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6 Signs of a Concussion

Did you know that concussions are considered a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI)? Concussions usually result after you hit your head or experience violent movement, like a hard collision or car accident. They can be mild or severe, but any level of concussion affects your brain function and can lead to problems with concentration, balance, and head pain.  

While many athletes experience concussion due to sports-related injuries, anyone of us can get a concussion if we experience a hit to the head or body that causes the brain to move back and forth rapidly. And since concussion affects your brain’s ability to function, you may not be able to easily self-evaluate after you’ve been injured. 

At Performance Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, board-certified orthopedic surgeon David Dickerson, MD, and nurse practitioner Shawn Denning, NP, help patients in Wall Township, Toms River, and Shrewsbury, New Jersey, find the care and supportive therapies needed to cope with a concussion as part of our comprehensive line of services.  

Since having a concussion can make it difficult to evaluate your symptoms, we’ve created a list of the top six signs you could be concussed. Read on to learn more!

1. You’re feeling “foggy”

You don’t have to blackout to be concussed. But when you have a concussion, the part of your brain responsible for interpreting movement can become disrupted or confused. The result? Feelings of brain fog, detachment, or dissociation. Some patients describe the feeling like that of being underwater or slow waves of dizziness.

2. Your memory isn’t functioning quite right

If you find yourself struggling to remember the details of events that led to your head injury or if you keep losing your place when talking or working or find you’re having a hard time staying on track, it could be a sign of a concussion. Your friends and family may also tell you that you’re repeating yourself or are responding much slower than normal.  

3. You feel anxious or emotional but don’t know why

Changes in your baseline mood or personality can indicate a concussion. For many people, this shows up as unexplained anxiety or moodiness. If your friends and family keep asking you what’s wrong and you can’t explain, it could be a sign of a concussion. 

4. You’re bothered by lights and sounds

In the hours or days after your injury, if you notice you’re sensitive to sounds, like the radio or television or children playing, or sensitive to light, it could be a sign that you have a concussion. Concussions affect your brain’s ability to interpret these stimuli, causing you to feel especially sensitive to things that normally wouldn’t bother you.  

5. You feel like your head is heavy or full

Headache can definitely be a sign of a concussion, but many patients report feelings of pressure, fullness, or heaviness. If this describes how your head is feeling after your injury, it could be a sign that you’re concussed. 

6. You are nauseous or have been vomiting

Concussions not only affect your brain’s ability to function, but they can impair your automatic nervous system (ANS), vestibular system (responsible for balance), and vision. When you suffer from a concussion, if any of these goes awry, you could feel nauseated or even experience vomiting.   

What can I do if I think I may have a concussion?

While most concussions resolve without further complications, a small fraction (about 5%) of concussed people develop brain clots or bleeding. To ensure your health and wellness, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a medical professional if you suspect a concussion. If you or someone you know experiences severe head trauma, seek medical attention immediately. 

If you think you or a loved one have or have had a concussion, contact the Performance Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine office nearest you and schedule an appointment today!

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