Concussion Specialist

St Michael's Neurology and Pain Medicine

Miguel Pappolla, MD, PhD

Neurology & Pain Medicine located in the Texas Medical Center, Houston, TX

Concussions are sometimes described as “mild” brain injuries because they’re not usually life-threatening, but still considered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). At St Michael's Neurology and Pain Medicine in Houston, Texas, Miguel Pappolla, MD, and the neurology team offer expert diagnosis and treatment of concussions and post-concussion syndrome using state-of-the-art technologies and therapies. To get started, call today or book an appointment online.

Concussion Q & A

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by sudden movement — often due to a sports injury, fall, blast injuries during military service, or car accident. However, even mild brain injuries can have long-term effects. This sudden movement causes the brain to bounce around in the skull, which creates chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretches and damages brain cells.

Concussions can happen with or without losing consciousness. Some people recover within a few hours, and for others, it takes a few weeks. In rare cases, concussions can cause long-lasting problems with movement, learning, or speaking.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

It’s not always easy to tell if you have a concussion. Symptoms may be subtle, and they may not show up right away, sometimes not appearing until days or weeks after the injury. The most common symptoms of a concussion are headaches, confusion, and memory loss (usually forgetting the injury or event that caused the concussion).

In rare cases, concussions can cause a blood clot to form that crowds the brain against the skull. This can be serious, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests seeking immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • A headache that gets worse and doesn’t go away
  • Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech

What is post-concussion syndrome?

Post-concussion syndrome is when you don’t function as well after a concussion as you did before the concussion. New symptoms may develop, or you might continue to be bothered by symptoms from the injury after weeks or months.

These longer-term symptoms might include:

  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, or remembering
  • Headaches or blurry vision
  • Unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Changes in your personality such as becoming angry or anxious
  • Dizziness or unsteadiness that makes standing or walking difficult

How do you treat concussions and post-concussion syndrome?

For most concussions, Dr. Pappolla at St Michael's Neurology and Pain Medicine recommends rest, both physical and mental, to allow your brain to recover. You may need to take time off from sports or from activities that take a lot of concentration like schoolwork or using a computer.

For prolonged symptoms or post-concussion syndrome, the expert staff at St Michael's Neurology and Pain Medicine may recommend using cognitive therapy. This can help rehabilitate the brain in the damaged areas. If you need treatment for a recent concussion or suspect you have post-concussion syndrome, book an appointment online or call the office today.