Post-concussion syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome is comprised of symptoms that develop after a concussion. It is important to note that a concussion involves damage to the brain that occurs after sustaining a blow to the head.

What are the indications of a post-concussion syndrome?

Physical symptoms

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
    Post-concussion syndrome

    Medications to help alleviate the symptoms such as pain medications for headache, medications for nausea or an antidepressant if symptoms of depression are present.

  • Double or blurry vision
  • Hearing loss and/or tinnitus
  • Diminished sense of taste and smell
  • Sensitivity to noise and light

Behavioral and emotional symptoms

  • Feeling anxious
  • Depression
  • Easily irritable and sometimes aggressiveness
  • Disrupted sleep and tiredness
  • Changes in the appetite
  • Personality changes such as inappropriate social behavior
  • Lack of energy and interest in things
  • Sudden outbursts of emotion

Issues with mental processes

  • Diminished ability to concentrate
  • Attention issues
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Difficulty learning new things
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Issues with processing information
  • Difficulty with reasoning

These symptoms are not all present if an individual develops post-concussion syndrome. Generally, in most cases, the symptoms only last for up to a few weeks. In some cases, the symptoms last longer and persist for 3-6 months or even a year.

What are the causes?

The precise cause why some end up with post-concussion syndrome after sustaining a blow to the head remains vague. There appears to be a link with the harshness of the head injury.

In one theory, it is caused by bruising or damage to the tiny areas in the nerve cells of the brain due to the initial head injury. Another possible cause is an imbalance in the chemicals in the brain which triggers the symptoms.

Management

In most cases, the indications of post-concussion syndrome typically improve and settle within 3 months after the early blow to the head.

There is no specific treatment that can hasten the recovery. Any treatment provided is aimed on alleviating the specific symptoms.

  • Avoid rushing into activity – it is generally advised for an individual with a head injury to take things slowly. If possible, return to usual activities in a gradual manner after the injury.
  • It is vital to stick with a regular sleeping schedule
  • Medications to help alleviate the symptoms such as pain medications for headache, medications for nausea or an antidepressant if symptoms of depression are present.
  • The level of stress must be kept at a minimum.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and recreational drugs.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on post-concussion syndrome is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to manage head injuries and conditions including post-concussion syndrome, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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