Family Medicine North  


A concussion is injury to the tissue or blood vessels of the brain. It is also called a closed head injury or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). A concussion is usually caused by a bump or blow to the head from a fall, a motor vehicle crash, or a sports injury. Sometimes being forcefully shaken may cause a concussion. A concussion changes how the brain works and should be taken seriously. ‎



  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines decrease pain. They are available without a doctor's order. Ask your primary healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow your primary healthcare provider's directions. These medicines can cause stomach bleeding if not taken correctly. Ibuprofen can cause kidney damage. Do not take ibuprofen if you have kidney disease, an ulcer, or allergies to aspirin. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage. Do not drink alcohol if you take acetaminophen.‎
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.‎

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed: Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits. ‎


  • Have someone wake you regularly during the night: Ask if someone should wake you at night after your concussion. Ask how often to do this. It is not dangerous to sleep, you may need to be woken to see if you are thinking clearly. This person should ask you questions such as your name or address.‎
  • Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the ice pack with a towel and place it on your head for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for up to 2 days after your injury.‎
  • Rest: Rest in bed or do quiet activities for 24 hours after your concussion. You may return to normal activities after your symptoms go away.‎
  • Activities: Ask your primary healthcare provider when you can return to work or sports. You should not return to sports until you no longer have symptoms from your concussion. ‎

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have nausea or vomiting.‎
  • You feel more sleepy than usual.‎
  • Your symptoms get worse.‎
  • You have arm or leg weakness, numbness, or new problems with coordination.‎
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.‎

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a severe headache.‎
  • You vomit multiple times‎
  • Someone tries to wake you and cannot do so.‎
  • You have a seizure, increasing confusion, or a change in personality.‎
  • Your speech becomes slurred, or you have new vision problems.‎
  • You have arm or leg weakness, numbness, or new problems with coordination.‎
  • You have blood or clear fluid coming out of the ears or nose.‎