Delayed Concussion Symptoms
Concussions are common injuries that typically occur after a traumatic blow to the head, causing symptoms that affect the operation of the brain. In many cases, however, the symptoms of a concussion do not manifest immediately after head trauma, leading victims to believe that they have not suffered any real damage until the symptoms appear.
Worsening matters is the fact that the longer one waits to treat any brain injury, the worse that injury and its symptoms are likely to become. As such, it is vital to seek medical attention as soon as possible after any notable injuries to the head.
How Do Concussions Occur?
Concussions are generally the result of some form of traumatic or violent force to the neck or head.
Common situations that frequently lead to the application of these forces can include any of the following:
- Injuries in contact sports
- Violent crimes
- Traffic accidents
- Falls from high places
- Slip and fall accidents
- Accidents at dangerous job sites
- A simple bump to the head
What typically occurs after such a blow is that the brain, suspended in cerebrospinal fluid, is jostled around the skull, violently impacting its walls one or more times due to the force of the blow. It is these impacts that cause a concussion to take effect.
Typical Symptoms of a Concussion
Concussion symptoms demonstrate mild to moderate impairment of brain function in various ways.
Symptoms of concussion that typically appear after head or neck trauma include:
- Groggy or foggy thoughts
- A sense of time distortion
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Memory problems in the short- and long-term
- Headaches and neck pain
- Distorted vision
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Difficulty balancing
- Uncharacteristically emotional behavior and feelings
- Anxiety or depression
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
It is important to note that victims may suffer one or multiple symptoms at once and that these symptoms may come and go. That said, the resolution of a symptom does not necessarily mean that the individual has gotten better. The symptom may re-emerge, which it often will, and it may be more intense than it was when it first manifested itself.
As such, victims are encouraged to seek immediate medical attention after their injury. Prompt medical care can help ensure that a mild brain injury like a concussion does not become exacerbated.
How Long May Concussion Symptoms Be Delayed?
Knowing that the manifestation of concussion symptoms can be delayed naturally begs the question of how long that delay can be. The short answer is that concussion symptoms may not manifest until weeks have gone by since an accident.
In some cases, victims are not even aware that they have experienced a concussion and may have already forgotten about the incident that caused their injury. The latter typically occurs after a seemingly innocuous bump to the head.
Symptoms of a Delayed Concussion
Delayed concussion symptoms often include the same as those that arise when a concussion first occurs, but they may also include the following:
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes
- Vomiting without ceasing
- Slurred speech
- Numbness and weakness in one or more regions of the body
Even with these symptoms in mind, it’s crucial to remember that you may never experience any symptoms yet still might have a mild TBI that needs medical attention.
Post-concussion syndrome is a condition that sees victims dealing with the symptoms of a concussion long after those symptoms typically cease in others.
The condition is different from a delayed concussion, as delayed concussion symptoms do not appear initially, whereas post-concussion syndrome sufferers typically experience symptoms from the beginning. That said, those who suffer a delayed concussion may also suffer from post-concussion syndrome after their symptoms appear.
Generally speaking, concussion symptoms typically resolve themselves within two to three weeks. Any longer than that usually means that the victim is suffering from post-concussion syndrome and should inform their primary physician or other healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Consequences of Reinjury After a Concussion and Prevention
Reinjury after a concussion is sadly not uncommon for various reasons, including failure to follow doctor’s orders and the overall delicate nature of the brain, especially after a concussion.
According to recent medical research, those who suffer a concussion have a higher chance of suffering another one. Believing they have not suffered a serious injury, many who don’t experience instant or near-instant concussion symptoms re-engage in the behavior that harmed them in the first place, thus harming themselves again.
Sadly, the consequences of suffering a second concussion can lead to significant damage to the brain and cause serious debilitation, even death, which is especially true in cases of delayed concussion symptoms.
The most optimal way to prevent reinjury is to seek immediate medical treatment after a head injury. Afterward, patients should follow their doctors’ orders completely regarding care and treatment of their injury, which will include refraining from activities that have a high risk of causing concussion.
Once a qualified healthcare professional has determined that the sufferer no longer exhibits (post) concussion symptoms, they will give the patient the green light to return to normal activity. Failing to wait for doctor clearance can result in second impact syndrome, which can occur even from a minor blow to the head that is far less severe than the first.
Play It Safe If You Sustained a Blow To the Head
If you or someone you love has suffered a blow to the head or neck and does not seek immediate medical care, you are strongly advised to do so if you notice any of the delayed concussion symptoms manifesting themselves.
Do not let an absence of symptoms lead you to believe that you have not suffered a concussion injury. Symptoms of concussion often do not manifest until far after an injury has occurred. Seeking medical attention as soon as possible after a head injury may help you fend off more serious injuries.