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What Are Concussion Symptoms? When Should You See a Doctor?

March 18, 2024

What Are Concussion Symptoms? When Should You See a Doctor?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury typically caused by a hard blow or sudden jolt to the head. Anytime an individual experiences a head injury, they should monitor their symptoms very closely to avoid lasting damage. It is wise to know which concussion symptoms to look out for.

In most cases, concussions are usually not life-threatening and simply require monitoring, medication, and additional rest for improvement. 

Fortunately, most individuals make full recoveries from their concussions and are back to their usual routines in a week or two. While the outlook for concussions is, in fact, very positive, the possibility exists of developing severe concussion symptoms that could lead to brain and spinal cord damage, comas, and even death. Therefore, it becomes imperative to keep an eye on your symptoms and know when to receive treatment. 

Read on to learn about the most common symptoms of concussions, as well as when you should see a physician for professional care. 

Common Causes of Concussions

The human brain is a highly delicate organ that can lead to an array of neurological and physiological issues if damaged. The brain itself is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid, which aids in protecting the brain from the skull in the event of a sudden jolt. 

In most instances, the fluid surrounding the brain is enough to protect it from injuries. However, anytime an individual is in a serious accident such as a car crash or sports injury, they risk bouncing their brain against the skull and developing a concussion. 

Symptoms of a Concussion

If you suspect that you have a concussion, you may experience a range of different symptoms. Luckily, most concussion symptoms are mild and tend to clear up after a few days of rest. 

Symptoms of a mild concussion include: 

  • Headaches (The most common symptom)
  • Confusion 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Balance problems and dizziness
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Ear ringing
  • Changes in typical sleep patterns
  • Feeling tired or fatigued
  • Trouble understanding and concentrating 
  • Difficulty paying attention and memory loss
  • Depression 
  • Irritability and anxiousness
  • General brain fog

Severe or Mild Concussion Symptoms: Know When to See a Doctor

In rare cases, some individuals may experience more severe concussion symptoms that can lead to serious complications if not treated in time. Knowing the difference between severe and mild concussion symptoms can be life-saving.

Seek medical attention immediately if your concussion symptoms include:

  • Severe or worsening headaches 
  • Loss of consciousness greater than 1 minute
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Severe dizziness or problems walking
  • Watery discharge from nose or ears
  • Increasing confusion
  • Unusual and bizarre behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Extreme drowsiness or fainting

Concussion Treatment Options

After discussing your symptoms with your physician, they will be able to ascertain whether you’re experiencing a mild or severe concussion. In the case of a severe concussion, your doctor will recommend an MRI and follow through with the necessary course of action. However, if determined that your concussion is only mild, your treatment plan will include plenty of physical and mental rest. Though you will require additional rest, you shouldn’t spend the entirety of your time resting, as doing so can actually lengthen your recovery period. 

While recovering, you should limit activities such as: 

  • Reading
  • Texting and looking at your cell phone
  • Watching television 
  • Playing video games
  • Doing strenuous activities

After a few days to a week of rest, slowly begin resuming your regular routines. After an additional week, your symptoms should have cleared up, and you can return to life as usual.

Speak to a Medical Expert 

It’s essential to speak to a health professional if you are experiencing symptoms of a concussion. If you have any questions regarding your concussion, symptoms, or treatment options, please reach out to our medical experts at BASS Primary Care. We are here to help you with all of your medical issues, so please do not hesitate to call us at (925) 962-9120 for any questions or concerns.

At BASS Primary Care Walk-in Clinic, it's Your Health, Your Schedule.