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About Concussions

A concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is defined as a complex pathophysiologic process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces secondary to direct or indirect forces to the head.

Typical Concussion: Concussion with mechanism and symptoms typically associated with the above definition.  The patient's symptoms respond with steady physical and cognitive improvement over a 10 day period.  The patient tolerates exertional testing progression without incidence once appropriately cleared.

Complex Concussion: Concussion with symptoms persisting >10 days, difficulty or inability to progress through an exertional testing protocol, and/or general concussion patient who also has a history of other conditions that can affect recovery.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a concussion can affect physical, mental, emotional, and sleep behaviors. Examples of symptoms include: 

Symptoms Include but may not be limited to:

Physical

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Balance problems
  • Visual problems
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Numbness/tingling

Cognitive (Mental) Symptoms 

  • Hard time concentrating 
  • Feeling mentally foggy
  • Hard time remembering 
  • Feeling slowed down 

Emotional Symptoms 

  • Moody/irritable 
  • Sad 
  • Nervousness
  • Decreased interest in hobbies 

Sleep Behavior Symptoms 

  • Drowsiness 
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Hard time falling asleep

Lingering Effects of Concussions 

When treated properly concussions and other mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) should completely resolve within days to weeks. However, some people experience Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) with lingering symptoms. 

Post-Concussion Syndrome can include physical, cognitive, and emotional problems, such as: 

  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness/Imbalance
  • Not feeling like your normal self
  • Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks

All of these symptoms can make daily life more difficult. However, over time and with proper treatment, these symptoms will get better. When concussion-like symptoms do not resolve over an expected period of time, this may be a result of multiple system involvement that requires a multidisciplinary approach.