Nearly 30% of Americans experience a concussion at some point, making it the most common form of traumatic brain injury. A concussion is the result of a sudden blow to the head from an accident, sports injury, or other incident, and it’s important to know what to do if you think you have one.
Adam Redlich, MD, Adam Thompson, DO, and our team at A+ Athlete Sports Medicine in Neptune and Robbinsville, New Jersey, specialize in concussion treatment. In this blog, they explain some of the signs of a concussion and discuss what you should do if you think you have one.
If you think you have a concussion, there are some telltale symptoms to watch for:
One of the most common symptoms of a concussion is a persistent headache that ranges from mild to severe. Often, the headache gets progressively worse.
You might notice that you struggle to concentrate, can’t remember what happened just before or after your injury, or suffer from general mental fogginess. Sometimes, concussions can make you extra sensitive to light and noise, even causing visual disturbances, such as seeing stars.
Concussions can also make you feel dizzy or unsteady on your feet. Fatigue, exhaustion, or a general lack of energy often accompanies a concussion, and you may feel moody or irritable following your injury.
Concussions are traumatic brain injuries, and they require prompt evaluation and care. It’s important to go to the doctor if you think you have a concussion, and our team is here to help.
We ask questions about your injury, discuss your medical history, and perform a physical exam to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms. If needed, we may order a CT scan or an MRI.
After diagnosis, most concussions can be treated at home. We recommend asking someone you trust to keep an eye on you for at least the first 24 hours to make sure your symptoms don’t get worse.
Prioritize resting your body and your brain. Give your brain time to heal by avoiding activities that require concentration, such as reading or using screens, and make sure you get plenty of sleep. Steer clear of activities that could lead to another head injury, such as engaging in contact sports or heavy lifting.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and avoid alcohol and caffeine, because they could exacerbate your symptoms. Depending on your condition, we may recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen for headaches.
You can expect your symptoms to start improving within 2-3 weeks. If your symptoms get worse, or you experience seizures, slurred speech, or weakness on one side of your body, seek immediate medical attention.
We work with athletes of all levels, and we understand that concussions can occur during sports. As you return to your usual activities, we may recommend post-injury ImPACT® testing and post-concussion management to help you avoid long-term complications and future concussions.
Recognizing the signs of a concussion is essential — and so is seeking prompt care. Early treatment can help your brain heal faster, and our team at A+ Athlete Sports Medicine is ready to help. Book an appointment online or over the phone today.