Concussions range from mild to severe, and some concussions may be considered traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) with far-reaching health implications.
Even a mild TBI could lead to lifelong complications, from trouble with memory to chronic headaches. If you recently took a blow to the head, whether from a car accident, assault, or fall, be on the lookout for these common delayed concussion symptoms.
Common Causes of a Concussion
A violent blow to the head can cause your brain to violently shift back and forth inside your skull. When the brain hits the sides of the skull’s interior, it bruises, swells, and bleeds, potentially damaging brain tissue. Some damage heals naturally. But sometimes, the bruising and damage are permanent.
- Sports injuries, either contact sports or those with a high-impact fall risk like skating or gymnastics
- Falling from a height onto a hard surface
- Injury from an assault or domestic abuse
- A car collision, or being hit while walking or riding a bike
- Combat-related injuries or concussive-force injuries
Early diagnosis and intervention will give concussion victims the best chance of recovery.
Rest is also important. Someone with a concussion is vulnerable to further TBIs, with the symptoms of the concussion worsening after each repeated head injury.
In many cases, the symptoms of a concussion are obvious, such as losing consciousness. Other times, someone with head trauma may experience delayed concussion symptoms.
Symptoms of a Concussion
A concussion can affect every part of your life: physical, mental, and emotional. Many people experience sleep disruption and cognitive problems, too. Common concussion symptoms are:
- Trouble concentrating or thinking clearly
- Short-term or long-term memory problems
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Poor balance, dizziness, or vertigo
- Vision problems
- Nausea and vomiting
Some concussion sufferers experience sleep disturbances or are unable to fall asleep. A concussion can also lead to emotional changes, such as prolonged feelings of sadness or depression.
Not everyone who has a concussion will have all of these symptoms. As your brain heals, you may experience changes in your cognitive abilities or mood. If you notice the onset of new symptoms, consult your doctor.
Delayed Concussion Symptoms
Concussion symptoms typically present within 48 hours of the head injury; delayed concussion symptoms are those that present after that time. If you exhibit concussion symptoms a couple of days or more after a head injury, you could have a severe TBI.
Post-concussion syndrome refers to concussion symptoms that last longer than average or symptoms that are atypical for concussion healing progression. This syndrome can last a year or longer and may be caused by changes in your brain stem resulting from your initial injury.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can develop in people who experience multiple concussions. This condition can cause memory loss, impaired judgment, and reckless behavior. Some people with CTE may develop dementia-like symptoms and require care in a dedicated memory care facility.
Although Alzheimer’s disease and CTE present similar symptoms, and people affected by these conditions often experience the same struggles, the physical damage to the brain that causes each one is different.
Always Seek Medical Attention After Head Trauma
If you’ve suffered a head injury after a fall, in a car accident, or during an assault, it’s important to seek medical care right away. You should also consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer if the accident wasn’t your fault. Early detection of a concussion can help you get the treatment you need and prevent further injury to your brain.
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