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What's the Difference Between a Concussion and a Brain Injury?

At QualCare Rehabilitation, our medical professionals are highly experienced in treating concussions. Yet a concussion is only one type of brain injury among many. Given that the Brain Injury Association of America has named March Brain Injury Awareness Month, we thought we would devote some time to explaining the difference between concussions and other brain injuries, and discuss what your best treatment options are for both of these serious types of trauma.

Brain Injuries

When the BIAA talks about brain injuries, they are generally referring to acquired brain injuries, or ABIs. An ABI may constitute any brain injury that is not hereditary, congenital, or induced by birth trauma. Over 2.5 million children and adults sustain ABIs each year, though the total number remains unknown.

Common causes of acquired brain injuries include:

  • Electric shocks
  • Infectious diseases
  • Lightening strikes
  • Oxygen Deprivation (Hypoxia/Anoxia)
  • Strokes
  • Seizures
  • Overdoses
  • Toxic Exposure
  • Tumors

One serious type of ABI is a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. TBIs are usually sustained when an individual experiences some type of blunt force trauma to the head via an external source. 2.5 million people in the Untired States sustain TBIs each year. 2.2 million of those people seek treatment in E.R.s and trauma centers. 280,000 out of those who seek treatment are hospitalized, while 50,000 die. While all TBIs are serious, some are more serious than others. This brings is to…


Concussions are what’s known as mild traumatic brain injuries, or MTBIs. 80% of all brain injuries fall into the category of MTBIs. While concussions are often colloquially referred to as “head injuries,” this is somewhat of a misnomer, as they go beyond the external part of your head to affect your brain.

MTBIs are only “mild” compared to other types of brain injuries. When a person is diagnosed with an MTBI, it means they have lost consciousness for less than 30 minutes. When a person experiences a severe TBI, conversely, it means they have lost consciousness for more than 30 minutes. All TBIs, however, can have very serious consequences if left untreated.

Common symptoms of a concussion, or MTBI include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Mood changes, such as anxiety, depression, anger, or irritability
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Problems balancing your body
  • Not being able to think clearly, concentrate, or remember information
  • Loss of consciousness or memories

While severe TBIs are characterized by ongoing issues such as cognitive impairments, language abnormalities, poor abstract thinking skills, and loss of motor function, it is extremely important to seek treatment whether you have been diagnosed with a concussion or severe TBI. Although the exact number remains unknown, at least 5.3 million Americans live with TBI-related disabilities. The goal of organizations like the Brain Injury Association of America is to destigmatize and raise awareness, so what starts out as a “mild” injury doesn’t turn into a lifelong disability.

From Treatment, to Management, to Recovery

Many Americans still do not know it, but it can take years to fully recover after suffering a concussion. To expedite this process, and to manage pain in the present, you may want to consider seeking treatment options at our Houston injury center. The goal of our qualified medical providers is to put you on the path to recovery, no matter how severe your injury is. While we understand that a concussion or other type or brain injury can be debilitating, we also believe in finding ways to help you live your best life, regardless of the circumstances.

If you have suffered a concussion or other type of serious injury, call (713) 588-0042 today, or contact us online to schedule a consultation.