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How to Know If You Have a Concussion: Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For

Jun 1, 2023

If you have recently hit your head or experienced a traumatic event, you may be wondering if you have a concussion. This type of injury can be serious and requires proper diagnosis and treatment. In this article, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of concussions and why it’s essential to seek medical attention if you suspect you have one. Learn how to know if you have a concussion here.

Understanding Concussions

Before we dive into the signs and symptoms of a concussion, let’s first discuss what a concussion is and how it happens.

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain is shaken inside the skull. This can happen due to a direct blow to the head, a sudden stop or change in direction that causes the brain to jolt back and forth, or any other significant impact that causes the brain to move within the skull.

Concussions can be difficult to diagnose, as symptoms may not appear until hours or even days after the injury. Some common symptoms of a concussion include headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and sensitivity to light or noise.

Common Causes of Concussions

Concussions can happen to anyone at any age, but some activities put individuals at higher risk. Some common causes of concussions include:

  • Sports-related injuries, especially contact sports like football, soccer, and hockey. These sports often involve collisions and impacts that can cause the brain to move within the skull, leading to a concussion.
  • Accidents, such as falls, car accidents, or bike accidents. These types of accidents can cause the head to hit a hard surface, leading to a concussion.
  • Assault or physical abuse. Any type of physical abuse or assault that involves a blow to the head can cause a concussion.

It’s important to note that not all blows to the head will result in a concussion, but any blow to the head should be taken seriously and evaluated by a medical professional.

The Importance of Proper Diagnosis

It’s essential to get a proper diagnosis if you suspect you have a concussion. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, a concussion can cause long-term damage to the brain and body.

After a concussion, the brain needs time to heal. This means avoiding activities that could cause another concussion or further injury to the brain. It’s important to rest and avoid physical activity until your doctor gives you the okay to resume normal activities.

Concussions can also have long-term effects on the brain, even after the initial symptoms have subsided. Studies have shown that individuals who have had a concussion are at a higher risk for developing depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

If you suspect you or someone you know has a concussion, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. With proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals can recover from a concussion and return to their normal activities.

Immediate Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of a concussion can develop immediately after a head injury or appear hours, days, or even weeks later. Here are some of the immediate signs and symptoms to look out for:

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of a concussion can vary in severity and duration, but some common ones include:

  • Headache or pressure in the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Blurred vision or sensitivity to light and noise
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech

In some cases, physical symptoms of a concussion may be accompanied by other symptoms that can be just as distressing. For example, some people may experience a ringing in their ears, while others may feel a sense of pressure or fullness in their head. Additionally, some people may develop a sensitivity to certain smells or tastes, making it difficult to eat or drink.

Cognitive Symptoms

Concussions can also affect cognitive ability and cause the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Confusion or feeling “foggy”
  • Difficulty with decision-making or problem-solving

Cognitive symptoms of a concussion can be particularly frustrating, as they can interfere with a person’s ability to work, study, or carry out everyday tasks. Some people may find that they have difficulty following conversations or instructions, while others may struggle to remember important details or appointments.

Emotional Symptoms

A concussion can also have emotional symptoms, such as:

  • Feeling irritable or moody
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Increased sensitivity to stress or emotional triggers

Emotional symptoms of a concussion can be particularly challenging, as they can affect a person’s relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Some people may find that they have trouble controlling their emotions, while others may feel a sense of hopelessness or despair.

Sleep Disturbances

Finally, concussions can also cause sleep disturbances, such as:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty staying asleep

Sleep disturbances can be particularly frustrating for people recovering from a concussion, as they can interfere with the body’s natural healing process. Some people may find that they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, while others may feel excessively sleepy during the day. In some cases, sleep disturbances can persist for weeks or even months after the initial injury.

Delayed Signs and Symptoms

While the symptoms we’ve discussed thus far are immediate, some concussions can cause symptoms that don’t appear until days, weeks, or even months after the injury. This is known as post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Symptoms of PCS include:

Post-Concussion Syndrome

  • Headaches that don’t go away or get worse
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Fatigue or sleep problems
  • Irritability or changes in mood
  • Difficulty with memory, concentration, or attention

Long-Term Effects of Concussions

Without proper diagnosis and treatment, concussions can also cause long-term effects. Some studies have shown that repeated concussions can increase the risk of developing degenerative brain diseases later in life, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Assessing Your Risk for a Concussion

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of a concussion, there are some things you can do to lower your risk, such as:

Risk Factors

  • Wearing proper safety gear when participating in sports or other risky activities
  • Avoiding risky behaviors, such as drinking and driving or not wearing a seatbelt
  • Removing tripping hazards from your home or workplace
  • Getting regular eye exams to maintain good vision

Prevention Strategies

It’s also essential to know when to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a concussion. If you or someone you know experiences any of the symptoms we’ve discussed, seek medical attention immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to traumatic brain injuries like concussions.

Contact Us

A concussion is a serious injury that requires proper diagnosis and treatment. By understanding the signs and symptoms of a concussion, you can take steps to reduce your risk of injury and stay safe. Remember to always seek medical attention if you suspect you have a concussion and follow the advice of your healthcare provider for a safe and speedy recovery. We at Brain Therapy TMS, located in San Diego, are always ready and eager to connect with you. Should you have any inquiries about our treatment processes, scheduling appointments, or simply seeking more information about the potential benefits of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy, we encourage you to reach out to us. We’re passionate about mental health, and we’re here to guide you on your path to wellness.

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