Just how bad is a mild concussion?

When you think about a concussion, you might think about a brain injury that makes someone pass out or that makes them sick to their stomach. Unfortunately, even a mild concussion can have more serious implications than that.

With most concussions, the primary symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Hearing loss (temporary)
  • Feeling dazed
  • Double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

When these symptoms are present, it’s important for the person who was injured to get medical care as soon as possible.

Can mild concussions cause any serious long-term problems?

For the most part, mild concussions do heal on their own. However, there are complications that can occur. Some of the most common complications include:

  • Post-concussion syndrome, which is a conglomeration of dizziness, trouble thinking and headaches
  • Post-traumatic vertigo, which makes people feel like they’re spinning or are dizzy
  • Post-traumatic headaches, which may persist for months following a head injury
  • Second impact syndrome, which is possible if two concussions are suffered within a short time of another
  • Progressive impairment of cognitive function, which is most likely if the person has had a concussion in the past

After a concussion, it’s always important to seek medical care, even if the concussions seems mild. Hitting your head is potentially dangerous, and what seems like a mild injury could quickly worsen.

For example, if you suffer a concussion in a car crash and notice that your symptoms are worsening, the new symptoms could be a result of bleeding on the brain or swelling. Quick medical treatment may help reduce the impact of the concussion by allowing your doctor to treat that swelling and inflammation. This helps prevent brain cell death, so you can recover more quickly.

How do you know how severe a brain injury is and if you should seek out medical care?

On your own, it’s hard to know. You can look for symptoms to understand if you need medical care. Once you’re seen by a medical professional, the injury can be graded based on the symptoms that physician sees at that time. If you have any concerns about symptoms, seek care.