Concussion Services

Refer a Patient


919-350-6782

Common Symptoms of Concussion

Physical: Headache, Dizziness, Nausea/Vomiting, Light sensitivity/ Sound sensitivity 

Cognitive: Feeling “foggy,” Difficulty concentrating, Memory problems, Cognitive Fatigue

Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep, Difficulty staying asleep, Fatigue, Tinnitus (ringing in ears)  

Mood: Sadness/Depression, Anxiety, Irritability, Vision problems   


What is a concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury and must be treated carefully. Concussions occur when the brain moves around inside the skull. When a concussion occurs, the chemicals in the brain are impacted, leading to an ‘energy crisis’. When the brain isn’t getting enough energy, it attempts to compensate by “pulling” energy from other places. The location of these places often dictates what symptoms you may have.

How is concussion treated?

There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach for treating concussion. In fact, because every person and every injury is different, no two concussions are the same. The Concussion experts at WakeMed Rehab utilize the most recent research on evaluation and management of concussions, and will develop a personalized treatment plan that is right for you.

After a head injury, you should make an appointment with your physician. If he or she suspects a concussion, you may be referred to WakeMed for further management. Our team includes neuropsychologists and physical therapists all trained in concussion management. Once you have a referral, please call WakeMed  at 919-350-6782 to schedule an appointment.

At WakeMed, our fellowship-trained neuropsychologist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine where your symptoms are coming from, and why you feel the way you do. The evaluation consists of:

  • Clinical Interview:
    • The neuropsychologist will ask a series of questions to better understand not only your injury, but also you as a whole person. By asking specific questions about your symptoms and your medical history, the neuropsychologist will better be able to develop your personalized treatment plan.
  • Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening:
    • The vestibular system helps us move around the world, and helps us see the world moving around us. It is also integral in regulating our ability to balance. Many people experience vestibular dysfunction following concussion. The neuropsychologist is able to perform a brief evaluation to determine if this is occurring for you.
  • Neurocognitive Testing:
    • Neurocognitive testing is a valuable part of a concussion evaluation. Neuropsychologists are uniquely trained to administer and interpret tests examining aspects of your memory, attention, concentration, language, reaction time, and motor skills. Often times after a concussion people experience memory problems or feel “foggy”, and neuropsychological testing can help determine why.

After conducting the evaluation, the neuropsychologist will sit down with you and review the results in detail and develop an individualized treatment plan for you, which will include school/work recommendations and possibly referrals to physical therapy or other providers.

The physical therapists at WakeMed are trained to properly manage dizziness and balance difficulties stemming from concussion, and will help get you back to your normal activities as quickly as possible. The physical therapist will screen for any balance, vision, or motion sensitivity deficits following your concussion and use treatment methods to improve your overall stability and tolerance to daily tasks. Interventions may include:

  • Eye exercises to retrain the brain due to any motion sensitivity or dizziness
  • Balance and strength training
  • Graded and carefully monitored cardiovascular exercise
  • Return to work/return to sport tasks 

The length that symptoms last can be different for everyone, because it depends not only on the injury itself, but also on your personal risk factors as well as your approach to recovery. The good news is that with the right treatment by providers specifically trained in concussion management, most people are able to make a very good recovery.

For more information and resources on concussion, visit the Sports Neuropsychology Society online.