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What Should You Do If You Think You Have Had a Concussion?

Comments [40]

BrainLine

What Should You Do If You Think You Have Had a Concussion?
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What exactly is a concussion?

Although there is actually no single, accepted definition of concussion, it is commonly described as a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the function of the brain.

Also called a mild traumatic brain injury, a concussion can result from a car crash, a sports injury, or from a seemingly innocuous fall. Concussions can also occur when the head and upper body are shaken violently. Recovery times can vary greatly.

So, how do you know if you should seek medical attention or wait and see?

The best answer: when in doubt, get prompt medical attention. Lots of people may have a headache or dizziness for a day or so and then recovery fully, but a very small group of people who sustain a concussion — five percent — can develop bleeding or a blood clot that can be life threatening if not promptly diagnosed.

Brain injuries are extremely common, but diagnosis can be complicated. Today, there is no single, objective measure that can determine if someone has had a concussion. To make a diagnosis, professionals look at many variables that might indicate trauma,  ranging from changes in balance to memory lapses and dizziness.

It’s critical to seek immediate medical attention in a hospital or emergency department if any of these symptoms are present:

  • Loss of consciousness, even if only briefly
  • Any period of amnesia, or loss of memory for the event
  • Feeling dazed or confused
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • In addition, for children under 2 years of age, any scalp swelling or abnormality in the way they usually behave.

And if possible, see a medical professional who has knowledge of and experience with brain injury.

Tests

Depending on your symptoms, your age, and the severity of the injury, the emergency department physicians may order some tests. Here are some of the most common:

  • Neurological test– A basic neurological exam in the ER assesses motor and sensory skills, the functioning of one or more cranial nerves, hearing and speech, vision, coordination and balance, mental status, and changes in mood or behavior, among other abilities. 
  • CT scan– A CT is a special computerized x-ray that provides images of the brain and is sometimes used to look for suspected bleeding or swelling.
  • MRI scan– A Magnetic Resonance Imaging test provides detailed pictures of the brain using magnetic energy instead of radiation.

Even though someone has had a concussion, the MRI and CT scans are often negative. That does not mean that there is no injury; it just means that the damage is not visible on the scans.

Rest

Simple though it sounds, rest is the best treatment we have today for a concussion.

If you think of the brain as an engine, it runs out of gas faster after an injury. Rest is the only way to fill up the tank again. So, the best way to recover is to rest.

Rest is important because the brain continues to heal even after all the symptoms are gone. At least initially, rest means not reading, not listening to music, not watching TV. It means no texting, no email, no cell phone. Rest means physical rest AND cognitive rest.

That said, if symptoms persist — headaches, nausea, dizziness, balance problems, confusion — after you have gotten medical care, call your healthcare provider again. Be persistent and find a healthcare provider who specializes in treating traumatic brain injury.

Prognosis

Most people who sustain a concussion or mild TBI are back to normal often in a week or two and almost always within a few months. But others can have long-term problems either from the concussion or from injury to surrounding soft tissues.

The sooner someone is diagnosed, the better the chances for a good recovery because rest is so important

One word of caution: Because a concussion affects the brain, the injured person may lack the clear judgment to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to go to the hospital. Family and friends can be instrumental in urging him or her to seek medical attention. Remember, when in doubt, check it out!

BrainLine

Comments [40]

I was getting up and nailed the top of my head on this hard wooden frame on the wall. I am worried I have a concussion but I'm not sure. I hit it pretty hard but I just don't know if I should be worried. 

Dec 15th, 2014 9:54am

I broke my nose on my friends knee 9 hours ago and I'm pretty sure I have a concussion but I thought you weren't supposed to sleep after you get a concussion because you can go into a coma?

Dec 7th, 2014 9:18pm

I was throwing my football and hit the side of my head on a brick wall,I heard a high pitched ringing sound,I am feeling dizzy.do I have a concussion or no.

Nov 27th, 2014 6:49pm

I hit my head on a steel beam yesterday and was fine for like 10 min then I got extremely light headed it's fine now but still have a minor headache and can't walk to fast or get up to fast or else I get dizzy, I already had a previous concussion playing football 2 years ago,

Nov 27th, 2014 11:34am

I was messing around at school and this boy pushed me into a wall, i hit my head really hard and have been feeling dizzy for quite a but now. What should i do? Should i be worried? I am a 12 year old girl in a lot of pain. Plz help ūüė≠

Nov 20th, 2014 5:34am

I was jumping on my bed and got hit on the right side of my head (from my point of view). What should i do? Is this a concussion? I am really scared and am doubting to go to the doctors or not. Please help me and tag me as JumpFail.

