As Arizona’s brain injury experts, we receive calls nearly every day from people who are afraid they got a concussion from a car crash. A concussion is a very serious, scary diagnosis to have. This is particularly true when it comes from a traumatic brain injury, like those sustained in a car crash. This blog will explain more about what a concussion is and how to know if you have one. For more information, please visit our traumatic brain injury page.
What is a concussion?
According to the CDC, “a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury–or TBI–caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.” That is a long-winded way of saying that a concussion is an injury to the brain caused by an outside force. That force can be from hitting your head during a fall or from being in a car crash, among other things. While concussions are typically not life-threatening, they absolutely do cause a major impact on your day-to-day life.
How do I know if I have a concussion?
Clients constantly call us asking, “How do I know if I have a concussion?” This is because a concussion can be difficult to diagnose in the emergency department following a car crash. The most common signs and symptoms of a concussion are: balance problems or dizziness, vision issues, sensitivity to light or noise, feeling sluggish, memory problems, and general confusion. There can also be other symptoms, though, like headache, ringing in the ears, nausea, and vomiting. If you suffered any injury to the head, no matter how big or small, and if you have any of these signs or symptoms, chances are you have a concussion.
What do I do if I have a concussion?
We have all seen what NFL players do when they have a concussion: They are taken out of the game/practice and must “rest.” The problem is that rest, alone, does not always work. For example, lying down in a dark room and avoiding light and sounds may seem like a good idea, but it does not really do anything to help with your recovery. If you have a concussion, you should definitely avoid physical activities, as they will make your symptoms worse and also subject you to another potential concussion. Typically, the most important thing is to very slowly return to your daily routine. It is also important to get proper medical care from a neurologist. These doctors can help monitor your progress to ensure you aren’t doing anything that can negatively affect you.
Car crashes, truck crashes, and assaults are the most common causes of a concussion. Even if you feel “ok” in the first few days after an incident, that does not mean you do not have a brain injury. It is important to follow up with your doctors and to get the treatment you need.