Our knowledgeable staff is dedicated to evaluating and managing individuals with head injuries — using a variety of tests to help detect and manage concussions. We work carefully with each patient on a personal plan of care because each concussion is unique to the individual.
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury that interferes with normal brain function, leading to temporary cognitive and physical deficits. Although concussions do not cause structural damage to the brain, they need to be taken seriously, and treated properly. Improper management can lead to symptoms that last an extended period of time.
People who experience one or more of the signs and symptoms listed below after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body may have a concussion
Common Signs of a Concussion
- Appears dazed, confused, or stunned.
- Forgets an instruction.
- Is unsure of game, score or opponent. (sports)
- Moves clumsily.
- Answers questions slowly.
- Loses consciousness/passes out (even briefly).
- Shows mood, behavior or personality changes.
- Can’t recall events prior to or after head injury.
Common Symptoms of a Concussion
- Headache or "pressure" in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Just not "feeling right" or is "feeling down"
In rare cases, a dangerous collection of blood (hematoma) may form on the brain after a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body and can squeeze the brain against the skull. Seek immediate medical attention by calling 9-1-1 if you experience any of the following:
- One pupil larger than the other
- Drowsiness or inability to wake up
- A headache that gets worse and does not go away
- Slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
- Repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures (shaking or twitching)
- Unusual behavior, increased confusion, restlessness or agitation
- Loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out). Even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously.
Diagnostics and Testing
Every concussion is unique, and therefore care needs to be personalized for each individual, and each concussion.
Conventional imaging techniques, such as MRI and CT scans, do not detect concussions. Instead our team uses evidence-based assessments combined with a physical evaluation to diagnose a concussion.
If you feel you have concussion signs and symptoms, please contact your primary care physician or call 1-800-DOCTORS to find a provider near you.
A concussion is an injury that, if treated properly, will heal on its own. Keep in mind that every concussion is unique and therefore care needs to be personalized for each individual, and for each concussion. The first step in caring for your head injury is contacting your primary care physician. If you do not have a primary care physician, please call 1-800-DOCTORS and we will assist you in finding one.
Ask your doctor about:
- When you can return to work or school.
- When you can play sports or participate in other athletic activities.
- When you can drive, ride a bicycle or operate other vehicles or machines. Never do these things if you feel dizzy.