cause any symptoms after the concussion, while others may cause a whole bevy of systems that leave sufferers in a difficult position as they try to recover. These symptoms can be debilitating and include dizziness, headaches, nausea, impaired focus, sensitivity to sound, and fatigue, and just because a person experiences few symptoms with a first concussion doesn’t mean this will be the case if they experience another even years later.
Concussion symptoms in mild to moderate concussions will usually clear up within a couple weeks, but more severe cases may cause symptoms that take years to go away if they go away at all. Prolonged changes in cognitive function due to concussion injuries can even lead to permanent disability.
What To Do
If you’ve been in a car accident or slip and fall and you’ve experienced a concussion, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention straight away. With concussions, early intervention is important to a full recovery, and even more important to the potential of reaching a settlement for injury compensation.