How to Check Yourself for a Concussion


A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can occur due to a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head and body. It is important to recognize the symptoms of a concussion and seek medical attention if you suspect you may have one. In this article, we will discuss various methods to check yourself for a concussion.

1. Understanding Concussions

Before we dive into the methods of self-assessment, it’s crucial to understand the basics of concussions. A concussion is a temporary disturbance in brain function caused by a head injury. It can affect memory, coordination, balance, and overall cognitive abilities.

1.1 Causes of Concussions

Concussions can result from various causes, including:

  • Direct impact to the head from a fall, collision, or assault
  • Whiplash injuries from sudden, forceful movements
  • Blast injuries in military or explosive incidents

1.2 Common Symptoms of Concussions

The following symptoms may indicate a possible concussion:

  • Headache or pressure in the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Memory problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Mood changes or irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating

2. Self-Assessment Techniques

While it is always recommended to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis, you can perform some self-assessment techniques to evaluate your condition.

2.1 The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS)

The GCS is a widely used method to assess the severity of a brain injury. It evaluates three main areas: eye-opening response, verbal response, and motor response. Each area is assigned a score ranging from 1 to 4 or 6, depending on the specific criteria. The total score indicates the level of consciousness and potential brain injury.

Here is a breakdown of the GCS criteria:

Criteria Score
Eye-Opening Response
  • No response
  • Opens eyes to pain stimuli
  • Opens eyes to verbal command
  • Opens eyes spontaneously
Verbal Response
  • No response
  • Incomprehensible sounds
  • Inappropriate words
  • Oriented and converses normally
Motor Response
  • No response
  • Extension to pain
  • Flexion to pain
  • Withdrawal from pain
  • Localizes pain
  • Obeys commands

2.2 Memory and Cognitive Tests

Concussions can impact memory and cognitive function. You can test yourself using the following techniques:

  • Recall a list of words or numbers after a few minutes
  • Complete simple puzzles or math problems
  • Follow a set of instructions or directions

If you experience difficulties with memory, concentration, or problem-solving, it is advisable to seek professional evaluation.

2.3 Balance and Coordination Assessment

A concussion can affect your balance and coordination. Try these simple tests:

  • Stand on one leg for 30 seconds without losing balance
  • Walk in a straight line, heel-to-toe, for a short distance
  • Toss and catch a small object while maintaining stability

If you struggle with these tasks or experience dizziness, it is recommended to consult a healthcare provider.

3. When to Seek Medical Attention

While self-assessment techniques can provide some insight, it is essential to seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Loss of consciousness, even briefly
  • Severe or worsening headache
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Suspected neck or spine injury
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Weakness or numbness in limbs
  • Unusual behavior or confusion
  • Persistent or worsening symptoms

Always prioritize your health and well-being by consulting a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and proper treatment.

4. Prevention Is Key

While it is not always possible to prevent all concussions, you can take certain precautions to reduce the risk:

  • Wear appropriate protective gear during sports and recreational activities
  • Ensure a safe environment to minimize falls and accidents
  • Follow proper safety guidelines when operating vehicles or machinery
  • Report any concerns or symptoms to a healthcare professional promptly

Remember, early detection and intervention are crucial in managing and recovering from concussions.

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