How Do Doctors Test for Concussions?

How Do Doctors Test for Concussions?

When a concussion is suspected, doctors may recommend and conductseveral tests such neurological exams, cognitive tests and imaging tests to make a proper diagnosis. Concussion is a general term used to refer to traumatic injury to the brain. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website says that this type of brain injury may be incurred during anaccidentalfall, car accident or high-risk sports.

A concussion occurs when an object impacts the head and causes the brain to move and bounce against the containing cranial wall. According to the NIH, this brain movement is called "jarring."The symptoms of concussions are confusion, memory loss, headache, nauseaand time disorientation. The individual may also lose consciousness immediately after the traumatic injury to the brain occurs.

Neurological Evaluation

For this type of test, the doctor may perform a series of tests to examine the patient's vision, sense of balance, hearing, reflexes and coordination. This test may be preceded by a few questions from the doctor regarding the injury.

Cognitive Examination

Since trauma to the brain is known to cause cognitive impairment, doctors may also conduct tests to evaluate the patient's memory, focus and other cognitive functions.

Imaging Tests

For patients who are exhibiting more severe symptoms of concussions, such as seizures orsevere headachesthat are getting worse,the doctor may require imaging tests. These tests include cranial computerized tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).