Concussions have become a popular topic recently, especially in sports, with teenagers and high profile athletes alike suffering from these common types of head injuries. But athletes are not the only people who suffer from concussions and brain injuries. Traumatic hits to the head happen in normal life, with slips and falls or car accidents. With increased awareness comes an increased need to properly understand these injuries. Here are three things you need to know about head injuries and concussions.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is considered to be a type of mild traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury can often occur after a forceful blow to the head, whether from a fall or from getting tackled during a football game. The force of the blow can damage or destroy brain cells, both of which can cause negative symptoms and a difficult recovery.

At the root of a concussion is the damage that occurs in the brain. This damage is primarily caused by bleeding or inflammation. It’s similar to having a severe sprained ankle, except in your brain. Your brain can swell and bruise just like a twisted ankle. Any area that becomes damaged will begin to function abnormally, resulting in the symptoms that often accompany a concussion.

It is also possible to experience a concussion without a hit to the head. When the brain is stressed after an injury, it is more susceptible to becoming reinjured. This phenomenon is called Second Impact Syndrome. A mild hit to the head can trigger a relapse, as can mental, physical, or chemical stress, even without a hit to the head.

How do I know if I’ve gotten a concussion?

In the majority of cases, a concussion occurs following a blow to the head. A loss of consciousness can follow the head injury, but isn’t required to sustain a concussion. Here is a list of several common symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Poor emotional regulation
  • Poor memory
  • Decreased cognitive skills
  • Blurred or double vision

In adults, poor performance at work and loss of motivation is common. In kids, decreased outcomes at school and decreased socialization can be signs of a lingering concussion.

What should I do if I get a concussion?

The symptoms listed above are a direct result of a malfunctioning nervous system. After a concussion, your brain can be in a very fragile state. The first and most important thing to do after a concussion is to rest. Increased activity, whether its mentally, physically, or even just eye activity, can overly fatigue the brain, potentially causing further injury.

Some people will improve over a few days to a few weeks until their are no longer any symptoms. Others are not as fortunate and will experience symptoms and poor quality of life for months, years, or indefinitely. Without proper rehab, some brains never get back to normal.

Luckily, there are options for the individuals who experience concussions. The doctors at Integrated Health Systems in Denver, Colorado are specially trained to find the areas of injury in the brain and rehabilitate them. If you or a someone you know is suffering from a concussion or traumatic brain injury, set up a consultation at Integrated Health Systems today.

Copyright © 2014 Integrated Health Systems. All Rights Reserved. Dr. Joshua Wallert is an Associate Doctor at Integrated Health Systems. To learn more about how we can help you with your health goals, visit our website at or email us at A free initial consultation can be scheduled by calling our office at 303-781-5617.