About Concussions

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

Typical Concussion: A patient experiencing a typical concussion will have symptoms that 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: Complex concussions have symptoms that persist more than 10 days and include difficulty or inability to progress through an exertional testing protocol. This can include a general concussion patient who also has a history of other conditions that can affect recovery.

Concussion Symptoms

Symptoms of a concussion can affect physical, mental, emotional, and sleep behaviors.

Physical Symptoms of Concussion

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

Cognitive/Mental Symptoms of Concussion

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

Emotional Symptoms of Concussion

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

Sleep Behavior Concussion Symptoms 

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

Lingering Effects of Concussion

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, including: 

  • 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.