It’s not necessarily the noticeable brain tissue damage that’s the issue in concussion, it’s the sudden and significant biochemical changes that occur in brain tissue after the trauma.
I recently came across a wonderful article on the pathophysiology of concussion. I'll give you the Cole's notes summary of the article but I highly recommend giving it a read: The Pathophysiology of Concussion by Drs. Signoretti, Lazzarino, Tavazzi and Vagnozzi. I can't possibly sum up such a wonderful article that's bursting with incredibly insightful information in a short blog post! What I found most fascinating was the importance of treatment for even mild traumatic brain injuries because of the biochemical changes that occur to traumatized brain tissue following a blow to the head. It’s these patients, the ones that suffer mild brain injuries, that are more likely to continue to suffer with long-term effects of the injury due to lack of understanding of the changes that are actually occurring in the brain and therefore limited support in healing these biochemical changes properly.
It’s not necessarily the noticeable brain tissue damage that’s the issue in concussion, it’s the sudden and significant biochemical changes that occur in brain tissue after the trauma. These changes are induced by the mechanical insult of the brain injury, which leads to ionic disturbances and neurotoxicity, mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, a decrease in energy metabolism and changes in gene expression causing dysfunction in neurons. This list of concerning changes can explain the clinical presentation of concussion – headaches, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, blurred vision, attention difficulty, concentration and memory issues, language concerns, mood disturbances and problems with emotional control. All the more reason why it’s so important to seek medical attention immediately following a concussion.
The more the medical community learns about the significant consequences of brain injury, the more we can work together to prevent the long-term devastation I've seen patients experience with unresolved issues in post-concussion syndrome. Receiving a blow to the head is a serious issue that can deeply impact many aspects of someone's life if it's not given the proper attention and treatment.