Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries and require prompt attention to ensure proper recovery.

Physical therapist Mackenzie Gerau works with a patient who is recovering from a concussion.
Physical therapist Mackenzie Gerau works with a patient who is recovering from a concussion.

 

At University of Missouri Health Care, we have a team of caring, experienced professionals who can ensure your concussion is properly evaluated and treated to avoid potential long-term effects of a head injury.

Any shock or blow to the head could cause a concussion. The injury can range from mild to severe and be caused by events such as an accident or assault, a fall or sports contact. A severe head injury that permanently damages the brain is called a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Some concussion symptoms might appear right away, while others might not be noticed for days or weeks after the injury. If not treated properly — and promptly — concussions can lead to long-term problems that can significantly impact your life.

Symptoms of concussion

When someone experiences a blow to the head, concussion symptoms might include:

  • Abnormal behavior
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fogginess
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Unsteadiness
  • Unusual sleeping patterns

If you experience any of these symptoms following a head injury, see your doctor immediately. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms — such as unconsciousness, vomiting, unresponsiveness, loss of vision or slurred speech – go to the Emergency Department.

Concussion treatment

The key to properly treating concussion is early diagnosis and intervention. If you or a loved one might have suffered a concussion, it’s important to be evaluated by a health care provider as soon as possible — even if you do not think you have symptoms.

The ideal treatment begins with an evaluation by a doctor within a day of the injury. This is designed to ensure that you get the care you need to avoid long-term consequences. Your provider will evaluate your vision, hearing, strength and balance, coordination and reflexes. If any of these areas requires attention, you will be referred to the proper therapist or specialist for further treatment.

Concussion recovery

Generally, for mild concussion, the prescription for the first day after injury are rest for body and mind. You should not watch TV, read, interact in social situations or do any other activity that requires concentration and focus or makes your symptoms worse.

After that, you can begin moving in short bursts. The key is to take it slowly and monitor for symptoms and side effects. Our concussion treatment team can help guide you through the recovery process.

Concussion treatment team

At MU Health Care, we have a team that includes providers from several areas that are focused on helping you return to daily activities as soon — and as safely — as possible.

Our health care professionals are experts in three key areas of concussion care:

  • Mizzou Therapy Services. This includes occupational, physical and speech therapists.
  • Neuropsychology. Our neuropsychologists can help adults and children understand and manage how your concussion affects their behavior. Learn more.
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation. This includes outpatient medical treatment and management of concussion recovery.
  • Sports medicine. These physicians often provide early assessment and diagnosis of concussions suffered during sports.