Are you Familiar with the Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome

November 12, 2012

Are you Familiar with the Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome

Before you have symptoms of a post-concussion syndrome you have to experience a concussion. Basically, a concussion is where you have had some brain injury which usually involves some rapid motion to your head or some blow. With either rapid motion or blow, this causes your brain to press on your skull slightly compressing it. Your brain is floating in water and can easily slosh back an forth with sudden movements. This sudden compression can disrupt neuronal connections and cause them to stop or fire abnormally at that time. This is known as a concussion. This generates symptoms of headache, neck stiffness, mental confusion and possible loss of memory of the event that happened. Sometimes nausea and vomiting may occur. This usually clears up quickly and no medical intervention is required if the injury is minor.

Post-concussion syndrome is a product of concussion. The symptoms of post-concussion syndrome can involve physical, psychological and cognitive problems. Physical symptoms manifest themselves as headaches, dizziness and nausea and sensory changes. Sensory changes involve blurry vision, hearing loss or ringing in the ear, changes in smell and/or taste. Psychological symptoms may present themselves as personality changes with inappropriate behaviors, depression, anxiety and fatigue. Cognitive symptoms include slowed reaction times, lack of focus, forgetfulness and inability to problem solve. Post-concussion syndrome symptoms vary depending on the severity so not all symptoms may be present. Generally, post-concussion syndrome lasts for a few weeks but if your brain injury is serious may last a life time.

Post-concussion syndrome is not well understood at this time and varies dramatically for each individual. All you can do is wait and go forward. Many people don’t go to the hospital or doctor after a concussion has happened sometimes because they don’t know that it has occurred. It’s not till later when they are experiencing problems do they seek medical attention. By that time, it is a little difficult to assess. Head trauma should be scanned within 72 hours of occurrence and a proper neurological exam be given. At this time a CT scan is usually done. Later they can do a MRI scan. A neurological exam should be given as well. This is a simple test that physically checks for muscle strength and coordination, all reflexes, pupil dilation, hearing responses and skin sensations. It is important to follow up a week or so later to make sure you are alright. Sometimes it takes time for deficits to show up. Bear in mind that brain trauma can be progressive so it is possible for things to get worse with time. For that reason, follow up is paramount.

There is no real treatment for post-concussion syndrome however, there are some things you should know to keep you on track. Perhaps it’s common sense, but take it easy, Rest is good initially, You might want to take a few days off from work until you get back in the swing of things. Quite often sleep becomes an issue either due to emotion trauma or pain. Your doctor can help you with this by providing a sleep aid of some type whether over the counter or prescription. The same goes with any depression or headaches you might be experiencing.

To prevent post-concussion syndrome ultimately depends on having a concussion. To try to ward off concussions make sure to wear seat belts, helmets when biking and be careful when climbing ladders. Head injuries should be avoided at all costs.

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