A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions make the brain more vulnerable to further injury until it heals.
At Dignity Health, our doctors diagnose concussion quickly and provide complete emergency concussion treatment in Arizona. Our Phoenix area hospitals are located in Ahwatukee, Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Laveen, Goodyear, Surprise, Mesa, and Glendale.
Use our online InQuicker™ tool. It can reduce your waiting time in the ER.
Symptoms of Concussion
Symptoms of concussion can be subtle. Some concussion symptoms appear right away. Others appear within hours or days of a head injury.
Common concussion symptoms are:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Confusion or brain fog
- Memory problems
- Nausea or vomiting
- Personality changes, irritability, or depression
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Ringing in the ears
- Sleep problems
See your doctor after a head injury, even if you don’t experience symptoms right away.
When to Seek Emergency Care
Call 9-1-1 if any of these symptoms occur:
- Difficulty walking or talking
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe headache
Causes of Concussion
When a blow to the body or head occurs, it causes the brain to move suddenly and forcefully around in the skull. This damages brain cells and creates chemical changes in the brain.
Jarring forces that can cause concussion are:
- Violent hits to the body
- Whiplash injuries
- Blows to the head
Diagnosing Concussion at Dignity Health
Your doctor will perform a physical exam, paying special attention to your nervous system. The assessment involves checking your reflexes, coordination, and pupil size. Your doctor will also test your memory and ability to recall information.
If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may order imaging exams. CT scan is the standard test for concussions at the time of injury. MRI can also be useful for evaluating seizures or other complications of a concussion.
Emergency Concussion Treatment at Dignity Health
Rest is the standard treatment for concussion. This includes both physical and mental rest until your symptoms clear. You will need to avoid activities that require thinking and concentration, including:
- Watching TV
- Playing video games
- Using a computer or smartphone
Your doctor may also recommend time off from work or school.
Headaches are common with concussion, so you may need over-the-counter pain relievers.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be safest because it doesn’t increase the risk of bleeding. Ask your doctor before taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Do not return to activities or sports until your doctor clears it.
To help protect yourself and prevent concussions:
- Wear helmets and other protective gear during sports and recreational activities. Look for helmets and head gear approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for your specific sport or activity.
- Learn and practice proper techniques for contact sports.
- Buckle your seat belt.
Dignity Health provides high-quality emergency services, including emergency concussion treatment, in Arizona.