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Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) occurs when the symptoms of concussion persist for a period of three months or longer. Although most athletes recover from concussion within ten to fourteen days, approximately 10% of those injured experience long term symptoms of concussions that can be debilitating and even dangerous.

Risk factors associated with Post-Concussion Syndrome include:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions such as depression, mood disorders and learning disorders.
  • Changes to brain function and/or cerebral blood flow post concussion.
  • Work or school related stress.
  • Children, who are not given sufficient time to rest, sleep and recover after a head injury, have a propensity to develop Post-Concussion Syndrome.

Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome

The symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome are difficult to diagnose as they are often associated with other medical problems such as migraine headaches, clinical depression and insomnia.

Although the initial indicators of Post-Concussion Syndrome are physical in nature, they are inclined to become more psychological the longer the syndrome persists. Common signs of Post-Concussion Syndrome are:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Amnesia
  • Lack of concentration
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Poor judgement
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Tinnitus or ringing of the ears
  • Sleep disorders
  • Vomiting
  • Double vision

Long term effects of Post-Concussion Syndrome include:

  • High levels of physical, emotional and cognitive stress.
  • The inability to interact on a social level.
  • Difficulty in participating in extracurricular activities.
  • Problems with attending work or school and completing any academic exercises.

Treatment

There is no single medical treatment for Post-Concussion Syndrome. An integrated management program that includes physical and cognitive rest, patient education, the medicinal treatment of individual symptoms and psychotherapy is usually the best option. Social support is invaluable as recovery can be prolonged. Patience is necessary and time expectations should be minimised.

Contact a qualified medical doctor now for more information.

Last updated 24 October 2013