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Diagnosed with concussion. Having nausea, headache, forgetfulness and feel thirsty. What can be done?

Apr 2013
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Answered by

General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 9350 Questions
Hi - I have been diagnosed with a concussion (happened Tues - son and I bonked heads I had bloody nose don't remember much of that day (it seems like a strange dream) - I got really tired right away - fell asleep at 6pm -he's ok thank goodness) went to doc Wed and had ct scan yesterday - it's ok but they did say post concussion syndrome / I've been sleeping constantly, no appetite (but have been eating to keep up strength) lots of nausea but no vomiting, headache worse at times, emotional (random feeling sad) and REALLY thirsty / everything feels different and takes longer but I do feel like I have my wits, it's more like I'm watching myself -I'm an analytical person and miss that part of me / I keep forgetting things. How long will this last? When do I go back to doc? They said only if worse but I can't stand this - I feel so distant and am scared but they said this could take a few weeks. I work from home and can't afford to miss work being freelance) / is it normal that I've slept more than awake since this happened and that I'm so thirsty and forgetful? / I'm 46 and blow was to front left including my nose. / do I need an MRI or was cat scan enough?
Posted Sat, 29 Jun 2013 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 1 hour later
Hi and welcome to XXXXXXX

Thank you for your query.

Your symptoms are significant and this indicates that it was serious head trauma. But it is most important that life threatening intracranial bleedings(epidural and subdural hematomas) are ruled out by CT scan. Such hematomas can occur even 12-48 houra after trauma, but since you ve done CT on 2nd day after trauma I think there is no need to be worried about this.

Now, all these symptoms are signs of post concussion syndrome and of course this is the first thing to think of. In this syndrome there is not just physical symptom such as headache, fatigue or ear tingling but also some behavioral, memory, concentration, affect and personality changes are experienced as well as sleep disorders and emotional changes (apathy, anxiety, anger).

CT scan is more than enough for evaluation of any head and brain pathology caused by trauma and MRI wont reveal anything new. The only test that might be helpful is electroencephalography(EEG). But even if something pathological is seen on it, it wont change anything. After head trauma there is only one question: do you need neuro-surgical procedure or not. You obviously don't.

There is no specific treatment but rest and treating symptoms with pain relievers for headaches and medicines to relieve depression, nausea, or dizziness. And there are certain herbal products for memory and concentration.

The prognosis is very good, you just need to be patient. In most patients, symptoms subside in several days and disappear in 1-3 weeks. In minority, some difficulties may persist up to 4-6 months and permanent symptoms are extremely rare.

Wish you good health. If you have any questions I will be glad to help.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Diagnosed with concussion. Having nausea, headache, forgetfulness and feel thirsty. What can be done? 7 hours later
Thank you, your explanation helped relieve some worry.
Even though I still have these symptoms should I try to get out and about or continue as I have? (which is laying in bed mostly sleeping and when I'm awake I do a little work on my computer just to keep up with my job- I don't do a lot because the symptoms get worse so I lay back down and usu fall asleep for hours.
Even watching tV is hard but this is so boring that I turn on a show and just listen (watching and listening together seems to be over stimulating - headache gets worse ringing sounds, and then more nausea).
Even writing these questions is taking forever.
I understand the need to be patient - but I guess I'm asking what can I do in the meantime. An example is I usu go to my sons swim class and its something i really enjoy but I can't even imagine getting thru it with all of the noise and commotion. Do I push through or is it best to do what seems to be pretty much nothing until my symptoms improve?
I feel pretty good physically (not even much of a headache) when I just lay there - it's when I get up that the symptoms get bad - so my dilemma is continue to do nothing and feel decent physically or go out and do things and just deal with the symptoms when they happen)?
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 10 hours later

I understand that this is very bothering, but brain need time to recover just as bones or any other tissue in our body. So,as you need physical rest for bone injuries,you need mental rest for brain injuries.

You should limit mental activities such as reading, working on computer, watching TV etc. Also, try to rest in dark room peaceful room as much as you can, avoid lights, noise and smoky areas.Sleeping is good for your brain,but try to sleep 8-10 hours during the night not in day. Moderate physical activity is useful so you can go swim, walk or exercise a bit or have relaxing baths and massages. It is usually recommended to be off the job for 2 weeks.

You don't have to be so worried. it could have been much worse. Symptoms will subside gradually, there is usually cerebral edema and it takes time to be pulled back. This process cant be facilitated unfortunately,so all you need is bit patience.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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