What is Post Concussion Syndrome?

Posted on October 30, 2023

The brain is responsible for the function and regulation of the entire body. It’s also made up of delicate tissue that does not regenerate after damage. Despite the cushioning layer of fluid and bony protection of the skull, the brain is subject to injury trauma from a blow, a bump on the outside of the head, or a sudden jolt that causes the brain to bump against the inside surface of the skull. When the brain sustains an injury, the repercussions are serious. The most common traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a concussion.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that causes a temporary change in brain function. It may cause the following symptoms:

  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Headache and pain
  • Dizziness
  • Vision changes
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Mood changes

Concussions happen to people of all ages, but they’re especially common in athletes and those in youth sports. Most concussions are a mild form of brain injury with symptoms that resolve within a few days. But what happens when the symptoms linger rather than dissipate within a week? If a head injury victim’s concussion symptoms last longer than expected, a doctor may diagnose them with post-concussion syndrome (PCS).

Diagnosing Post Concussion Syndrome

Doctors diagnose most cases of post-concussion syndrome when an injury victim who recently sustained a concussion continues to experience symptoms longer than expected for the severity of the injury. In some cases, the injury victim may not develop symptoms until a week or more after the head injury and may not realize that they suffered a concussion until the delayed symptoms of PCS appear. In addition to the above symptoms of concussion, post-concussion syndrome could also include:

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sensitivity to light and noise

Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome vary depending on the individual. If a concussion patient experiences prolonged symptoms of a concussion, the doctor may order an MRI or other imaging tests to rule out other sources of trauma or abnormalities before diagnosing PCS.

Causes of Post-Concussion Syndrome

While the causes of concussions are well understood, researchers haven’t determined why some individuals experience PCS while others don’t. No link between the severity of the concussion and the risk of developing PCS has been identified. People over age 40 are more likely to develop PCS after a head injury. Some research indicates those with a history of prior concussions and other forms of traumatic brain injury may be more prone to experiencing PCS.

There is also some evidence suggesting that those with pre-existing mental health conditions like anxiety and depression have a greater risk of post-concussion syndrome.

Post-Concussion Syndrome Treatment

Because PCS is poorly understood, there is no specific treatment for the condition. Instead, doctors treat each sufferer’s symptoms individually with medications and therapy, sometimes including anti-depression and anti-anxiety medications. Minimizing stress and getting plenty of rest is beneficial for those with post-concussion syndrome. Most PCS sufferers recover fully within three months, but some continue to experience symptoms for up to a year after the initial injury. If you have suffered from post-concussion syndrome due to the negligence of another, get in touch with a Salt Lake City brain injury attorney today.