Coping with Concussion
Concussion is also known as mild
traumatic brain injury (MTBI). It is often caused by a blow to the head, or a fall.
have been unconscious for a few seconds or minutes after the injury. Or maybe you
dazed, confused, or “saw stars.” After this, you thought you were OK. Now, weeks or
later, you’re having symptoms that may be caused by a concussion. The good news is
most people, these symptoms will likely go away on their own. Most people with a
concussion recover fully, with no need for treatment.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild form of brain injury. In some cases, the effects of a concussion
go away within days of the injury. In others, symptoms may continue for a few months.
Fortunately, a concussion is temporary. Even when symptoms stay for months, they do
go away over time. If they don't, or if your symptoms are worse, contact your healthcare
Symptoms of a concussion
You may have noticed some of these symptoms:
Irritability and other changes in behavior
Problems remembering or concentrating
Dizziness or lack of coordination
Sensitivity to light and sound
Note: If you have severe symptoms
or trouble functioning, talk with your healthcare provider right away. If you had
serious head injury than a concussion, you likely need treatment. See your healthcare
provider for an evaluation.
What you can do
The effects of a concussion go away
over time, so there isn’t a lot you need to do. Be assured that this problem is
temporary. You’ll likely have a full recovery. In the meantime, talk with your
healthcare provider about ways to relieve any symptoms that are bothering you. These
tips may help:
Don't return to sports or any
activity that could cause you to hit your head until all symptoms are gone and you
have been cleared by your healthcare provider. A second head injury before fully
recovering from the first one can lead to serious brain injury.
Return to normal activities
of daily living and normal social interaction. This will help speed recovery.
Stress can make symptoms worse. Help calm yourself by resting in a quiet place and
imagining a peaceful scene. Relax your muscles by soaking in a hot bath or taking
a hot shower.
over-the-counter acetaminophen to relieve headache pain. Take it as directed on
the package. Don't take ibuprofen or aspirin after a head injury.
If you become dizzy, sit or lie down in a safe place until the sensation passes. Don’t
drive when you feel dizzy or disoriented.
If you’re having trouble
sleeping, try to keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same
time each day. Don't have any caffeine or nicotine, or limit how much you have.
Don't drink alcohol. It may help you sleep at first, but your sleep will not be
Give yourself time to heal.
Your recovery will take some time. When you have symptoms, remember that you won’t
feel this way forever. In time the symptoms will go away and you’ll be back to
If you’re not feeling better
The effects of a concussion often
go away in 7 to 10 days. The vast majority of people who have had a concussion have
recovered after 3 months. If you’re not feeling better as time passes, there may be
something else going on. If your symptoms don’t go away or you notice new ones, talk
with your healthcare provider. They can help you get the treatment you need.