A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow or sudden jolt to the head or body, leading to a temporary disruption in brain function. This disruption results in a range of symptoms such as headache, confusion, and dizziness. Interestingly, structural brain imaging, like CT scans or MRIs, often appear normal in concussions because the injury pertains more to function than structure.
In contrast, other head injuries can involve more direct and observable damage to the brain. For instance, a brain contusion is a bruise on the brain caused by direct impact, leading to localized bleeding and swelling. Cerebral hematomas are pools of blood in or around the brain due to vessel rupture, which can increase pressure inside the skull. Diffuse axonal injuries result from severe rotation or shaking forces, causing tearing of the brain’s connecting fibers, and can be more severe than concussions, leading to prolonged unconsciousness or permanent damage.
Moreover, while concussions are classified as mild TBIs, the term “traumatic brain injury” encompasses a spectrum from mild to severe, with each type presenting its own set of challenges, symptoms, and potential outcomes. Proper diagnosis and treatment are vital, regardless of the specific type of head injury.