How to Determine if You Have a Concussion

As youth sports have exploded across the United States, so has another alarming statistic: As many as 3.8 million concussions occur each year as a result of competitive sports and recreational activities. That number is probably low since up to 50% of concussions may go unreported.

At Sulkowski Family Medicine in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, we know you’re concerned whenever a head injury occurs. We have plenty of experience in treating concussions, so here are a few tips on how to determine if you or a loved one has a concussion.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury usually caused by a blow to the head or violent shaking of the head or upper body. While concussions are the most common and least serious type of traumatic brain injury, it’s never a good thing for your brain to be violently jolted inside your skull. 

The brain is made of soft tissue and cushioned by spinal fluid, but when you suffer a concussion, your brain can move around in your head, causing bruising, damage to blood vessels, and nerve injuries.

The result of all this activity is that your brain doesn’t function normally. You might lose consciousness, your vision may be affected, and you may be confused.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

A concussion can be difficult to diagnose because other than a cut or bruise, you may not have any physical signs. Symptoms also may not show up right away, but may begin to manifest several hours or days later. These include:

Anytime you think you or a family member may have suffered a concussion, it’s always a good idea to seek medical care. This is especially true if symptoms appear to be more worrying, such as vomiting that won’t stop, a seizure, or a severe headache that gets worse.

At Sulkowski Family Medicine, Dr. Thomas Sulkowski determines if you have a concussion by discussing with you exactly what happened and what symptoms you’re experiencing. He also tests your memory and concentration and performs a physical exam, including tests of your coordination, balance, and reflexes.

How do you treat a concussion?

The best treatment for a concussion is simply rest and time. Don’t rush back into your activity too quickly, especially if you’re an athlete. This can increase the possibility of another head injury and additional concussions. Many leagues or teams require medical clearance before an athlete resumes activities after a concussion.

During your rest period, try to stay as calm as possible. Cut down on screen time, avoid driving, and keep a regular sleep schedule. 

If you’re concerned that you or a family member may have a concussion, call Sulkowski Family Medicine today or request an appointment online. Our expert team takes great care of you and provides the best treatment possible as we get you on the road to recovery!

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