Concussion - Symptoms

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What are the signs and symptoms of concussion?

The signs and symptoms of concussion may be obvious or very subtle. Most patients are unaware that they have sustained a concussion and may not connect their symptoms with a head injury. This is especially true when symptoms develop hours after the initial injury and those events may have been forgotten. Being knocked out (loss of consciousness) or having a seizure after a head injury are not common and may be very dramatic but these two symptoms do not predict the severity of the concussion. Symptoms like mild confusion, disorientation, and irritability are most commonly seen. Symptoms tend not to be objective and may be hard to describe or be appreciated by the patient. Often it is family members or friends who are more aware of the situation.

Typical symptoms of concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty concentrating or feeling foggy
  • Slower reaction times
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty with bright lights or loud sounds
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns, either insomnia or sleeping more

Because of all of the above, students may suffer a drop off in their school work and grades, while adults' work performance may suffer.

Physical Signs

The purpose of the physical examination is to look for abnormalities that would point to bleeding in the brain or to a neck injury and spinal cord damage.

The neurologic exam in patients with concussion should be normal.

Return to Concussion

See what others are saying

Comment from: BarbaraD, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 18

It has been roughly a week since my concussion. At first, I had a terrible headache that wouldn't go away with sleep or Aleve like my normal headaches would. I was also ever-so-slightly dizzy/funky feeling. But, it wasn't until I Googled headache causes that I made the connection between my symptoms and the sleepwalking incident I'd had a few days prior (rammed into the door frame, forehead first). Things have improved, but periodically I'm still experiencing mild headaches and barely noticeable dizziness (usually worse in the evenings).

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Comment from: Db, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 14

My concussion symptoms are extreme vertigo, my eyes going back and forth and seeing triple vision. I was taken to the hospital, and an MRI and CT scan was done. I was discharged to physical therapy, where they maneuvered my head, causing my eyes to go back and forth. It has been 6 weeks with vertigo, and I cannot drive, or think.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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