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Contributed Photo / Dr. Bill Moore-Smith

Q: How long does it take to recover from concussion?

A: Concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury resulting from a violent blow or severe jolt to the head. When this occurs, the brain shakes and bounces around within the skull, causing damage to the soft tissue. Brain injuries of this type are common and usually associated with automobile accidents and mishaps from athletic activity. Some concussions don't involve a direct blow and can occur from a loud noise, such as a gunshot or fireworks, or from significant twisting of the neck and skull.

Concussions vary in their severity, with common side effects of headaches, vomiting, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, confusion, irritation from light, sluggishness and blurred vision. For some patients, recovery may only take seven to 10 days. Most patients are fully recovered within one month, but symptoms can last beyond six weeks after severe injury.

Following a concussion diagnosis, patients should carefully follow their physician's recommended plan of care. Most plans include a period of greatly reduced activity for two to three days immediately after the injury. As symptoms begin to decrease in their severity, patients can begin to return to their daily activities at a pace with which they are comfortable. If symptoms worsen over time rather than improve, the patient should seek immediate medical attention.

Recovery time can be reduced by staying off computers and mobile devices; drinking plenty of water; eating plenty of proteins, fruits and vegetables; resting when your body tells you to; and getting a full night's sleep every night.

Bill Moore-Smith, M.D., Erlanger Sports Medicine; Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society member

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