What Is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

If you’ve had a concussion and your head still hurts or other symptoms continue a few weeks or months after the injury, you could have post-concussion syndrome (PCS). At Acadiana Neurosurgery, we can evaluate your symptoms and help you develop a plan to heal as quickly as possible.   

What is PCS?

Recovery from a typical concussion should only take a week or two. Post-concussion syndrome is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), where some of your concussion symptoms linger for weeks or months, sometimes even longer.

About 10% of people who suffer sports-related concussions and a third of people with non sports-related concussions develop PCS.

Symptoms of PCS   

When you come into Acadiana Neurosurgery, you should always discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor, so we can help you get the treatment you need. Common PCS symptoms include

Researchers are still figuring out what causes PCS

It’s not clear what causes PCS, and it’s still a mystery why some people who suffer concussions develop the condition while others don’t. One possibility is that in some people the impact that caused the concussion also caused some other damage to the brain, and symptoms like depression and insomnia might be caused by the stress of having a serious injury.

A PCS diagnosis is more common in women than in men, possibly because women are more likely to go to the doctor when they don’t feel well.

Age can be a factor, too. Past age 40, people with a concussion are more likely to develop PCS.

Diagnosing PCS

Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific test for PCS. At Acadiana Neurosurgery, we examine you and ask about your symptoms. We may also order imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, to check for bleeding or other brain issues that could be causing your symptoms.  

Treating PCS

There isn’t a treatment for PCS as a condition. Instead, the doctors at Acadiana Neurosurgery treat your specific symptoms. Most people with PCS will recover within a few months to a year. For some, it can take longer. Treating symptoms can help you feel better while you heal.

Your doctor may recommend pain relief for headaches, exercise and psychological counseling for depression and anxiety, and brain training with a specialist if you’re having problems with your memory or with problem solving. If you’re experiencing dizziness, you may be referred to a specialist, such as an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

What to bring to your medical appointment

To understand how you’re feeling and how best to treat you, your doctor will want to know all your symptoms and what may have worked to relieve them so far. Bring a list of all the medicines you’ve been taking, including nonprescription drugs and any vitamins and supplements.

You should also prepare a list of your symptoms. If you’ve been having problems with your memory, ask a family member or friend who sees you often to come along to the appointment.

Make a list of questions to ask your doctor about PCS. These might include:

If you have more questions about post-concussion syndrome, we invite you to call us at Acadiana Neurosurgery, or set up a consultation using the online booking tool.

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