A concussion is a brain injury that occurs because of a blow to the head or the body that alters the way the brain functions. This injury is common during contact sports and other rigorous activities. It’s important to be as informed as possible when it comes to a concussion so you’re prepared if you or someone else experiences one.
Diagnosing a concussion can be difficult because there’s no sure way to know if someone is suffering from this injury. While there are tests that can be performed to make sure that there’s no further damage, such as hemorrhaging or a skull fracture, it can’t be determined if a concussion is present.
For this reason, it’s crucial to pay attention to the symptoms, which will start to occur somewhere during the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury. The most common concussion symptoms involve thinking and remembering, physical pain or dysfunction, emotional issues, and sleep disturbances.
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Feeling slowed down
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty remembering new information
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems
- Fuzzy or blurry vision
- Feeling tired
- Sensitivity to noise or light
- More emotional
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sleeping more than usual
- Sleeping less than usual
- Trouble falling asleep
While patients won’t always experience every one of these symptoms, it’s likely that they’ll have to deal with each symptom category, whether it’s mild or severe. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a physician.
While physicians can’t always diagnose concussions, it’s necessary to schedule a visit so they can eliminate the possibility of a more serious injury. Your physician will perform several tests to assess multiple variables of the patient’s state.
- Neurological exam: Your doctor will examine your vision, hearing, strength and sensation, balance, coordination, and reflexes to check for concussion symptoms.
- Cognitive testing: He or she may also perform cognitive testing to evaluate your thinking and examine your memory, concentration, and ability to recall information.
Imaging tests: Your doctor may order a brain imaging test to determine the severity of the injury and confirm whether you’re experiencing any dangerous bleeding or swelling in the skull. A CT scan may be ordered, which is a series of X-rays that create a cross-sectional image of your skull and brain. In addition, your physician may also call for an MRI to view bleeding or complications that could occur after receiving a concussion. This test uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of the brain.
The most important way to treat a concussion is rest. Your brain has suffered an injury, so allow it to heal by avoiding physical activity and other activities that stimulate the brain. Relax somewhere quiet and don’t watch TV or use the computer for a few days until you’re feeling better.
Understand concussion symptoms will help you determine your course of action if you or someone else suffers this brain injury.
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