Post-concussion Syndrome

November 12, 2012

Post-concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome is a group of symptoms which can develop in people who have suffered from concussion. The symptoms of this syndrome may include problems with concentration and memory, dizziness and headache. The symptoms normally disappear in approximately 3 months. No treatment is available which can cure this syndrome the aim is to relieve the symptoms.

Concussion

Concussion is caused by an injury to the brain which can occur after an injury to the head. The brain moves a little in the skull. And this causes the electrical activity in some of the brain cells to briefly stop working as they should. This interference leads to concussion symptoms. Some doctors categorize concussion as a minor injury to the brain.

Classic symptoms of concussion are confusion, headaches and memory loss at the time of the injury to the head. Loss of consciousness, disturbed vision and vomiting are other symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

  • The main symptom of this syndrome is a headache followed by dizziness and vertigo

  • Intolerance to noise and light

  • Tinnitus and loss of hearing

  • Nausea

  • Blurred or double vision

  • Sense of taste and smell reduced

Psychological Symptoms

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Depression

  • Disturbed sleep pattern

  • Tiredness

  • Changes in appetite

  • Very low sex drive

  • Changes in appetite

  • Changes in personality such as improper behavior, sexually or socially

  • Low energy

  • No interest in taking part in everyday hobbies or work

  • Sudden episodes of emotions varying from laughing to crying

  • Forgetfulness

  • Lack of concentration and attention

  • Difficulties dealing with information and problem solving

  • Slow reactions

  • Problems and difficulties learning new tasks

The symptoms of post-concussion syndrome normally last for a couple of weeks and not everyone will experience all of the above symptoms listed above. Some people may suffer the symptoms for longer, perhaps 3 to 6 months and in very rare cases for a year.

The number of people who develop this syndrome is not known as many people do not visit the doctor after they have suffered a minor injury to the head. Women tend to suffer from this syndrome compared to men.

Causes

There are many theories on why certain people develop this syndrome. One of which is due to small areas of damage or bruising to nerve cells within the brain because of an injury to the head.

Making a Diagnosis

The doctor will diagnose post-concussion syndrome based on the symptoms you have. A physical examination may also be carried out. An examination of the nervous system will be carried out by testing the muscle reflexes, co-ordination, muscle strength in legs and arms. Tests of memory may be carried out. The doctor may organize a brain scan, e.g. MRI or CT scan to rule out any other injuries.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for this syndrome at present. But for the majority of people who are given and explanation and diagnosis they say this is beneficial.

Useful Information

Get the correct medication if you are suffering from headaches, depression and nausea. Take time to return to your normal activities. If you have difficulty sleeping but feel extremely tired try to keep a regular bedtime schedule. Try to keep the levels of stress to a minimum and steer clear of alcohol.

Post-concussion Syndrome Prevention

To reduce or prevent a head injury which can lead to post-concussion syndrome, wear a helmet while cycling, skiing and other high velocity sports. If your symptoms are taking longer than three months to clear, your doctor may organize an appointment with a specialist. It may a neuropsychologist whose specialty is mental health issues or a neurologist whose specialty is nervous system issues.

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