A concussion is one of the most common types of head injuries. Strictly speaking, it’s a traumatic brain injury that occurs when your brain hits your skull. Most often, this is a result of some type of trauma, maybe from playing sports or having a bad fall.
Even though concussions are common, you shouldn’t brush one off as no big deal. Concussions can be serious. In this blog, Dr. Steven Grossinger explains how to recognize the signs of a concussion and what you should and shouldn’t do while recovering.
Recognize the signs of a concussion
Signs of a concussion can appear at any time after the initial injury. They may be immediate or may develop over the course of a couple of days. The signs may be mild to severe. Some of the signs of a concussion include:
- “Seeing stars” or other visual disturbances
- Personality changes
- Memory loss, especially regarding the event that caused the head injury
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Difficulty with concentration
- Balance problems
- Sleep disturbances
- Double vision or blurred vision
- Sensitivity to lights or noise
- Slow reaction time
If you have a concussion, you may experience all of these symptoms or only some of them. Even if you have only a few of these signs to a mild degree, you can still have a concussion.
What you should do if you have a concussion
It’s important that you contact a doctor right away if you suspect that you have a concussion. At our practice, we can tell you if you indeed have a concussion and may order more tests to evaluate how bad it is.
Exercises are recommended after you have a concussion, particularly once the worst of your symptoms go away. For most people, a concussion resolves itself within a couple of weeks. The types of exercises we suggest include physical, vestibular (inner ear), and ocular (eye) therapy.
If you continue to have problems with your thinking or with confusion, we may try using cognitive therapy or medication, with frequent monitoring.
Nutritional recommendations are also useful in helping your body heal more quickly. It’s important to give your body what it needs to speed healing.
And, of course, you should rest when possible, especially during the initial healing process. Rest is good for your brain and gives your body time to repair itself.
What not to do after a concussion
Understandably, you probably want to get back to normal as quickly as possible. However, that’s not a good idea if you’ve had a concussion. Your brain and body need to heal from the trauma. Some of the things you should avoid if you have a concussion are:
- Driving or being alone in the first 24 hours after a concussion
- Playing sports before you’ve gotten the okay from your doctor
- Looking at blue screens, such as your smartphone or computer, especially in the first days after a concussion
- Being exposed to bright lights or loud noises
- Taking aspirin or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, as these increase the risk of bleeding (Tylenol is okay, though)
- Eating a heavy or unhealthy diet
Taking the time to heal properly from a concussion means that you can recover 100%. It’s worth the time and effort.
If you think that you or someone you love has suffered a concussion, call Dr. Steven Grossinger at one of his offices in Wilmington, Delaware, or Woodlyn, Pennsylvania, or request an appointment online.