How Do Doctors Check for a Concussion?

Have you recently had an accident and hit your head? Have you wondered, how do doctors check for a concussion?

Each year in the US, up to 3.8 million concussions occur every year and they’re usually from recreation or sporting events. It’s important to visit your doctor as soon as possible after this occurs.

If you’ve experienced an injury to your head, then keep reading to learn all about concussions, how doctors diagnose them, and what you can do to recover quickly.

What Is a Concussion?

When you have a concussion, you have a traumatic brain injury that affects how your brain functions. Usually, concussions are caused by a blow to the head or an injury that causes your head to shake violently. Most concussions are mild, but some can be more serious and significantly impact your life.

Symptoms of a Concussion

The symptoms of a concussion are often subtle and don’t always show up immediately. When you do have symptoms, they can sometimes last for a week or longer. Common symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision

You might also experience sleep disturbances and problems with your concentration and memory.

When young children have a concussion, they can’t always express how they feel. Common symptoms in children include irritability, crankiness, and a change in sleeping patterns.

Do You Need to Go to the Doctor for a Concussion?

If you experience a blow to the head, it’s important to see your doctor within 1 to 2 days even if you don’t need any emergency care. 

If you experience symptoms such as a headache that continues to get worse or feel weakness in your arms or legs, you should seek treatment at your nearest emergency room.

How Do Doctors Check for a Concussion?

Diagnosing a concussion involves seeing your doctor. At your appointment, they will evaluate the symptoms you’re experiencing and do a neurological examination. A neurological examination includes checking your:

  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Strength
  • Sensation
  • Coordination
  • Reflexes

Your doctor may also check your concentration, memory, and ability to recall certain key information such as your birthday or where you were born. If your symptoms are significant, your doctor may also order imaging tests such as a CT scan to check for bleeding or swelling in your skull.

If you have to go to the emergency room, you’ll most likely have both a neurological examination as well as a CT or MRI right away to evaluate the severity of your head injury.

How Do Doctors Treat a Concussion?

If you’re wondering how to treat a concussion, there are several steps you need to follow. First, your doctor will recommend that you physically and mentally rest.

This means limiting any activities for the first two days after your concussion that require a lot of mental concentration. You’ll also need to limit any physical activities like sports or any type of physical exertion that involves the movement of your head.

If you’re experiencing headaches, you’ll be advised to take Tylenol for pain relief and avoid ibuprofen such as Advil as it can increase your risk for bleeding.

If your concussion is a result of a severe traumatic brain injury and you experienced brain swelling or skull fractures, you may need specialist treatment at a concussion treatment center facility. In these types of severe cases, full recovery can take a few months or more.

Treating Your Concussion

Now you know the answer to the question, how do doctors check for a concussion, you’ll be sure to get your concussion treated soon after it occurs.

Don’t forget that concussion symptoms don’t always appear right away. It’s best to see your doctor and make sure your head injury is not significant.

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