A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions make the brain more vulnerable to further injury until it heals. When a blow to the body or head occurs, it causes the brain to move suddenly and forcefully inside the skull. This damages brain cells and creates chemical changes in the brain.
Jarring forces that can cause concussion include:
- Blows to the head
- Whiplash injuries
- Violent hits to the body
If you think you may have experienced a concussion in Sacramento, CA or a surrounding area, the experts at Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California can help. Our specialists can provide immediate response and analysis, as well as recovery services. Find a Doctor and make an appointment today for the care you need.
When to Seek Emergency Care for Concussion
In some cases, concussions can require emergency care. Seek immediate medical attention (call 911) for:
- Difficulty walking or talking
- Blurred vision
- Severe headache
- Loss of consciousness
Signs and symptoms of concussion can be subtle. Some concussion symptoms start right away, while others appear within hours or days of a head injury.
Common concussion symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Confusion or brain fog
- Nausea or vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Memory problems
- Sleep problems
- Personality changes, irritability, or depression
- Sensitivity to light or noise
See your primary care physician at Dignity Health after a head injury, even if you don’t experience symptoms right away.
Do I Have a Concussion?
To diagnose concussion, one of our doctors will perform a physical exam, paying special attention to your nervous system. This involves checking your reflexes, pupil size, and coordination. Your doctor will also test your memory and ability to recall information. If your symptoms are severe, the 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 complications of a concussion such as seizures.
Treating Concussion in the Sacramento Region
After being diagnosed with a concussion by one of our professionals, we will provide personalized care. Physical and mental rest is the standard treatment for a concussion until your symptoms clear. Avoid activities that require thinking and concentration, including playing video games, watching TV, reading, or using a computer or smartphone. Your doctor may also recommend time off or shortened school or work days.
Since headaches are common with concussion, you may need over-the-counter pain relievers. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is safest because it doesn’t increase the risk of bleeding. Ask your doctor before taking ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), aspirin, or naproxen (Aleve).
Check with your doctor before returning to activities or sports.
You can prevent concussions by taking these steps:
Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California provides comprehensive care for concussion in the Sacramento region.
- Learn and practice proper techniques for contact sports.
- Buckle your seat belt.
- Wear helmets and other protective gear during sports and recreational activities. Look for helmets and headgear approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for your specific sport or activity.