7 Concussion Signs to Look for After a Fall
What do you think of when you hear the word concussion? Football players colliding or a soccer ball hitting the head of a teen? While many people associate these injuries with athletes, anyone who hits their head can suffer from a concussion.
The most common cause of concussions is a slip or a fall. In fact, among people 65 and older, nearly 80% of emergency department visits for head injuries happen due to a fall. They can also be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Head injuries can happen during car accidents or if something falls on you at your job or while working around the house.
If you’ve recently had a bump or blow to the head it’s important to know what to look for because the signs of a concussion do not always appear immediately and may show up hours or even a day after the head injury.
Keep in mind that there is no simple at-home concussion test you can take. However, these seven main signs to look for will help you know when it is time to get diagnosed and treated.
Someone with a concussion may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms after an injury to the head.
- Dizziness or balance problems
- Blurry vision
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Light and noise sensitivity
- Difficulty focusing or feeling foggy
The Importance of Concussion Diagnosis and Treatment
Most people only have temporary problems from a concussion and will fully recover. However, if left unrecognized or poorly treated they can prolong recovery time and increase the risk of brain swelling, which can be dangerous.
Finding a physician who has the training and knowledge to treat head injuries is important. If you can’t get to a physician right away and have any symptoms, it’s best to go to the Emergency Department and then arrange a follow-up visit with a doctor who is experienced in concussion care.
An effective evaluation should include:
- A detailed evaluation of symptoms
- A neurocognitive exam
- A balance and vision motor screening to determine the level of integration of balance, vision, and movement
The LeBauer Sports Medicine Team in Greensboro, NC, has created a special concussion clinic that utilizes a comprehensive approach to head injury evaluation including the use of ImPACTⓇ (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) tool. The patient completes six different tasks that help assess memory, visual processing speed, and reaction time.
The ImPACT assessment combined with a balance and vision motor screening and a thorough review of the patient’s symptoms allows the team to create an individualized treatment plan for each patient.
Rest for the Brain and Body
While each patient will have a different treatment plan to address specific symptoms, recovery always incorporates some level of physical and mental rest. This generally includes:
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Avoiding activities that require a lot of mental and visual processing, such as reading, paperwork, and video games
- You may need to avoid light from computer and smartphone screens as well as bright overhead lights
- Holding off on exercise and other strenuous activity during your recovery time
- Staying away from alcohol and medications that may cause drowsiness
A physician should perform a follow-up neurocognitive exam after the initial appointment to help determine if you can return to work, school, exercise, and driving. The amount of recovery time needed will vary from patient to patient.
LeBauer Sports Medicine Concussion Clinic and Hotline
The LeBauer Sports Medicine Concussion Clinic, located on Green Valley Road in Greensboro, offers a hotline that allows anyone to receive guidance on concussions. You can speak with a specially trained staff member during our regular office hours, Monday – Friday from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM by calling the hotline at 336-890-2532.
The hotline allows you to discuss symptoms if you suspect a concussion and receive recommendations for at-home care until the patient can visit the clinic for an evaluation. Patients do not need a referral to visit the concussion clinic. You can request an appointment through the hotline or through our online appointment form.