Nov 11th, 2014 10:44pm

My abusive husband whom I am leaving tomorrow once my things are packed... he gave me two concussions in the last two days. All I have been able to do is sleep, and I agree that it should be healed in a dark room, with no tvhitting punches, not just a mere slap... have "healed more quickly" due to adhering to the just resting 14 hours of sleeping each day, at least 8 glasses of water both days, and even having the tv off, which if you knew me it is something I never do because I feel lonely when it is off. I've now got two black eyes, ladies and/or gentlemen... if someone who claims to love you ever touches you, AKA punches and/or slaps you LEAVE. I meant my vows when I said them, but even the Word of our Lord above mentions in not so obvious words, " There are two good reasons that sit right with the Lord to be divorced: When your partner abandons you and also when they are unfaithful". He abandoned me when he had no reason to hit/punch me especially while I'm holding my 7 month old son. Just because someone has a bad day work gives someone NO right to come home and be evil. So yes, rest...meaning just sleeping and keeping the shades closed is the best way to recover. Also if your symptoms are sever... stumbling and not being able to walk, have no ability to have mental clarity(not your fault)... I am not a medical professional, but I am more than sure this requires medical intervention, and please do NOT attempt to drive yourself to the hospital. Godbless.

Nov 8th, 2014 2:45pm

Get a ct scan, make sure theres no bleeding. And rest, stay out of gym.

Oct 23rd, 2014 12:55am

yesterday I was roller skating and my feet had slid forward making my smash the back of my head right into the ground at first I had very blurry vision and I couldn't stand now I I have the absolute worst headache and a bump on my head that didn't go down with ice. I was wondering what should I do now I have school tomorrow and I don't feel like I could do running and everything in health it just hurts too much.

Oct 19th, 2014 5:42pm

I hit the back of my head a few years ago knocking me out I think for a few seconds I've not felt right since I suffer headaches blurred eyes it takes me ages to focus when I wake up is it possible to suffer concussion this long ??

Oct 9th, 2014 2:39pm

Come on people a bit of common sense is needed here writing in the comments box isnt going to get you a reply from a doctor if your unsure about going to A&E ring the out of hours or non emergency and they will tell you if you need medical attention

Sep 10th, 2014 11:58pm

Jesus people, yes you have a concussion. I've had several and all of your symptoms sound much worse than what I was experiencing, or on par with the worst one.

Aug 27th, 2014 7:42pm

Good Grief.  If you are asking if you need to be seen by a doctor, then you need to be seen by a doctor.  

Aug 21st, 2014 3:03pm

Go to the doctor right away, even if you're feeling mostly better. Its your brain - you will be sorry you took extra precaution. Please see a doc.

Aug 18th, 2014 9:01pm

Last night I was riding my bike and hit a pot hole when I was shifting my body on the bike so when I hit the hole I flew over the handle bars and landed on my head and shoulder and it all felt like a dream..my dad ran over and stood me up after a couple minutes and my head started to hurt so I closed my eyes and started getting dizzy and I guess I fainted because I woke up and didn't remember what was going on and asked "where am I" so when I finally got home I felt dizzy and it just felt really weird the whole time and today my head hurts and there is a bump... I really want to know if I have a concussion.

Aug 18th, 2014 6:15pm

Today i was riding(bmx) and i fell about 6feet directly onto the back of my head, i was wearing a helmet but have had a headache all day and when i rest i feel it more...could it be a concussion?

Aug 12th, 2014 12:57am

I was on an ATV in my neighborhood and was going to fast and tuned, I fell off hit my head on the street and possibly past out for a couple of minutes (I don't remember) and didn't feel nausea until hours later,

Aug 9th, 2014 10:28pm

hi, i'm a 19 year old schizophrenic. 6 days ago my head was run over by a semitrailer while I was lying on the ground. Now i am experience dizziness, headache, and a sore forehead. I also am peeing blood and can't stop projectile vomitting. should i see a doctor? my mum says i'm a clutz

Aug 7th, 2014 7:58am

I went swimming with a few friends and one pinned me to the wall of the pool, they hit a tickleish spot and my head bashed on the corner where the deck and the pool wall meets and my head has been hurting for two days now and today I've been really dizzy and sick feeling what do i do?

Jul 30th, 2014 12:03am

Thats a graet help thanks i really needed that thanks x

Jul 18th, 2014 6:28pm

I got punched on the head by a very bony hand. Now I have a headache along with balance problems. There is a big knot What yal think?

Jul 16th, 2014 1:07pm

I hit a wall when a friend pushed me and i stood up and it hurt a little should i worry reply to miguelmuro7@gmail.com

Jul 10th, 2014 6:24am

Hi I'm 15 and I was playing netball awhile ago and I don't remember hitting my head but I remember that I blacked out for about 25 mins and I still kept playing. Now I don't remember even play the rest of the game. I have also had previous spinal injuries (neck) should I be concerned. 

