March 15, 2022 | Brain Injuries
Concussion symptoms do not always appear immediately and at the same time.
Here is some information about delayed concussion symptoms and how they might affect the compensation you can seek.
Your Brain and Concussions
A layer of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cushions your brain inside your skull. The skull and CSF work together to protect your brain.
Your skull protects your brain against direct impact, while your CSF protects your brain from hitting the inside of your skull.
The skull and CSF do a good job of protecting your brain. If you bump your head going through a doorway, your skull protects your brain from the door frame. The CSF slows down the motion of your brain to prevent it from sloshing into the side of your skull. You might have a bump on your head, but you will probably not damage your brain.
But not every bump to the head is so simple. You can experience situations where the forces on your brain expose it to a potential brain injury.
What Happens to Your Brain During a Concussion
Concussions usually happen in one of three ways:
If you hit your head hard enough, your brain will slide around in your skull. Your CSF will resist the motion of your brain, but to stop its movement, the CSF will need to exert significant pressure on it.
Under Newton’s laws of motion, the force needed to stop your brain from slamming into the inside of your skull is proportional to the acceleration your brain experiences. This means that a rapid acceleration or deceleration will subject your brain to massive forces from the CSF.
Explosions create blast waves. These waves of pressurized air can compress the CSF and squeeze your brain.
What Happens to Your Brain After a Concussion
Several changes occur in your brain after it gets squeezed. Some of the small blood vessels may rupture. This could deprive your brain cells of the oxygen delivered by the blood. Brain cells will die or suffer damage from the loss of circulation and the physical damage caused by the pressure.
More importantly, your body will trigger an immune response to try to protect your brain tissue from infection. The blood flowing in any ruptured vessels will coagulate. Your immune system will rush white blood cells to the area to protect the damaged tissue while your body repairs it.
These changes will cause your brain to inflame and swell. Too much swelling can put damaging pressure on your brain.
Symptoms of a Concussion
Concussion symptoms result from all of these mechanisms. The loss of brain cells, increase in inflammation, and increase in pressure will cause the healthy brain cells to misfire.
Brain cells communicate with each other through charged ions. You can think of them as a combination of tubes and wires. As they get squeezed, some of these tubes and wires will stop carrying signals or produce erroneous signals.
Some symptoms you might experience immediately after your accident come from the initial pressure on the brain rather than the subsequent inflammation and swelling.
These symptoms can include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Seeing stars or blurry vision
- Ringing ears
Doctors and EMTs use these symptoms to diagnose the severity of a concussion. If you have ever seen someone get a concussion while playing sports, you have probably seen team doctors use the Glasgow Coma Scale. This scale helps doctors determine whether a concussion is mild, moderate, or severe.
Delayed Concussion Symptoms
Inflammation takes time, and some symptoms will only appear as inflammation sets in. These symptoms could be delayed by hours or even days.
Delayed concussion symptoms fall into three categories:
A concussion will affect the way you collect or process information. Some symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
Cognitive symptoms are often difficult to pin down. You might just feel fogginess when you think or try to recall information.
Your brain controls your motor and sensory systems. As the brain misfires, you might have difficulty translating thoughts into actions or senses into thoughts. Some common symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to bright lights or loud sounds
- Poor balance
- Loss of dexterity
- Sluggish movement
The most prevalent physical symptom, headache or pressure in the head, will often persist as delayed concussion symptoms appear.
The brain processes emotional information. This can lead to changes in how you feel or express your emotions. Some emotional symptoms include:
- Emotional outbursts
- Sleeping disorders
In some rare cases, concussion patients even describe undergoing personality changes.
In most cases, concussion symptoms clear up in six to eight weeks. During this time, the symptoms may worsen or disappear. The symptoms may even come and go. But by the end of two months, most patients have no symptoms.
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) happens when your concussion symptoms last more than two months. Doctors do not know what causes PCS, but some studies suggest that people who experience post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher likelihood of developing PCS.
Compensation for Delayed Concussion Symptoms
Your compensation after a concussion caused by someone else’s negligence can cover your past and future losses. By the time you resolve your case, you should have recovered from all of your symptoms. If you have not, you can submit evidence of your delayed concussion symptoms and PCS to seek compensation for them.
Concussions can cause long-lasting symptoms. As a result, your concussion could significantly impact your ability to work and engage in your daily activities. To discuss the compensation you can seek for your concussion symptoms, reach out to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.
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