Having persistent post-concussive symptoms is what has become known as the condition post-concussion syndrome (PCS). It’s what happens when victims continue to have concussion symptoms extending the average recovery period beyond a couple of months.
These injuries can happen from a wide range of actions such as playing contact sports or your head being knocked against a hard object when you’ve been in a car accident. Taking such a hit to the head can cause a range of problems that are all potential signs of traumatic brain injury (TBI). PCS is just one of those conditions that may point in that direction.
What causes post-concussion syndrome?
The belief in what causes PCS differs a bit from being a potential link to psychological trauma to being actual structural damage to the brain, or to the signal that sends messages between the nerves and brain. The interruption of this signal is considered to be an underlying issue that causes PCS. More than likely, what victims of PCS experience is a combination of these conditions.
What are the signs of post-concussion syndrome?
PCS is not an automatic diagnosis for all TBI victims, although there are certainly an array of factors that increase the chances of the injury forming. Some people are absolutely at increased risk for experiencing PCS, including anyone who has:
- A history of concussion or prolonged recovery from a prior injury
- A history of a mood, anxiety, learning, or seizure disorder
- Had migraine headaches in the past
- Endured a severe or double impact, such as with a car accident or team contact sport
- Had major visual symptoms soon after a TBI
Additionally, other factors can heighten the likelihood of a PCS diagnosis such as increased age and being female, which is why seniors who are unsteady on their feet may be at greater risk. Living in nursing homes or other care facilities that don’t take proper precautions to safeguard residents can result in falls and hits to the head causing PCS.
Currently, there are four general categories of PCS symptoms, which include cognitive, sensory, mood, or blood dysregulation. It isn’t required that you experience symptoms from every category to suffer from PCS. In fact, it’s quite possible to have a few mild symptoms and still have the syndrome. The key is prolonged recovery, which differs by the individual.
Symptoms to be aware of include:
- Difficulty focusing, finding things, or reading
- Being easily distracted
- Confusion or memory problems
- Feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or irritable
- Feeling lethargic or lacking motivation
- Blurred vision/eye fatigue, motion sickness, changes in taste or smell, or tinnitus
- Headache/pressure, fatigue, dizziness, light and noise sensitivity
- Trouble sleeping
- Chronic neck pain
How is post-concussion syndrome diagnosed?
Because there isn’t one particular test that can determine whether you have PCS, a totality of the factors has to be taken into consideration when diagnosing this syndrome.
The symptoms you report, the activity or accident that caused your head injury, and any other risk factor categories you fall into are all viewed as part of a whole picture along with viewing your brain through either a computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These imaging procedures can pick up anomalies in your brain that help back up the rest of what has been observed or experienced.
In addition to your general practitioner, you may need to be assessed by other doctors who can help piece together your symptoms. Other medical professionals you may be treated by include:
- An ear, nose and throat doctor
- A psychologist or licensed counselor
- A neurologist
How is post-concussion syndrome treated?
For some PCS patients, it may only take the patience that gives your brain the time and opportunity to rest and repair itself. For others, the interference with daily activities may linger and become too much to continue trying to handle on your own. Seeking out treatment may be the best option for you to feel like you’re able to function and become productive again.
In addition to traditional medications for certain symptoms, there are treatments available to you such as:
- Vision therapy, which helps to relieve symptoms like headaches and dizziness that can generate from eye movement.
- Neuro-optometric rehabilitation uses a sequence of visual tools that help stimulate normal brain function.
- Vestibular therapy uses certain exercises to help retrain your balance to prevent dizziness or vertigo.
- Physical therapy sessions can be used to treat headaches accompanying other injuries, which are improved through stretching, massage or heat treatment.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy may help resolve mood disorders.
Having long-term symptoms that affect your everyday life after a traumatic brain injury can feel crippling. Your routine can grind to a halt leaving you feeling lost and hopeless. The caring attorneys at Yeboah Law Group, P.A. understand that getting better is going to take time and financial resources that you may only receive through a personal injury settlement.
Let us help you get back to enjoying life. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 954-764-2338, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact form. Proudly serving clients in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and throughout South Florida.