CareNow® - October 06, 2022

Can Urgent Care treat concussions?

With football under so much scrutiny in recent years, the topic of concussions has been in the conversation much more often than usual. Football players from tackle youth leagues to the National Football League take blows to the head that can often result in a traumatic brain injury known as a concussion.

But football players aren’t the only ones at risk of this injury. Anyone who takes a bump or violent jolt to the head can experience a concussion, including infants. In most cases, a concussion is mild and not life-threatening; however, the effects of a concussion can be serious, especially when left untreated.

What is a concussion?

In most cases, a concussion is caused by a blow to the head. It’s also possible to be concussed after experiencing violent shaking or jolting of the head and upper body, for instance, if your body has taken a hit that causes your head to jerk back or to the side.

When a concussion occurs, the nerves and blood vessels in your head become stretched and bruised, which causes a chemical change in your brain. This can keep your brain from functioning properly for a short time.

While a single concussion is typically not going to cause any permanent damage to your brain, experiencing multiple concussions throughout your life can alter the structure of your brain.

How do I know if I have a concussion?

After a hard hit to the head, it can be difficult to know if you’ve experienced a concussion or not. Many people believe you have to lose consciousness to have a concussion; however, this isn’t the case.

In fact, the signs of a concussion may not appear right away. Some people don’t notice them for hours or even days after the incident. If you think you might have a concussion, you should check for symptoms immediately after your injury and then again a few days later.

The physical symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Severe headache
  • Ringing in the ears

Mental symptoms are just as likely to occur with a concussion and may include:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Trouble remembering the injury
  • Forgetfulness in general
  • Changes in sleep patterns

Amnesia of the specific events of the injury is an indicator of a more severe injury, so be sure to communicate this symptom to your provider.

How to tell if my child has a concussion

Whether it’s a bad spill on their bicycle or a fall from a swing, young children are highly susceptible to bumping their heads. It can be difficult to identify a concussion in a young child, though, as they’re not as likely to describe how they’re feeling.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can watch for if your child has experienced head trauma, including:

  • Excessive crying
  • Vomiting
  • A dazed appearance
  • Tiring easily
  • Disinterest in their favorite toys
  • Crankiness
  • Seizures
  • Unsteadiness when walking

ER or Urgent Care for concussion

In most cases, urgent care is an excellent solution if you think you might have experienced a concussion. Qualified providers can evaluate you and offer a proper diagnosis. They will also get you on a treatment plan to help you recover as quickly as possible (although with concussions, time and rest are two of the best ways to recover).

However, if you or someone you know has experienced a head injury and has any of the following symptoms, emergency medical care is needed:

  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • A severe headache that worsens
  • Fluid or blood coming from the nose or years
  • Ringing in the ears that doesn’t leave
  • Weakness in the arms or legs

See a full list of emergency-type symptoms .

If your symptoms aren’t severe enough for an ER visit, visit your local CareNow® for a full physical exam. Our qualified providers will give you or your child a diagnosis and treatment plan so you can get back to your life. We also offer sports physicals to help your child have a safe and healthy season.

Can Urgent Care check for concussion?

An urgent care is a great place to seek care if you believe you may have a concussion. A provider can give you a proper diagnosis and let you know how severe your concussion may be.

When examining you for a possible concussion, a provider will need to know more about how the injury occurred as well as the severity of the injury. 

They will also ask about your symptoms and perform a neurological exam where they’ll check your vision and eye movement, hearing, balance and coordination, neurological function, and reaction to light. You may be asked to take a verbal, writing, or computerized test to check your problem-solving skills and your thinking ability.

Schedule a visit at your local CareNow® urgent care by visiting our website.

Learn More About Urgent Care Services

What Does Urgent Care Do for Concussions?

One of the most important aspects of concussion care is not returning to routine activity too soon as the threshold for re-injury or worsening is elevated until the initial injury has resolved.

During your medical exam, a provider will give you instructions on how you can practice relative rest, which includes minimizing the amount of thinking and mental concentration you do. Activities like playing video games, watching television, reading, and texting may trigger symptoms.

Physical activities like sports or general exercise must also be avoided until they no longer provoke any of your concussion symptoms. 

There are specific medications and physical therapies for specific concussions. Talk to a provider about the right treatment for you. This will depend on the severity of your injury and your symptoms.

If you believe you have suffered a concussion and need a proper diagnosis, consider visiting your local CareNow® clinic. With more than 175 locations throughout the country, we’ve got a location near you.

We’re also thrilled to share that we’ve earned the distinction of Accredited Urgent Care Center from our industry’s association, Urgent Care Association (UCA).

To make your appointment, visit our website. Don’t forget to take advantage of our Web Check-In® feature too!

Find a CareNow® Near You