A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused from a blow or bump to the head or an injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. Concussions are the most common type of brain injury in both adults and children, particularly if you play a contact sport. A concussion can result from a car accident or even a fall in adults, when the head is jarred.

Concussions can range from minor to major and are usually diagnosed based on symptoms and severity of head trauma. Most concussions are usually minor, but every concussion injures the brain.

Symptoms of a Concussion

Symptoms and signs can be very subtle with a concussion and may not be immediately apparent. (You don’t have to be unconscious to experience a concussion.) The number and type of symptoms a person experiences may vary greatly on their specific injury. Signs and Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Headache
  • Dazed, stunned or confused
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Amnesia surrounding the incident
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Change in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Incoherent or slurred speech

Symptoms and signs usually go away within three weeks. However, some patients may experience prolonged symptoms or complications. Repeated concussions may cause extensive and permanent brain damage.

If you think you or a loved one has a concussion, it is best to seek medical attention right away. Your Michigan Head & Spine Institute doctor can determine the severity of your concussion and when it is safe to return to normal activity.

Treatment for Concussions

There is no specific treatment plan for concussions. Most doctors will prescribe rest and very limited physical activity. A gradual return to normal activities is recommended
so that symptoms don’t worsen. A visit within 24 to 72 hours may also be recommended so the doctor can evaluate improvement in symptoms. Since the brain is so vulnerable to change in pressure, blood flow and oxygen levels, it is important to rest and let your brain injury heal. Tips to help you get better:

  • Get plenty of rest day and night.
  • Avoid physical activities, even housework and activities that may require concentration, like video games or computer use.
  • Ask when you can resume driving a car, operating machinery, or riding a bike.
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol and doing drugs as they may slow down your recovery.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should return to see your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Altered mental status
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Severe, persistent headache
  • Weakness in arms or legs
  • Vomiting
  • New bleeding
  • Deafness in one or both ears

Concussion Management

A new standard in concussion management to help these athletes that may be susceptible to concussions is neuropsychological testing. This testing will be done pre- and
post-injury to provide a baseline to better help concussion management. Physicians can use this information to determine when the athlete can go back to playing again, and manage the athlete who has already experienced concussions.




This page is intended to be educational, but does not take the place of your physician or surgeon’s advice for your specific procedure or treatment. You should always consult with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

Call Michigan Head & Spine Institute at 248-784-3667.


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