What is Post Concussion Syndrome?

When symptoms of a concussion last longer than the normal expected time of recovery a person may get diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome. Most people recover from a concussion in about two weeks. If symptoms last more than 4-8 weeks it could be Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). PCS usually results from some type of head injury, usually from something mild such as a concussion.  PCS can occur in 10-30% of people recovering from a concussion, depending on the age group.

Cause of Post Concussion Syndrome

As noted above, PCS can occur following a head injury or concussion. The most common situations are physically falling and hitting one’s head, a car accident, physical assault, or a sports-related injury; especially from high-impact sports such as boxing, football, and hockey. At this point, science is not able to determine who will end up with PCS, but there are some factors that will put a person more at risk. Having previous concussions or head injuries puts a person at increased risk. Other risks include being over age 40, being female, and having more severe concussions symptoms like headaches, amnesia, or fogginess.

Symptoms of Post Concussion Syndrome

Many of the symptoms of PCS are somewhat vague and non-specific and diagnosis will usually be made on the persistence of symptoms over time. Physical symptoms include: headaches, dizziness, sleep issues, fatigue, neck pain, and sensitivity to lights and sounds. Cognitive symptoms include distractibility, trouble with focus and concentration, memory troubles, and difficulty with decision making. Psychological symptoms include apathy, depression, anxiety, irritability, and changes in personality.

*It should be noted that post-concussion syndrome is not the same thing as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which has been in the news a lot around football and boxing. Although there are a lot of overlapping symptoms, PCS symptoms show up right away and only last a few months. CTE has symptoms that show up years after exposure to head traumas and is a progressive degenerative brain disease.

Treatment of Post Concussion Syndrome

Most cases of PCS resolve within three months with rest and reducing stress, but symptoms could persist up to a year. There are things that might help speed up the recovery from concussion and PCS. Drinking plenty of fluids and getting a lot of rest can reduce your recovery time. It is also helpful to avoid bright lights, loud noises, and too much time in front of screens. Some research supports increasing the consumption of foods high in protein, Omega 3’s, and antioxidants.

If you are experiencing depression or anxiety following a concussion, you may benefit from meeting with a therapist or psychologist. Feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule a consultation with one of our psychologists or psychiatrists so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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