When you get into any type of accident, one of the first few inspections that medics carefully check is the head for any sort of head injuries. A head injury is any kind of injury to the brain, skull or scalp that is caused by any sort of impact or accident. Head injuries can range from a mild bruise to a worst case of brain injury. Some of the common head injuries include skull fractures, scalp wounds, and concussion. These same injuries can cause what is called a concussion headache.
The severity of the treatments and aftermath of the injury usually vary depending on the degree of the injury acquired and on what caused your head injury. However, no matter how small or big the head injury is or even just a possibility of acquiring one even after a bloodless hit in the head on a vehicular accident (for instance), it shouldn’t be taken lightly and if possible seek medical treatment or test for the injury to be sure that there are no internal head injuries that will happen.
Have you ever had a sudden pinning headache after being into an accidental slip that made you bump your head? If so, well, you might be have a concussion headache.
A concussion is a temporary brain injury resulted from a head injury that is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. The condition usually lasts up to few days or weeks but can also cause long-lasting problems that may require emergency treatment.
Concussions are one of the most commonly acquired head injuries. It is often signaled by a headache as one of its common symptoms in both children and adults, however, it is possible to experience concussion without headache.
Understanding Concussion: What are concussion headaches
We all have that moment in our lives when we got ourselves into accidents or situations that made us have some injuries in the head. For instance, when you are playing and you accidentally hit your head with a ball, or maybe crashed or bumped onto something and you hit your head and with all these cases, you suddenly feel a headache or feel dizzy and nauseous.
The brain is made up of soft tissues that are surrounded by spinal fluid and is protected by the skull. Now, what happens when you sustained a concussion from an accident? The brain can be literally shaken up and move around your head due to the impact. This incident can cause trauma in the brain that results in swelling of the brain and can injure the nerves and blood vessels. The head is one of the most vital parts of the body. A brain injury can affect one’s functioning whole body. The damage it could result into is broad and it should never be taken lightly.
A concussion(1) is a kind of traumatic brain injury that changes how the brain functions. This injury is acquired as a result of a direct hit to the head or from sudden violent shaking of the head. As a result of this changes in the brain functions, the victim can experience headache, confusion, memory loss or temporary amnesia, dizziness, double vision, coordination and balance problems, disrupted speech, as well as loss of consciousness. The head is a sensitive part of the body and having head injuries can be dangerous and damaging to a person in health and function to everyday life.
Concussion Pain: Signs and Symptoms
Diagnosing a concussion can be tricky. Aside from headache, concussion, and nausea, there are other symptoms that are not easily detected such as vision and behavioral problems. For children, the signs and symptoms can be hard to detect. However, since they are much prone to simple accidents like bumping toys in the head, falling from the crib and accidents while playing, parents and guardians should be wary of the signs that their children could possibly display as any sign of concussion. Each concussion is different and the symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the head injury occurred and some of these symptoms may last for a short period of time, however, other symptoms may linger.
Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of concussion. Simple concussions can last for relatively a short time. However, it is still possible for the symptoms especially concussion headaches to manifests for weeks on some people months after their injury.
How can you tell if you have had a concussion?
When you are having a concussion, it is understood that there must have been some imbalance happening in your brain due to the impact inflicted to the head. As a result, you may experience a brief period of unconsciousness, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, disturbances of balance, confusion and may experience temporary amnesia(2). However, there are concussions that are not life-threatening.
There are different kinds of concussions and it displays a wide range of symptoms and can be grouped into categories on which part of the body it affects. Here are some of the types of concussions that one may experience.
This concussion is relatively common in children and adolescents. These are mild and can be gradually treated in a few days and does not result in other complication or long-term health problem as long as no other head injury is sustained. Usually one of the symptoms for this is a painful headache.
Unlike simple concussions, this concussion rather displays persistent symptoms that affect that causes some changes in the normal brain function. Severe concussions and multiple concussions are characterized as complex and may manifest symptoms that are severe such as seizure, post-concussion syndrome ( may experience dizziness, headaches or blurred vision) and worst, swelling or bleeding in the brain.
Concussions can also be categorized according to grades which indicates the severity of the effect of the head injury.
- Grade 1
Grade 1 Concussion is a mild case of concussion where the victims can experience dizziness, confusion and mild headache for a short time after sustaining the injury and can recover completely in more or less 20 minutes. It does not make the person lose consciousness.
- Grade 2
The symptoms are similar to Grade 1 however the symptoms can last for more than how long a mild concussion lasts and can result to post-traumatic amnesia. This means that the person may not remember the injury.
- Grade 3
People who sustain this type has severe symptoms and can lose consciousness for a brief period of time. Aside from being unconscious, the person can also not remember anything about the injury.
