Is there more than one kind of concussion?

When you hear that someone has a concussion, you probably think about them getting hit in the head, feeling tired or being disoriented. What you may not realize is that there are five different kinds of concussions, and the symptoms may not be that simple.

Concussions, by definition, are mild traumatic brain injuries. There are five subtypes of concussions that may require different treatment.

These subtypes include:

  • Cognitive
  • Ocular-motor
  • Headache/migraine
  • Vestibular
  • Anxiety/mood

When these are broken down into their categories, it’s easier for medical providers to see the kinds of treatments that a patient needs. For example, someone with anxiety/mood-related concussions may be nervous or emotional. They may benefit from counseling or treatments to manage the neurochemicals in the brain.

Comparatively, someone with ocular-motor concussion symptoms may have regular headaches and trouble reading a computer screen due to sensitivity to light. Optometrists may be able to help with dynamic vision training, or specialized glasses may help reduce strain.

Why does it matter what kind of concussion someone has?

By categorizing the symptoms that someone has and identifying the parts of the brain that were injured, it may be easier to provide treatments to that patient. For example, someone dealing with cognitive and anxiety or mood issues may need a specialized treatment plan including both physical and psychological supports.

It’s important to remember that some of these categories will share symptoms with each other, and they’re not precise. Researchers are currently hoping that by identifying symptoms and characteristics, they’ll be better able to suggest treatment protocols and supports for patients living with concussions.

If you have a concussion, treatment is essential

If you do have a concussion, it is important to seek treatment even if you don’t feel that your injuries are severe. Concussions range in severity from mild to acute, but they may lead to chronic symptoms that can have a lasting impact on your life. Early treatment may help resolve symptoms, so you can improve as much as possible. If another person caused your injuries, you may be able to seek compensation to cover the cost of any care that you need.