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Diseases & Conditions
How can I tell if I have a concussion?
Toni Golen, MD,
Contributor; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing, and
- Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch
Ask the doctors
Q. I tripped over the vacuum cord the other day and whacked my head on the banister. I seem okay now, but how would I know if I got a concussion?
A. Ouch! Few of us haven’t hit our heads in a similar way at some point. But a blow like that only sometimes results in a concussion, which is when the brain bumps around or twists in the skull and damages brain cells.
After a bump on the head, it’s wise to look for concussion signs such as headache, sensitivity to light, eye pain or fatigue, neck pain or stiffness, imbalance, impaired depth perception, difficulty remembering things, or changes in sleep patterns.
Get checked out if you’re experiencing these symptoms or if you simply have the sense that you’re not okay. Your doctor will complete a concussion assessment that may include a balance test, memory and speech evaluation, and a visual test. Seeing your doctor early will give her the ability to tailor a treatment plan to your symptoms if you are diagnosed with a concussion.
— Toni Golen, M.D., and Hope Ricciotti, M.D.
Editors in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch
Image: © Pornpak Khunatorn/Getty Images
About the Authors
Toni Golen, MD,
Contributor; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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