Recognizing a concussion can be tricky because the symptoms are often mild. Yet, even with minimal symptoms, a concussion still alters brain function, damages nerves, and can bruise the brain.
You should always get a thorough evaluation right after a concussion and learning the symptoms can help you know when to schedule an appointment even when you or your child feel fine. If you have questions or concerns about subtle signs, Kevin T. Murphy, MD and our team at MindSet are here to help.
Here’s everything you need to know about concussion symptoms.
Don’t expect to blackout
Many people think that a concussion causes the person to blackout. But fewer than 10% of people who sustain a concussion lose consciousness and if they blackout, it lasts less than a few minutes.
If you or your child lose consciousness for more than a few minutes, it’s a sign of a more severe traumatic brain injury.
Symptoms of a concussion
The following symptoms caused by a concussion may appear immediately or be delayed for days or weeks.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that headaches are the most common concussion symptom. The headache may range from mild to a severe migraine.
Memory loss or confusion
Feeling confused and losing your most recent memories often occur after a concussion. When your memory is affected, you’ll have a hard time recalling what happened immediately before the event that caused the concussion.
In some cases, you may not remember your name or your location. Memory problems may not occur for a few hours or days, and then you or your child may not remember how you got hurt.
Dizziness and loss of balance
The impact that causes a concussion, may also lead to damage in your middle or inner ear. This type of damage can cause dizziness, feeling like the room is spinning, and loss of balance. In severe cases, a concussion may lead to hearing loss and bleeding from the ear.
After a concussion, it’s normal to have a hard time concentrating and processing directions. You or your child may be slow to respond to questions or find that it’s hard to remember directions.
Changes in vision
You or your child may “see stars,” or flashes of light, when the force of the concussion disrupts the nerve signals traveling from your eyes to your brain. Other vision changes, such as blurred or double vision, are signs of more severe brain damage.
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting typically appear right after the injury, but these symptoms can also be delayed. Unfortunately, that makes it hard to determine if they’re due to a concussion or a stomach problem.
Changes in mood
A concussion can lead to anxiety, depression, and general irritability.
Your brain needs a lot of rest after a concussion so it can heal. As a result, it’s common to feel fatigued.
Restoring brain activity following a concussion
When you sustain a brain injury, your brainwaves are affected. Electroencephalograms (EEGs) show that at first, brain activity spikes, but then it slows down and becomes sluggish.
Brainwaves return to normal for most patients during the initial healing period. However, it can take many months to regain a normal EEG and for some, the abnormal changes become chronic.
If you continue to have an abnormal EEG, we can restore brain activity with personalized repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (PrTMS). PrTMS consists of a series of treatments using magnetic impulses that trigger nerve activity and reestablish normal brainwaves. PrTMS is proven to be safe and it typically produces fast results.
If you need help with a concussion, call MindSet, or request an appointment online.