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At WakeMed, we believe that concussion is a treatable injury. Through our caring and comprehensive approach, we help children and adults return to the activities they love as quickly and safely as possible.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to concussion management. Our team of experts evaluate, manage, and provide individualized treatment. We use the most recent scientific assessment and evaluation tools to provide dynamic and personalized care targeted to your goals and needs.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury and must be treated carefully. It is usually caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, neck, or body, which causes the brain to move around inside the skull. This causes a temporary change in the brain’s functioning and can lead to a variety of symptoms. It is important to remember you don’t have to lose consciousness or even be hit in the head to suffer a concussion.

What Are Common Symptoms of Concussion?

Recent research has taught us that there are different “types” of concussions. Although no two concussions are alike, many common symptoms include:

Physical symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
  • Vision problems    

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Feeling “foggy”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Feeling slowed down

Sleep symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Fatigue

Mood symptoms:

  • Sadness or depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness

Severe symptoms:

In some rare instances, an injury that caused a concussion can result in bleeding that can be very dangerous. If you notice any of the following symptoms, please call 911 and go to the nearest Emergency Department right away:

  • Seizure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weakness or numbness in extremities
  • Less responsive than usual
  • Persistent or worsening headache
  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Very drowsy, or cannot be awakened
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Increasing confusion or irritability
  • Not recognizing familiar people or places 

How Are Concussions Treated?

The days of sitting in a dark room are long gone —  and may have even done more harm than good. Today, we take a very active approach to recovery.

The length that symptoms last can be different for everyone because it depends not only on the injury itself, but also on a person’s risk factors as well as the approach to recovery.

The good news is that with the right treatment by providers specifically trained in concussion management, most people can make a very good recovery. While we like to see patients soon after injury, we are also trained to treat those with long-standing symptoms as well.

How Can I Help My Recovery?

Recent research has taught us that the best approach to recovery is a balance between rest and activity. The CDC recommends that at most after 2-3 days of rest, it is important to resume non-risk routine activities.

To help with your recovery, maintain a very regulated lifestyle, including a set bedtime, daily routine, healthy food choices, continual hydration, and careful stress management.

Recovery is different for every person. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may benefit from follow-up with one of our specialty providers:

  • Balance or walking difficulties: Your physician may need to refer you to a physical therapist for evaluation. Once you have consulted with your physician and have a prescription for the services, call WakeMed Outpatient Rehab at 919-350-7422 for a physical therapy evaluation.  
  • Cognitive difficulties (change in memory or thinking skills) that persist at the time of your follow up visit with outpatient medical provider:  You may need to be tested to better understand these changes and for help returning to work/school responsibilities. First ask your physician about a referral for a neuropsychological evaluation and then call WakeMed Neuropsychology at 919-350-7878.

Most importantly, stay positive. Most people who have experienced concussion make a very good recovery in a short period of time.

Where Can I Learn More About Concussions?

For more information and resources on concussion visit: