Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

What Are The Common Symptoms Of Concussion?

July 9, 2021


A concussion is a specific type of mild traumatic brain injury caused by a force to the head or body resulting in symptoms originating from brain and does not have to involve a loss of consciousness. Concussions occur via one of two mechanisms, the first is a direct contact to the head, such as a soccer collision, a bike crash or rock-climbing fall. The second is a non-contact to the head via a rotation, acceleration or deceleration force, such as a whiplash during a ski fall, or a rapid rotational car collision (2).

Research tells us that the force to the head or neck likely causes shearing on axons at the location of impact, but also diffusely throughout the brain.1 This is one reason concussions can present with such variability in symptoms from person to person. Following the initial insult, it is understood that the brain has a global change in neuro chemical environment, altered energy availability, and shifts in cerebrovascular delivery (1). As the brain is recovering from these changes, one can experience numerous different symptoms.

Concussion symptoms may resolve within days to weeks depending on how quickly the brain can recalibrate to normal function (2). For some, symptoms can continue to persist for months with tasks of concentration, exercise, or sport.

The following are some of the most common concussion symptoms:

  • Headaches

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Balance difficulty

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Trouble falling asleep

  • Sleeping more than usual

  • Drowsiness

  • Sensitivity to light or noise

  • Sadness

  • Nervousness

  • Numbness/Tingling

  • Feeling “slowed down”

  • Feeling like “in a fog”

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Difficulty remembering

Both immediately and over time medical management of a concussion is based on symptom severity, duration and sensitivity during your day-to-day activities.

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1.     Giza CC, Hovda DA. The Neurometabolic Cascade of Concussion. J Athl Train. 2001;36(3):228-235.

2.     Davis GA, Ellenbogen RG, Bailes J, Cantu RC, Johnston KM, Manley GT, Nagahiro S, Sills A, Tator CH, McCrory P. The Berlin International Consensus Meeting on Concussion in Sport. Neurosurgery. 2018 Feb 1;82(2):232-236. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyx344. PMID: 29106653.