Concussion Specialist

The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD

Neurosurgeon located in Santa Monica, CA

A concussion is called a mild traumatic brain injury, but it’s not always a “mild” problem; it can lead to ongoing headaches and persistent problems. Anytime you have a head injury, you should see an expert like Brian Gantwerker, MD, for an evaluation. At The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles, he can evaluate your cognitive health and perform diagnostic imaging to be sure you haven’t suffered bleeding or a skull fracture. To schedule an evaluation and receive experienced guidance for post-concussion rehabilitation, call either the Santa Monica, California call us at (310) 694-8300 or email us at

Concussion Q & A

What causes a concussion?

A concussion is a temporary interruption in the normal brain functions, usually caused by trauma.  It can be associated with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).

You can suffer a concussion following a rapid back-and-forth movement of your head, like whiplash, which makes the brain hit the inside of your skull, rebound, and hit the other side.

What symptoms might I develop following a concussion?

Although most people who suffer a concussion don’t lose consciousness, it’s common to experience a short period of amnesia. As a result, you don’t remember what happened right before you sustained the concussion.

Your symptoms may appear immediately, or you may not have symptoms for several hours or days after the concussion.

The core symptoms of a concussion are:

  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion


You may also experience:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Sleeping more than usual or having a hard time sleeping


Your symptoms can persist for weeks or longer, potentially worsening into ongoing problems such as vertigo and chronic headaches.  These can all be part of a phenomenon of prolonged symptoms from a concussion, also known as “post-concussive syndrome.”

When should I seek treatment for a concussion?

Every head injury should be evaluated by a neurosurgeon like Dr. Gantwerker. Even if your injury seemed mild but your symptoms still seem severe, you should still seek medical evaluation to check for bleeding, swelling, and a skull fracture.

How do you diagnose and treat a concussion?

Dr. Gantwerker conducts a neurological exam to check your vision, hearing, balance, reflexes, and strength. You also undergo cognitive testing to assess your memory, concentration, and ability to recall information.

Depending on your symptoms, you may need brain imaging to determine whether any bleeding or swelling is present. Dr. Gantwerker may recommend a functional MRI, which can identify changes in your brain and diagnose complications.

The primary treatment for a concussion is physical and mental rest, which includes avoiding or limiting activities that require thinking and concentration. As your symptoms improve, you can slowly add activities that require thinking. Dr. Gantwerker lets you know when it’s safe to resume light physical activity.  In some cases of protracted symptoms, advanced tests like a functional MRI (“fMRI”) may be needed

If you have signs of a concussion or suffered a head injury, call The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles or book an appointment online.