Aside from the types of concussion, the symptoms of concussion can also be categorized depending on where the injury has affected the function of the body. These only shows how dangerous it is to have a head injury no matter how we evaluate it as mild or severe.
- Cognitive/ Fatigue
Concussion affects the behavior and cognitive areas of the person. Symptoms include decreased concentration, difficulty in understanding new learning, increased fatigue, and decreased multi-tasking ability.
Normal functioning of the eye is disrupted.
The vestibular system is affected where there is disruption in the movement of the eye and affects one’s ability to detect motion.
The extra-cranial region includes the neck and spinal cord are affected which can lead to many headaches.
- Anxiety/ Mood
A concussion can cause a person to be confused about his thoughts, making it hard for the person to turn it off that leads to excessive worry and concern.
- Post- Traumatic Migraine
The symptoms include nausea, headache, and sensitivity to light.
Concussion Headache Prevention
Concussions are unexpected since it can be acquired from a head injury mostly from accidents so it is really hard to prevent. However, there are several precautions that you can take to lessen the possibility of a serious traumatic brain injury.
- Wear protective equipment when needed
When participating in any high-contact/ high-risk sports such as boxing, football, soccer, skateboarding, horseback riding and other extreme sports, it is important to give your head protection. Wearing headgears and other protective equipment can safeguard your body from crucial injuries especially serious head injuries that can result in brain damage.
- Keep safe when inside the vehicle
With thousands of vehicular accidents around the world that declared casualties due to negligence, they only prove to show how important wearing a seat belt is when inside a vehicle is. Before driving, always secure if all seat belts are secured. It is also important to not drive when intoxicated. Aside from not wearing seat belt, drunk driving is one of the most common reasons for road accidents. Also, always obey the traffic rules and drive with care.
When you get into accidents, it is important to safeguard yourself from possibilities of having serious injuries. Even if you only have minor injuries that seemed to be minor, it is important to seek medical attention to be sure of your health. Some injuries may not seem bad however there are some that the symptoms progress over time.
The severity of a concussion dictates the treatment the patient should seek. Concussions can be mild or complex and so it is important to safeguard yourself with treatment to secure yourself from lasting effects of your injuries.
If you are having signs and symptoms of a possible concussion, seek professional medical attention so will know if ever you’ll be needing treatments and can identify what type of concussion it is. If you’ve been having Grade 1 or Grade2 concussion, you have to wait for the concussion headache symptoms to wear off before going back to daily normal activities. However, if you have suffered from Grade 3 concussion which is a serious type of concussion, observation and concussion treatment plan is advised.
Concussion Treatment and Rehabilitation
Most concussions are resolved with good rest as per advice by the doctor.
But according to some studies, just having the right amount of rest is no longer the best approach to treating concussion. Early intervention of various therapies can improve the chance for recovery and rehabilitation program is needed to get you back to your life prior to concussion.
For adults, a concussion headache can be more dangerous which is why early intervention is a must. Concussions may vary thus every concussion rehabilitation plan is different. If the concussion was acquired during a sports activity, it is advised to stop for the meantime until the concussion is thoroughly treated. Since your brain most likely have been injured, allow to recuperate and not get it stressed out. If it happens to be disrupted again, another concussion is most likely possible to come.
The effect of repeat concussions can cause cumulative injury to the brain. Successive concussions are life- threatening since it can have devastating effects such as permanent brain damage, disabilities, swelling of the brain and even death.
After seeking the doctor’s advice, you will be advised to undergo some concussion headache therapies to help you get back to normal.
- Visual rehabilitation
- Whiplash therapy
- Diet and nutrition
- Exercise therapy
- Vestibular rehabilitation
- Education and reassurance.
With physical therapy, the issues with balance, coordination, reaction time, vestibular system, physical symptoms like headache and dizziness, multitasking ability and peripheral awareness can be addressed.
Cognitive Therapy (Speech and Language)
This is helpful especially in children that may have suffered from delayed cognitive skills due to concussion. Through speech and language therapy, the issues with handwriting, learning, retention, comprehension, recall and speech and language skills can be addressed.
With occupational therapy, the issues of the patient with visual motor skills can be addressed.
When you experience repeated headaches and other discomforting symptoms after being in an accident, it could be possible that you are having a concussion headache. It can be hard to detect on children thus parents and guardians should be wary of the symptoms that the children could possibly manifest after being in an accident (be it falling on the crib, bumped with a toy…etc.). For adults, concussion can be dangerous. The effect of repeat concussions can cause cumulative permanent injury to the brain.
Successive concussions can be life-threatening since it can have devastating effects resulting to brain damage, thus, rest and treatment are advised to recover from this condition.
Learn more about what a headache might mean based on a headache location chart.