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Concussion: symptoms, causes, treatment and diagnosis

Concussion: symptoms, causes, treatment and diagnosis

May 25, 2023

The cranial structure, despite being quite protected, is extremely susceptible to suffer an injury or accident that ends up causing serious harm or inconvenience to the person who suffers.

One of these accidents is known as concussion , which in spite of the fact that most of the time does not entail great damages, if the person does not maintain the rest and takes care of their health it can end up leading to a multiple commotion or a syndrome of the second impact.

  • Related article: "Parts of the human brain (and functions)"

What is a concussion?

Concussion is the most common type of brain trauma and also the mildest. On a more technical level the expression refers to a small loss of knowledge that does not last long and which can happen after receiving an impact to the head, due to an injury or after a movement in which the head and brain move back and forth very quickly.

Although as a rule, a concussion does not have to be mortal, it is can cause a series of symptoms of considerable importance , which should be treated with all possible haste.

Also, this type of trauma can cause neuronal imbalances without the need for an apparent structural lesion. After a brain seizure of this type the brain is briefly blocked, may present loss of consciousness, confusion or alterations in memory .

The fact that it is one of the most common brain accidents is because of the ease with which it can occur, since any fall, car accident, or any sport or daily activity that involves a lot of movement makes the person susceptible to suffer a concussion.

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Symptoms of concussion

The symptoms associated with the concussion vary according to the person who suffers it and according to the severity of the injury. For example, although the loss of knowledge is a very common symptom of concussion, not all people who suffer from it fail.

In the same way, it is possible for the person to experience the following symptoms both immediately and after a few hours, or even days and weeks, after the accident.

Symptoms of concussion can be classified into three types : mild concussion symptoms, severe symptoms and symptoms that appear during the recovery process.

1. Mild symptoms

They are the most common symptoms after a concussion, although annoying do not usually cause major problems.

  • Failure or loss of knowledge of short duration.
  • Alterations in memory .
  • Confusion or disorientation.
  • Sensation of sleep .
  • Vertigos
  • Vision problems.
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting .
  • Photophobia or low tolerance to light.
  • Lack of balance
  • Slow reaction times.

2. Serious symptoms

If the person experiences any of the following symptoms he should seek medical attention urgently, since these are signs of a larger concussion. These symptoms are:

  • Alteration of mental alertness and consciousness.
  • Sensation of continuous confusion.
  • Epileptic seizures
  • Muscle weakness .
  • Changes in the size of the pupils.
  • Strange eye movements .
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Difficulty walking or keep the balance.
  • Prolonged loss of consciousness or coma.

3. Symptoms during recovery

Finally, it is usual for the person to present a series of symptoms derived from the effects of the concussion which arise during the recovery period .

  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Hypersensitivity to light or noise.
  • Problems in concentration.
  • Mild headaches

Causes and risk factors

As mentioned above, The concussion can be the result of a blow or a fall in any context or performing any activity or accident in any type of vehicle.

Considerable movement of the brain in any direction or direction can result in a loss of consciousness for the person. Depending on the duration of this loss of consciousness, the severity of the concussion will be greater or lesser.

However, a commotion it does not always lead to a faint , there are people who experience an alteration in the visual perception that makes them see everything black or white.In the same way, a person may suffer a mild concussion and not be aware of it, since he does not experience any symptoms or, if he does, it is so mild that he does not associate it.

Likewise, there are a number of risk factors that increase the likelihood that a person will suffer a concussion. These factors are:

  • Being a man.
  • Children under 5 years of age.
  • People between 15 and 24 years old.
  • People over 75 years of age.
  • Conducting contact sports activities .
  • Trades related to construction or agriculture.
  • Driving or traveling in a vehicle at high speed.
  • Consumption of alcohol .
  • Insomnia.
  • Certain medications that induce or cause drowsiness.


When making a diagnosis of a possible concussion, medical personnel must perform a pre-diagnostic interview in which they obtain information about the type of injury and the symptoms that the patient experiences.

Then, It is necessary to perform a physical examination to check the state of the nervous system . This exploration includes the evaluation of reflexes, variations in the size of the pupils, coordination and mental lucidity.

Finally, and according to the patient's state of seriousness, they will be a series of tests and diagnostic tests . These tests include:

  • Computed tomography (CT).
  • Magnetic resonance (IMR).
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) in cases in which seizures persist.


The treatment of choice after suffering a concussion will depend on the importance and extent of the symptoms .

If the person suffers from hemorrhage, inflammation or severe brain damage, surgery may be necessary. However, this does not happen often.

The analgesics are usually the prescribed medication in most cases, since the person only tends to present a series of headaches somewhat annoying. The usual recommendations after suffering a concussion are:

  • Repose .
  • Observation of the affected person to detect possible complications.
  • Do not perform any type of sport or intense physical activity for the next 24 hours.
  • Do not drive any type of vehicle, both motorized and non-motorized, after 24 hours.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.


Complete recovery after a concussion may require a little time, lasting for days, weeks or months. The problems or symptoms that appear during the recovery tend to last a short time, however it is possible that the person needs help or collaboration from others to perform certain daily activities.

However, it is possible that the person suffers a multiple concussion while the first shock develops.

Multiple concussion

After suffering a first concussion, and if the instructions of the health personnel are not followed or some type of sport or physical activity is carried out, the person is susceptible to suffer a second concussion.

This multiple concussion can cause an alteration known as Second Impact Syndrome (SSI) . Unlike the common concussion, the second impact syndrome increases the chances of suffering a major inflation in the brain, which does involve a risk of death.

Signs of a Concussion (May 2023).

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