Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

Symptoms of a concussion vary, depending on both the severity of the injury and the person injured. It’s not true that a loss of consciousness always occurs with a concussion. Some people do experience a loss of consciousness, but others don’t. You can even get concussion if you fall heavily on your tailbone.
It’s important to understand the symptoms for either yourself or someone else.
Remember you can’t see a concussion.

Symptoms you may experience

The physical symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Drowsiness or feeling sluggish
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • A headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Balance problems
  • Slowed reaction to stimuli


Cognitive symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering new information

      Emotional symptoms of a concussion include:

      • Irritability
      • Sadness
      • Erratic emotions
      • Nervousness or anxiety
      • Sleeping more or less than usual, or trouble falling asleep


      The symptoms may begin immediately, or they may not develop for hours, days, weeks, or even months following your injury.

      During the recovery period after a concussion, you may experience any or all of the symptoms listed above.

      Signs of Concussion in a Loved One

      In some cases, a friend or loved one might have had a concussion.  They may not know it. The following are some of the signs to look out for:

      • Irritability
      • Balance issues
      • Loss of coordination
      • Problems walking
      • Seizures
      • Draining of blood or clear fluid from the ears or nose
      • Unequal pupil size
      • Abnormal eye movement
      • Lasting confusion
      • Slurred speech
      • Repeated vomiting
      • Brief loss of consciousness after the injury
      • An inability to wake up (also called a coma)


      If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms after an injury, seek immediate emergency medical treatment or call 111.

      Concussion Symptoms in Babies

      Concussion symptoms can vary in babies. These may not be as noticeable at first, since babies don’t exhibit slurred speech, walking difficulties, or other hallmark symptoms that can be exhibited by children and adults.

      Rarely, concussions can cause permanent brain damage.  Concussions can be from brain shaking, falls out of high chairs and far more.   While most babies recover from concussions, it’s important to have them checked out by a doctor immediately.

      All concussions are serious injuries as they are direct impacts to the brain. We strongly recommend you consult with a medical professional such as a doctor for a correct diagnosis.

      Following a concussion, one may feel or demonstrate a variety of cognitive, physical, emotional, and/or sleep issues.

      This simple matrix chart helps you understand more about the symptoms of concussion





      In a “fog”; can’t think clearly



      Sleeping more

      Can’t follow conversations

      Post-traumatic amnesia
      (can’t recall injury)

      Easily irritated

      Trouble falling asleep

      Trouble with attention/concentration



      Not sleeping soundly

      Difficulty learning new information


      More emotional than usual

      Sleep cycle disturbed

      Word finding problems

      Sensitivity to light/sound

      Changes in personality

      Not feeling rested after sleep

      Slowed reaction times


      More impulsive

       A person’s history can be a major factor in understanding how a concussion might impact them.

      Critical influences which need to be gleaned from a personal history and considered when working on someone with a concussion include: 

      • traumatic birth (such as suction/ forceps, near death)
      • past concussions or serious head knocks, other accidents
      • falls onto the back or tailbone
      • whiplash
      • orthodontic work
      • tricky wisdom teeth removal, root canals or other major dental work
      • illnesses such as food- poisoning, pneumonia, hepatitis or bladder infections.


      The cranial bones, membranes, organs and other tissue jam up, twist, torque, shear and try to accommodate the above factors.  All these incrementally add up and so the impact of any concussion is different for every person.

      To aid your recovery, studies have shown that exercise each day is an absolute must. (Under your threshold). Walking is recommended.

      Studies have also shown that returning too early to work, school or sport can prolong your recovery time by months. It is critical to work under your threshold and ‘don’t push through. Listening to your body and knowing your limitations when recovering from a concussion is fundamental in your rehabilitation.

      “After two treatments with Gill I noticed an immediate change”….. Marg Johnston