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A concussion (sometimes called a mild traumatic brain injury [mTBI]) occurs when there has been an injury, jolt, or blow to the head or body that causes your head and brain to move back and forth quickly. This can happen if you play sports, fall, or are in a car accident. This type of injury is sometimes called an “invisible injury” because it is too small to be seen on a CT scan or MRI.
Symptoms vary from person to person; but, may affect many parts of your health. Symptoms may show up right away, be delayed many days or not appear until you get back to your normal routine.
Hard to think clearly
Feeling slowed down
Hard to concentrate
Hard to remember new information
Nausea or vomiting
Sensitive to noise or light
Feeling tired/ no energy
Sleeping more or less than usual
Trouble falling asleep
Most people fully recover from a concussion without medical treatment. If you still have symptoms in 2 weeks, you should see your primary care doctor. If you have a history of learning disabilities, ADHD, depression, anxiety or repeat concussions it may take longer to improve.
Rest your body and brain for the first 48 hours. During this time do not:
Do heavy housework
Have screen time on your phone/computer
After 48 hours, you can slowly start to go back to your normal routine.
When to Call
If you follow what we suggest above, symptoms should improve after the first few days. Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or you have problems with your normal routine. Based on your symptoms, the doctor may want you to see other health care experts. A speech, physical (PT), or occupational (OT) therapist may be able to help you get better.
Returning to Work/School
If you do not have symptoms, you may return to work/school 24-48 hours after the injury. If you have symptoms, ask your doctor when you can go back. This is different for everyone. If you are getting speech, PT or OT, your therapist may offer ideas about going back to work/school. At first, you may go back for only part of the day. Then, you can slowly increase your hours.