What Are the Different Types of Concussions?

Wait, there are different types of concussions?

Indeed there are. Concussions range in terms of severity and the symptoms that you experience after you get one. If you think you have a concussion, a doctor will be able to tell you which type you have and go over proper handling and concussion treatment.

Identifying the type of concussion you have will help you get back on the road to optimal health as quickly as possible.

Here’s what you should know, and information about each of the types of concussions.

What Is A Concussion?

You’ve heard the term before, and you know it has to do with your head. But not everyone knows exactly what a concussion is. Learning will help you understand the different kinds of concussions.

Concussions are the most common type of brain injury. Typically caused by a traumatic blow to the head, the force of the hit jolts your brain, causing it to hit your skull.

Your brain is made of soft tissue and is concealed in spinal fluid. The fluid helps slow down and reduce the impact, but still, concussions usually lead to brain bruising, blood vessel damage, and nerve injuries.

It is estimated that 3.8 million concussions take place each year in sports alone. Sports like football, ice hockey, and soccer are notorious for this type of injury. They also are likely to happen as a result of car accidents, physical altercations, and accidents.

Symptoms of Concussions

The symptoms of concussions include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness/spaciness
  • Balance issues
  • Digestive problems
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to noise/light
  • Mental fog
  • Problems remembering things or concentrating
  • Mood swings

The various types of concussions are often correlated to the type and severity of symptoms you experience.

What Are The Different Types of Concussions?

Identifying the type of concussion you have largely depends on how hard you got hit and where on your head it happened. The following is a rough guideline of the three types of concussion.

*Be sure to consult your doctor if you believe you are concussed. Don’t self-diagnose your injury. If you have a high-grade concussion, you might need medical attention right away.

Grade 1

Grade 1 concussions are considered the mildest. Typically, symptoms only persist for about fifteen minutes after the injury takes place. A light bump on the head, especially if you’ve had a concussion before, could be the cause of this TBI.

Important to note, there is no loss of consciousness when you get a grade 1 concussion.

In the event of a grade 1 concussion, rest and relaxation should get rid of most symptoms. You might also visit a physical therapist for concussion if you’re noticing lingering issues like neck pain.

Grade 2

Grade 2 concussions are considered moderately severe. Symptoms linger much longer than the initial impact. Like with grade 1 concussions, there is no loss of consciousness.

The major difference between grade 1 and grade concussions comes from the length of symptoms. While all brain injuries are serious enough to require the attention of a medical professional, a grade 2 concussion can linger long enough that you seek medical attention.

It could take several days before your symptoms go away.

Grade 3

A grade 3 concussion is considered severe, and in some cases, a medical emergency. 

Grade 3 concussions mean the person lost consciousness as a result of the injury. The length of time they were unconscious does not matter—any loss of consciousness could indicate a potentially serious injury to the brain, neck, or nervous system.

If you believe you have a grade 3 concussion, seek medical attention right away. This injury can take several weeks or more to heal.

Other Classifications

While the 3 grades of concussions help determine the severity of your traumatic brain injury (TBI), there are other symptoms and side-effects to the injury you should take note of.

Sometimes concussions affect the neck. If you were struck during a contact sport, for example, you could have also fractured a bone in your neck. This is why seeking medical attention right away is crucial; your doctor will run a full assessment to see if any other areas are tender, sore, or damaged.

Problems with vision are another common side-effect of concussions. This can indicate ocular damage or swelling, both problems that could become serious if left untreated. (Note: often, concussed people have dilated pupils. This is not the same thing.)

Severe changes to your mood could indicate that you’re dealing with a serious brain injury. Anxiety, unexplained anger, and out-of-the-blue depression are all signs you should monitor for in the days and weeks after your incident.

Finally, migraines are a not uncommon side-effect of a moderate-to-severe concussion. If you suddenly start experiencing splitting pain in your head that wasn’t there before, this could be a sign that your brain is healing or damaged.

Like the severity of the injury, these side effects can vary in severity and also go away as the injury heals. 

Concussion Treatment and What To Do Next

Concussion treatment starts and ends with seeing a medical professional right away. Even a moderate concussion can lead to lingering symptoms that will affect your daily life, and only a doctor can give you specific advice as your injury heals.

The different types of concussions can be classified into three groups: grades 1, 2, and 3. Ranging from fifteen minutes of disorientation to severe side-effects like migraines or damaged nerves, the injury (unfortunately) can manifest in many different ways.

Your doctor will likely prescribe rest, relaxation, and staying away from light if that’s bothering you. But there’s also a chance he might recommend seeing a physical therapist. 

By improving the range of motion in the neck and shoulders, a good PT session can help you move and feel better. We’d love to be a part of your healing solution!