Concussion is a disturbance of function of the nerve cells in the brain as a result of a blow to the skull. This means that parts of the brain's functions are temporarily 'on hold'.
By far the most common head injury, a concussion results from an acceleration-deceleration injury or a blow to the head hard enough to jostle the brain and make it strike the skull, causing temporary neural dysfunction, but not hard enough to cause a cerebral contusion. Most concussions victims recover within 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 crash. Sometimes such a blow results from child, spouse, or elder abuse.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not appear immediately. Symptoms can last for days, weeks or longer.
Your behavior, mental ability and physical skills all are linked to specific areas of your brain. The severity and side effects of a head injury depend greatly on which area of your brain was most affected.
Immediate signs and symptoms of a concussion may include:
Computed tomography scanning and magnetic resonance imaging help rule out fractures and more serious injuries.
Most patients require no treatment except bed rest, observations, and nonnarcotic analgesics for headache.
Attention to safety , including the use of appropriate athletic gear, such as bike helmets and seat belts, reduces the risk of head injury.
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