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How to Tell if You Have a Concussion

Updated on November 8, 2011

How to Tell if You Have a Concussion

A concussion is an uncomfortable effect of hitting your head, or having it hit, for example during martial arts. While with care it will go away by itself, it is not a condition to be ignored, and you should seek medical attention promptly. Concussion (or Mild Traumatic Brain Injury - MTBI - as it is commonly known in medicine) usually occurs as a result of head trauma of some kind - either a simple bumping of the head or a harder hit, a car accident, or being in the vicinity of an explosion.

This article will show you how to tell if you have a concussion, will discuss treatment of same, and will tell you things to look out for. If you suspect you have a concussion, and can confirm it with the symptoms below, I would strongly advise that you seek out a medical professional.


A concussion can be slightly tricky to detect, as the symptoms vary wildly from person to person, and the definition of a concussion also varies. However, in general, the symptoms are what one would expect from a blow to the head. These, as stated before, should not be taken as lightly as cartoon characters seem to take them.

The most common symptom of a concussion is a headache. This occurs in most all cases, closely followed by dizziness (and general lack of coordination or movement) and nausea (including vomiting). Other senses may also be affected.

A very typical symptom of concussion is confusion and possibly a very slight amnesia of the time leading up to and immediately following the injury. Further cognitive impairment such as difficult or confused speech is also common. Long-term symptoms include a loss of reasoning or concentration, and a change in sleeping patterns.

Symptoms affecting the senses usually affect vision and hearing. Light sensitivity, blurry or spots in the visual field, or 'double vision' are all common, as is either a whistling or a ringing in the ears.

The symptoms usually occur immediately or very quickly after the injury, and subside just as quickly, or may continue for some time (usually no longer than a few weeks).

If you have any of these symptoms, it is an extremely good idea to be seen by a doctor, as they could be indicators of any number of conditions. The doctor will be able to diagnose this more accurately, and prescribe the appropriate treatment.


Once again, please see a medical professional as soon as possible after the injury. During the first few days of rest, it is crucial to be under observation to see if the symptoms worsen.

In most cases, rest is enough. This means both getting plenty of sleep and resting during the day. The concussion symptoms usually disappear after a few weeks. It is very important not to over-exert yourself during this time, as this may have negative consequences. Usually, the best thing to do is to rest until you start feeling better, and then to go back to your normal life slowly, making sure that none of the things you're doing make your symptoms worse.

In some cases, medicines are prescribed in order to treat the symptoms (often something for the headache). In very few cases, surgery may be necessary to prevent further damage.

Final Notes

By far the vast majority of concussion patients recover completely. The symptoms may take some time to disappear, but usually do. While this is the case, I will, once again, make a point of saying that you should visit a doctor as soon as possible after the injury, just to make sure that there are no problems.


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    • Coeus profile image

      Coeus 5 years ago from All over the world and then some.

      Go see a doctor immediately. As I stated in the article, I'm not a medical professional. You need to see one. Or perhaps go to a free ER close by. Good luck.

    • profile image

      pigletpooh 5 years ago

      I fell down and hit my head on a cement block 3 days ago. i have not had any concussion symptoms, but over the next few days after my accident, both eyes turned black & blue. I have no health insurance & didn't feel the need to go for treatment, but the swelling and bruising look very bad. What is your opinon, please?? Thanks!!

    • Coeus profile image

      Coeus 6 years ago from All over the world and then some.

      Thanks dallas93444! Always nice to see that the articles are read. :)

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      This awareness may save our lives! Thanks for sharing. One must not take oneself's health and welfare for granted...