Did you recently suffer a bump or blow to the head? Perhaps you were involved in a car accident, fell down the stairs, or took part in a rowdy game of football? Any time that you hurt your head, even if you don’t lose consciousness, it’s important to consider the possibility of a concussion. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that causes the brain to move inside the skull. This movement can stretch and chemically change brain cells, influencing how the injured person feels, moves, and processes information. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can begin a treatment plan to help your brain heal. If you’re wondering how to tell if you have a concussion, review the symptoms below.
How to Tell If You Have a Concussion
The symptoms of a concussion vary greatly from person to person. While one person may be confused and disoriented, another may only feel nauseous and clumsy. While one person may immediately experience memory loss and balance issues, another person may appear fine but then exhibit symptoms hours or days after the incident. For this reason, it’s important that you continually check for signs of a concussion in the hours and days following a head injury. Keep an eye out for any behavior that feels “off.”
There are many misconceptions surrounding concussions, so it’s important that you don’t make any quick assumptions that might delay your diagnosis or worsen your symptoms. For example, even if you didn’t experience a direct blow to the head, you may still have a concussion. This often occurs in car accidents, provoked by whiplash or an abrupt bodily jolt. People also sometimes assume that you must experience unconsciousness to have a concussion, which is false. In fact, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, only about 10 percent of all concussions involve loss of consciousness.
If you’ve recently experienced head trauma or overall bodily trauma, watch out for the following physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms of a concussion:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Changes in your vision or hearing
- Balance problems
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Sleeping more than usual or less than usual
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Lack of energy
- Slurred speech
- One pupil larger than the other
- Convulsions or seizures
- Loss of focus
- Memory problems (forgetting events prior to the injury or after the injury)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling disoriented, sluggish, or “foggy”
- Changes in mood or personality
- Inability to recognize people or places
- Panic attacks
These symptoms are more likely to be prolonged and severe if the concussion is undiagnosed or not effectively treated. While the long-term effects of concussions are still being studied, researchers believe they may have long-lasting consequences.
Did you know that most concussions heal in three to four weeks? But although they heal quickly and are not usually life-threatening, they can have serious repercussions. So now that you know how to tell if you have a concussion, take action promptly if you suspect that you’re suffering from a head injury.
Contact National Dizzy and Balance Center. We specialize in diagnosing and treating vestibular disorders, including concussions. Our talented team members can evaluate the extent of your concussion and design a personalized plan to relieve your symptoms. To learn more about our approach to concussion management, please contact us online or by phone. Or if you’re ready to get started, schedule your free medical consultation today.