8 Symptoms of a Concussion

There’s a good chance at some point in your life you’ve hit your head and wondered if you had a concussion. While you may equate concussions with falling on the floor unconscious and a huge lump on your head, the signs of a head injury aren’t always so obvious. 

Concussions can happen any time you experience a forceful blow to your head or violent shaking of your head or upper body. You may develop one after a car accident, hitting your head, falling, or experiencing a sports-related injury. 

While you may have a large lump and lose consciousness, these aren’t the only signs of a concussion. Our experienced neurologists at Abbey Neurodynamic Center put together this list of eight symptoms of a concussion to watch for if you or your child experience a head injury.

1. Vomiting or nausea

If you have concussion, there’s a good chance you’ll vomit or feel nauseous at some point after your injury. While you may vomit or feel nauseous several days after your injury, you may also experience those symptoms immediately afterward. 

If you do vomit right away, it may point to a more serious neurological injury or be associated with migraine headaches. In this case, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. 

2. Headaches

Headaches are a very common symptom of a concussion. While they often happen immediately following a head injury, they can also linger for weeks. The severity of pain you experience can range from sharp, debilitating pain to a dull, throbbing headache. 

Most concussion-related headaches resolve within a few weeks, but it can take up to a year for them to go away completely.

3. Confusion or memory loss

Even a mild concussion can cause confusion or memory loss. You may not remember how the concussion occurred or start forgetting small things, like where you left your phone. These symptoms can go on for weeks or even years after your head trauma. If left untreated, memory loss from a concussion may be permanent. 

4. Cognitive difficulties

After a concussion, you may find it harder to concentrate or think clearly. This can affect your ability to process information and thoughts and make everyday tasks take more time and mental energy than usual. 

5. Dizziness or balance problems

After a head injury, you may feel dizzy, lightheaded, or like the room is spinning. You may also have a hard time keeping your balance or have feelings of motion sickness when participating in activities.

Research indicates that up to 80% of people experience dizziness in the first few days after a head injury. For some, it becomes a chronic problem that lasts for years. 

6. Behavior or mood changes

It’s not uncommon for people to experience mood or behavioral changes like anxiety, depression, and irritability after a concussion. These can develop from changes in your brain caused by the head injury, or as an emotional reaction to how a brain injury changed your life.

As your injury heals, you’ll probably start to feel more like yourself again. In some cases, you may need medication or therapy to help regulate your symptoms.

7. Losing consciousness 

Fewer than 10% of people who have a head injury actually lose consciousness, but it’s one of the more serious and well-known symptoms of a concussion. If you or your loved one lose consciousness, even for just a few seconds, it’s important to get medical attention right away.

8. Sleep disturbances 

When you have a concussion, you may feel sleepier than normal. You may even find yourself wanting to nap more often. As time goes on, you may have sleep disturbances like having a hard time falling or staying asleep. This can lead to fatigue during the day, making it hard to get work or normal daily tasks accomplished. 

When to worry about a concussion 

Concussion symptoms vary for each person and range in their intensity. Some symptoms appear right after your head injury, while others may not show up for hours or days. Anytime you or your child have trauma to your head, it’s important to watch for the signs of a concussion both immediately after the injury and in the days following. 

If any of the more severe symptoms — like losing consciousness or vomiting — appear, it’s vital to see a medical professional immediately. Likewise, if any of the other symptoms only worsen over time, you should get medical attention.

We know it can be scary when you or your child experience a head injury. That’s why we offer state-of-the-art concussion diagnosis and treatment, including neurofeedback. To schedule an appointment, call our office in Palo Alto, California at 650-210-7922, or send us a message online today.

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