The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2021 that more than 69,000 people died due to traumatic brain injuries. A concussion, while often seen as minor, can be a TBI that is life-altering.
Concussions can occur in various situations, from sports accidents to car crashes. One common misconception about concussions is that they always come with immediate, noticeable pain or headaches. However, the reality is more complex, as concussions can manifest without pain or, in some cases, pain and headaches may emerge later. It is essential to understand the subtleties of concussion symptoms to ensure proper diagnosis and timely care.
While pain or headaches are common symptoms of a concussion, they do not always present themselves immediately. In some cases, a person may experience a range of other symptoms before pain or headaches become apparent. These early symptoms may include
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Memory problems
They can also involve irritability and sleep disturbances. These symptoms can vary in severity and may appear immediately after the head injury or within hours or days.
The absence of pain or headaches in the early stages of a concussion can mislead individuals into thinking that they are ok. This can be particularly concerning because early diagnosis and management of concussions are important to prevent complications.
Some individuals may experience a delayed onset of pain or headaches as a result of a concussion. It is not uncommon for these symptoms to appear several hours or even days after the initial injury. This delayed onset can further complicate the recognition of a concussion, potentially leading to underdiagnosis or inadequate care.
If a person suspects they may have a concussion, whether or not they are experiencing pain, it is essential to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can evaluate the condition, assess symptoms and recommend appropriate care and monitoring. Ignoring a possible concussion can have long-term consequences, including cognitive and emotional issues.
The bottom line is headaches and pain are not always immediately present with concussions. Any head injury requires medical evaluation to ensure a thorough assessment and appropriate management.