Jul 7th, 2014 6:46am

Well I walked into a metal bar from the playground I was taking my little sister to and I fell to the ground and everything went white and I stared getting tunnel vision (only lasted a few seconds)  and I couldn't get up for a few seconds because my head hurt really bad and after like 5 minuets I got up and I was having trouble standing up and balancing and I was real dizzy.... Not to soon after I stared to get bad head aches but this all only lasted like an hour and a half.... Should I be worried??  ( I'm really clumsy! ) 

Jul 1st, 2014 11:42pm

I went on a rollover coaster in six flags yesterday and it was really jerky and caused a few bruises on my legs. but after a few minutes of being off of the ride my head started hurting really bad and everything went fuzzy. I didn't pass out but my vision was blurry and I've taken a total of 5 advils in the past 24 hours. what should I do? email me any suggestions @ valbloom4200@gmail.com

Jun 30th, 2014 6:43pm

Im 13 i flew over the landing zone on my bike... I landed on the ramp up to the next jump and i dont really know why happened after that (yesterday) and I got up my visor was broken off i was seeing stars, dizzy.... Idk if i broke my nose but it hurts a lot and lately I have been dizzy, lightheaded, short term memory loss (happened 2 times) and idk what to do so plz email me only if u have something that could help at applehaterdork@gmail.com ÔłŹThanks!

Jun 25th, 2014 1:02am

I am 12 and got a one when playing soccer. The doc said I would be able to play in a week or so but after a week I was still not feeling good so my mom took me agian and they ened up saying I wasn't aloud in loud places so I couldn't do anything or be around anything that is really loud.

Jun 18th, 2014 9:21pm

I'm 18 and I got bashed in the nose by someone's head at Rockfest yesterday. The doctors said I have a mild concussion but I've never been injured before so I'm a little worried and freaking out just a bit. I'm hoping because I'm  young and relatively healthy it won't take long to heal. My work isn't going to let me have any days off for it, I'm sure. :/

Jun 1st, 2014 8:11am

I'm fourteen and hit my head really hard on a wall last night. I was and still am dizzy, light headed, nauseous, and confused. I threw up twice last night. should I be concerned?

Apr 15th, 2014 7:25pm

I am 29 years old and I crashed a dirt bike going over a 9th jump and Landed on my head. I knocked myself completely out. I woke up 17 hours later in a hospital. CT scan was normal. Good thing I was wearing a good helmet and my neck brace or my neck would be broken for sure. 2 weeks later I still have symptoms. Doctors say it's normal. Takes a while for the Brain to heal up!

Apr 7th, 2014 5:37pm

A week ago I fell over a toy and hit my eyebrow on the side of a race car bed. I bandaged the 2 inch cut and cleaned the wound and applied ice. I have a slight headache that is relieved by Ibruprophen, fogginess, tiredness, a raccoon black eye and tearing from the side of my injured eye in the mornings. Should I be concerned? I recently lost my job and have no health insurance.

Jan 15th, 2014 10:00am

My experience is that what happened to me was summarized as Organic Brain Syndrome. For me, caffeine works a little to temporarily improve the ability to pay attention and comprehend a little better.

Nov 14th, 2013 8:52am

I got a concusion in About July of 2013 its now October 2013 but i have not been able to remember most things and recintly i have started fainting.When it happened i was dizzy, nasuos, and had a headache. I'm 15 my parents didnt take me to the hospital...

Oct 11th, 2013 12:45pm

I've had 5 concussions. 3 in car accidents, 2 falls, and today I had a range hood (fan extractor) fall on my head. I know it's a concussion. Dizzy, confused, ear ache, blurry vision, and tiredness. I had brain surgery in 2003 for a tumor on the left side of head, and that's where my injury occurred tonight. Conflicted???? idy399@yahoo.com

Oct 8th, 2013 10:43pm

i think i am dying. drank a lot of alcohol after being hit in the head with a branch. fell asleep fine last night and feel very confused (almost drunk) still today

Oct 4th, 2013 10:40am

In rugby practice I got picked up and dropped on the side of my head. My head hurt for a moment then I was okay. But now I feel very weird. I cant remember things that happened earliert today. I remember the date and my name and everything but I can't remember what happened this morning. HELPPPPPP

Oct 2nd, 2013 7:11pm

My head got slammed in a car door tonight by accident. I think that I may have a concussion. When I was younger and had one the dr. told me not to go to sleep for 2 hrs. after it happened. So that is what I am going to do. Wait 2 hrs. before going to sleep. I had a pounding head ache prior to this happening tonight too. :( So this just makes it feel worse.

Aug 29th, 2013 10:09pm

Well the other day my friend coral came over and we went to the creek. We were playin on the sandbar with a float and we decided to do flips and land on the float. Coral went to go flip on the float and the float moved. She did a frontwards flip and landed on the sand. Now her neck has been hurting ever since. :/

Aug 26th, 2013 9:24pm

I hit the back of my head in a wall after 10 minutes I feel dizzy,balance problem and some bad taste in mouth its been 1month and 1week now but till now I feel dizzy and some shortness of breath but I think its because of anxiety and depression..what should I do? Please reply in this Email: bilouieraine@yahoo.com..thanks

Aug 24th, 2013 11:06pm

I know I've had a concussion over five years ago, but the pain, and agony of it hasn't gone away like they said it should and nobody has wanted to do anything more but shove pills down my throat. Am looking for advice or suggestions from someone experienced in brain/spinal issues. Contact me at haskids2009@gmail.com, thank you.

Jul 15th, 2013 12:09pm


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