How long does a concussion last? The expert reassures the patient: “There is a small software failure, but no hardware damage.”
“You have a concussion” – many patients have heard this sentence after accidents or falls. But what exactly is behind it, and how can a concussion be differentiated from worse injuries? The Vdc newspaper spoke to Professor Dr. med. Dipl.-Psych. Frank Erbguth, President of the German Brain Foundation e. V. and Director of the University Clinic for Neurology Paracelsus Medical Private University – Nuremberg Clinic.
How can you get a concussion? How long does a concussion last
The medicine calls a concussion “Commotio cerebri” can be suffered when the head is struck with a blunt, jerky impact. This happens either through an external force – for example, through a blow, as you can see in every Western film – or if the head bumps heavily somewhere, for instance, in a fall or car accident.
What are the physical signs? How long does a concussion last
There is a brief, temporary loss of consciousness or drowsiness – this is what distinguishes a concussion from the simple bruise of the skull when you bump your head somewhere harmlessly. So if the brain is “shaken,” nausea, vomiting, headaches, vegetative disorders, for example, of the circulatory system, and balance conditions can also occur.
Is it true that a concussion is the most accessible form of traumatic brain injury?
It is exactly like that. The most accessible grade 1 form is a concussion, which does not leave permanent damage. With moderate damage with grade 2, it comes to brain contusion – and with grade 3, it concerns the most severe form, namely a brain contusion. Around 250,000 traumatic brain injuries occur in Germany every year. Of these, 90 percent can be classified as easy and five percent each as medium or difficult.
Do you have to go to the hospital?
If you have become unconscious and have impaired memory or memory, you should see a doctor for a neurological examination. If a doctor is otherwise unavailable, one should go to an emergency room for a review. You should also go to the hospital if you have been unconscious for more than a few minutes, have additional head injuries or permanent impairment of consciousness, or take blood-thinning medication, for example. It is possible that you have to monitor in the hospital for 24 hours. In certain situations, you will also take pictures of the head and the brain. An X-ray can take to rule out a fracture of the skull. Computed tomography is usually sufficient to assess the brain.MRI – made.
What about the consequences?
In a concussion, the brain hits the bones inside the skull. This leads to a malfunction and no damage to the brain tissue. This does not result in lasting consequences. To put it in computer language: There is a small software failure, but no hardware damage.
When are you symptom-free?
Usually, the symptoms subside within a week. However, some patients still complain for a few weeks of weather- or stress-dependent headaches or hypersensitivity to alcohol.
Which sports are hazardous?
About 20 percent of concussions happen during exercise. For example, one can fall off a bicycle or a horse; But even in soccer, a trauma can occur if two players collide while trying to head the ball. In boxing, almost every knock-out associate with a concussion. And you can fall in nearly all sports. Concussions are significantly more common in contact sports such as rugby, American football, and hockey than in sports with less physical contact, such as volleyball. In recent years, football players and boxers have found that frequent and repeated violent knocks or blows to the head can lead to permanent brain damage after years. This is called the syndrome “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.” Of course, not all accident situations can avoid. But if you wear a helmet while cycling, for example, you better protect yourself in the event of a fall.
How can I be sure it’s nothing worse?
If you are fit again after a few minutes, that speaks against a threatening situation. Anyone who feels unsure should go to the doctor to carry out the examinations mentioned above.
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