What’s the difference between a concussion and a contusion? Which one is worse than the other?
Let’s say you’re walking at a shopping mall and about to go on the escalator. First, you spot a good-looking individual walking in the first floor of the mall and your eyes follow him/her until that person is out of sight. Then before you know it, you’re rolling down the escalator and land with a big THUD on your head.
Typically, concussions (caused by “impact to the head”), result in a change in brain function. You may or may not be unconscious (the length of the unconsciousness can dictate the severity of the injury), or you may get dizzy. However, a concussion can be an emergency if you notice any of the following:
- difficulty awakening/speaking
- confusion, severe headache, vomiting
- pulse changes, unequal pupils, one-sided weakness
Concussions can be treated with rest, fluids, and pain medication (such as Tylenol).
A contusion involves bruising of the muscle by blunt force. A contusion in this case is a bruise in the brain. A bruise on any part of the body indicates blood vessel damage and bleeding. Since it is the brain that is hemorrhaging, there are more consequences at stake, such as changes in memory, speech, mood, coordination, and sensation. Thus, a contusion is more dangerous than a concussion and anyone who is suspected of having a contusion should see his/her health care provider right away.