Over the last few decades, scientists have gained a much better understanding of what happens to your brain during a concussion. It’s allowed them to understand better the devastating effects that a traumatic brain injury can have, and how to treat them properly. Unfortunately, the general public does not understand how nasty a concussion can be. To gain a better appreciation, you can start by having an idea of what happens to your brain during a concussion.
The Injury Itself
Inside of your skull, there is a protective liquid barrier that surrounds the brain. When a traumatic brain injury occurs, the fluid barrier moves back and forth. When the liquid moves, it carries your brain with it. In severe cases, this can result in your brain bouncing against the front or back of your skull. When your brain moves, brain tissue will bruise at the sites where the impact occurred.
The information described above has been well-known for years, but new research shows just how complicated a brain injury can be. When your brain moves during a traumatic injury, your axons are being stretched and ripped apart. Axons are nerve fibers that help send electrical pulses through your brain. If this sounds like a dangerous situation, it is, because axons are responsible for allowing you to control your body.
As these axons tear apart, they release harmful toxins into your brain that can harm the healthy nerves that have not ripped. It’s these toxins that cause the symptoms most commonly associated with concussions.
Symptoms Of A Concussion
As a result of the violent impact that’s occurred, numerous symptoms can arise. They include
- Impaired Focus
- Blurry Vision
- Increased Sensitivity to Light
- Increased Sensitivity to Sound
The more violent the impact, the more axons are that are likely to tear, and the more severe symptoms will be. The severity of your symptoms allows doctors to grade your concussion on a scale of one to three. Grade One concussions are considered to be the mildest, while Grade Three concussions are deemed to be the most severe.
The Aftermath And Healing Process
Over time, the axons that tore will work to repair themselves. Many of them will be able to repair themselves back to standard functions, but not all of them will. Additionally, once these axons have torn, they are more susceptible to tearing in the future and remain particularly sensitive. That’s why people who have suffered a concussion are more likely to suffer a second one within the following year.
Numerous other factors can play a role in your recovery, including your age and your health history. No matter who you are, the brain needs time to heal before returning to physical activity. Every time you subject yourself to physical activity, you are putting yourself at risk for another concussion. Furthermore, physical activity causes the nerves in your brain to fire, stimulating the axon and prolonging the healing process.
Because concussions affect people differently, you may find that some activities are ok while others are not. For example, some people discover that they cannot watch tv or read after suffering a traumatic brain injury, while others can do so without a problem.
If you believe you have suffered a concussion, your best course of action is to contact a doctor. Your doctor should be able to run tests to confirm if you have suffered a concussion and how severe it may be. They can also conduct neurological assessments and provide a recovery plan to ensure your return to full cognitive ability.
TecTraum is a post-concussion treatment that is still in the research stage. Check us out to learn more!