How long does a concussion last? Depends on severity

A concussion is an injury that can disrupt the normal functioning of the brain. Concussions are notorious for bruising and stretching blood vessels, and can occur due to an injury, jerk, or direct blow to the head. They can also occur if the head moves forcefully to the side, forward, or backward.

Depending on the severity of the injury, there is a loss of normal brain function and the effects of a concussion can last for days, weeks, or longer.

This article explains how long concussions can last.

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Types of concussions

There are five categories of concussions, which are grouped according to symptoms. The following explains the grades and symptoms:

  • Level 0: A person has difficulty concentrating or has a headache.
  • 1st year: Concentration and headaches continue, as well as a feeling of daze that lasts a minute or less.
  • 2nd year: The feeling of dizziness lasts for more than a minute and there may be amnesia, confusion, ringing in the ears, dizziness and / or irritability.
  • 3rd year: There is a loss of consciousness for a minute or less.
  • Level 4: Loss of consciousness lasts a minute or more.

In addition to the grades of a concussion, there are specific subtypes that have treatment options:

  • Cognitive: Symptoms include an altered reaction with problems with memory and attention. Treatment is neuropsychological assessment and follow-up.
  • Eyepiece-motor: Symptoms include eye pain, difficulty judging distances, sensitivity to light, headache, eye strain, difficulty concentrating, and blurred or double vision. Treatment includes visual training with an optometrist.
  • Headache / migraine: Symptoms include sensitivity to light, sound or smell, as well as nausea and vomiting. Treatment includes the management of headaches.
  • Vestibular: Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, haze, lightheadedness, imbalance, and dizziness. Treatment includes vestibulo-ocular training with a physiotherapist.
  • Anxiety / mood: Symptoms include sadness, irritability, fatigue, feeling overwhelmed and feeling hopeless. Treatment includes cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling.

Danger signs

If a person has a concussion or symptoms that last for several weeks, it is important to see a healthcare professional. If you have any of the following symptoms, see a doctor immediately:

  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to wake up
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Continuous nausea
  • Headaches get worse over time or don’t go away
  • History of numerous concussions
  • Symptoms that worsen or do not improve after 10-14 days

Return to normal activity

When a person has a concussion, physical and mental rest is ideal. It’s natural to need more rest and sleep than usual, but research has shown that too much mental rest can prolong the recovery period and make it harder to return to normal activities.

It is recommended to start engaging in activities slowly. When a person begins to engage in activities, if the symptoms of concussion appear, it is time to rest and limit the activities that make the symptoms worse.

Regular activities that a person participated in before the injury should begin when they can be tolerated. If there is a high degree of concussion, activities should be avoided for the first two weeks.

A health care provider will consider both physical and cognitive activities before allowing a person to participate.

Easily return to activities

Symptoms can get worse if a person returns to normal activities too early.

Back to sport

If a person is an athlete, research has shown that if concussion symptoms improve every day, they can start adding low-level cardiovascular activities. These activities include:

  • Market
  • Cycling on a stationary bike

As improvement continues, the athlete can increase the activity level with the help of a physical trainer who can determine how much the athlete can tolerate when it comes to returning to sport. and exercise.

For student-athletes, they can resume their activities when they are:

  • 100% symptom-free at rest
  • 100% symptom-free with normal mental activity
  • 100% symptom-free with exercise
  • Stop taking medication for concussion symptoms
  • Fully back to school and able to tolerate schoolwork
  • Have a physical exam and balance test that are within normal limits
  • Have been cleared to play by a healthcare provider trained in the assessment and management of concussions

Concussion protocol

Concussion protocols are procedures and policies of an organization that is required to care for a person with a head injury. The organization’s healthcare providers are the people who make sure the protocol is followed.

Other professionals and individuals who might be involved include:

  • Trainers
  • Advisors
  • Teachers
  • Parents
  • School nurses
  • Rehabilitation specialists

This protocol is usually associated with a sports-related injury.

Pass basic tests and no symptoms

The purpose of basic testing is to assess the brain function and balance of an athlete. This includes:

  • Memory capacities
  • How long can the person concentrate
  • How quickly they can solve problems and think

This test also includes an exam to check for symptoms of concussion.

Stretching and balance exercises

During this phase, the athlete can participate in aerobic exercise to increase the heart rate. They can’t lift any weight right now. Activities include:

  • Light jogging
  • Market
  • Ride a stationary bike

Training imitating sport

This phase allows the athlete to increase his activity and heart rate. Moderate movements are allowed, including:

  • Jogging
  • Short run
  • Moderate-intensity stationary bike
  • Bodybuilding

When reintroducing weight lifting, there should be less weight and less time compared to the typical routine.

Contactless drills

This phase allows the athlete to participate in:

  • Sprint / race
  • Their regular weightlifting routine
  • Stationary bike

During this time, the athlete can participate in three non-contact sport specific plans of motion / exercises.

Validated by a neurologist

Once the athlete is cleared by a neurologist, he can resume regular activity.

Healing Tips

When healing from a concussion, it’s important to follow the plan that your healthcare provider has shared.

The first thing is mental and physical rest. Learn about the activities that can trigger concussion symptoms. With each activity, start slowly. If you have difficulty, limit the activity that makes symptoms worse.

Things to avoid

When a person is recovering from a concussion, it is important to rest and heal. Avoid:

  • Intense movements
  • Watch television
  • Listen to loud music
  • Send text messages
  • Reading
  • Take a plane trip
  • Using the phone
  • Drinking alcohol

If you have questions about which activities to avoid, contact your health care provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a concussion look like?

Depending on the severity, a concussion looks like a headache or pressure in the head.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Light sensitivity
  • Tired

Why can’t you sleep after a concussion?

Although physical and mental rest are important in healing from a concussion, research has shown that too much rest can make a patient susceptible to activities to which they are accustomed.

About Alma Ackerman

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