Concussions result from a jolt, bump, or blow to the head and are a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). They also can occur from any kind of hit to the body that causes the brain to move back and forth rapidly. Concussions can be mild to severe. However, in all cases especially if it is a work-related concussion injury, it is essential to receive medical treatment as soon as possible to avoid long-term complications.
If you suffer any type of work-related concussion or head trauma, report the injury immediately to your employer. Then ask to see your employer’s panel of physicians so that you can select a doctor for medical treatment. Once your medical condition is evaluated, if you have any concerns about ongoing care for the injury, contact our office for a free workers’ compensation claim consultation.
Symptoms of Concussions
There are some common signs of a concussion, but there are also some symptoms that may not initially seem to be related to a head injury. The Centers for Disease Control’s Heads Up program lists the following symptoms as classic red flags for concussions.
Symptoms you may feel
Don’t ignore these symptoms thinking they will go away. Any of these after a head injury should prompt a doctor visit.
- Headache or pressure in the head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Trouble concentrating
Symptoms Observed by Others
These symptoms often go unnoticed by the injured individual. It’s imperative if you see these symptoms in another person, especially if you know they’ve recently had head trauma, to make sure that person sees a doctor immediately.
- Looks stunned or dazed, or moves clumsily
- Has different sized pupils
- Not able to recall events immediately before the incident
- Forgets instructions
- Confused about a current situation
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness – even briefly
These symptoms can occur for many reasons. However, if you have had a blow to the head or a whiplash accident prior to the symptoms, you should be evaluated for a concussion. Read this article for more details about each symptom and why you shouldn’t ignore them.
- Personality change or irritability
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Confused speech
- Disorientation, loss of balance or vertigo
- Ringing in the ears
Concussions shouldn’t be diagnosed at home. If you have any type of head injury, you should see a specialist!
Effects of Concussions
Concussions cause more than a headache. Effects are usually temporary but can result in long-term problems with concentration, memory, balance, and coordination. The Mayo Clinic identifies the following potential complications from concussions. Most of these complications can be reduced with proper treatment.
- Post-traumatic headaches. Some people experience concussion-related headaches up to seven days after a brain injury.
- Post-traumatic vertigo. Some people experience a sense of spinning or dizziness for days, weeks or months after a brain injury.
- Post-concussion syndrome. A small proportion of people (15% to 20%) may have symptoms including headaches, dizziness and thinking difficulties that persist beyond three weeks. If these symptoms persist beyond three months, this becomes characterized as post-concussion syndrome.
- Second impact syndrome. Rarely, experiencing a second concussion before signs and symptoms of a first concussion have resolved may result in rapid and usually fatal brain swelling.
Treatment of Concussions
As with any injury, recovery is better the sooner you receive treatment after a concussion. A CT scan may be recommended to determine the severity of the injury.
For all concussions, limiting stimulation of the brain is important for recovery. Avoid screentime – including computers, video games, tv, and even cellphones. Reading can also overstimulate the brain. Areas without loud noises or music and with dim lighting are preferred. Pain medications, either over-the-counter or prescribed by the doctor, are appropriate.
Finally, rest is the best medicine for concussions. Your doctor will tell you how long to take these precautions before returning to your normal routine. Light naps throughout the day, if needed, are encouraged. Start with light physical activity to ease yourself into your normal routine. Once you do return to everyday activities, be aware of your body. If you feel any returning symptoms, reduce your activity and rest.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Concussions are brain injuries. Thankfully, concussions themselves are rarely catastrophic. However, many on-the-job head injuries do result in more than a concussion. These traumatic brain injuries (TBI) need long-term care. For more information on these serious injuries, read our previous blog here. The attorneys at Sadow & Froy have decades of experience representing clients who have suffered a work-related concussion or traumatic brain injury. Don’t wait to get help – medical or legal!
Sadow & Froy solely represents seriously injured workers in workers’ compensations cases. The highly respected lead attorneys are on several “Best of” lists including Atlanta Magazine’s Super Lawyer lists. Both attorneys have received numerous industry awards. To see if your case qualifies for workers’ compensation, benefits visit our website for a free evaluation.