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Concussion Testing Q & A

What is a Concussion?

Concussions are very nasty injuries that can either have a temporary or long-term negative effect on your life. Concussions are specifically caused when the brain is rocked back and forth or twisted violently inside the skull, usually due to a vicious blow to the head or body. This can cause swelling or bleeding, with symptoms lasting a few days to several months. Some symptoms might also never go away, which can interfere with work, school, and other aspects of daily living.

What are the Symptoms of a Concussion?

Concussions are all different, and the symptoms in one patient may not necessarily show up in another. The following are just some of the most common symptoms of concussions.

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Disorientation and nausea
  • Difficulty remembering memories and information
  • Sensitivity to light and dilated pupils
  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness and other balance problems
  • Increased irritability and anxiety
  • Physical fatigue and general sluggishness or fogginess

How to Test for Concussions

There are many different ways to test for concussions. Most commonly, a provider will conduct post-concussion testing through cognitive and neuropsychological testing. After obtaining these results, a healthcare provider can prescribe a treatment plan moving forward.

What is Post-Concussion Testing?

Following a concussion, a health care professional will administer a series of post-concussion tests to examine the extent of the concussion while observing for additional signs and symptoms of a more severe concussion. Many of these post-concussion tests measure a patient’s cognition to assess their functionality. In other words, the cognitive tests are meant to see if a concussion has impaired how the patient thinks.

What is Neuro-Psychological Testing?

Neuropsychological testing is often specifically used to identify a concussed patient’s cognitive deficits. Popularly used in sports medicine, neuropsychological tests can evaluate a patient’s short-term memory, concentration, attention span, visual-spatial capacity, mental processing speed, and reaction time.

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