What's the post-concussion syndrome?Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a common but controversial disorder that presents with variety of symptoms including-but not limited to-headache, dizziness, fatigue, and personality changes. PCS occurs in approximately 23-93% of persons with mild to severe head injuries. It is estimated that a neurologist (a physician who specializes in nerve and
brain disorders) sees five patients with PCS per month. There is no accurate correlation between the severity of injury and the development of PCS symptoms, since signs of the disorder can occur in someone who was just dazed by an injury. Some studies suggest that PCS symptoms occur at a higher rate in patients who were unconscious after trauma.
PCS is most commonly caused by minor head injury called a concussion. The majority of patients with minor head injury characteristically develop PCS with distinct symptoms. Patients may report problems with concentration, recent memory, and abstract thinking. Additionally, patients may develop dizziness, irritability, fatigue, and personality changes. Elderly patients are particularly affected by disequilibrium and chronic dizziness even after minor trauma.
There are no specific or reliable tests to diagnose post-concussion syndrome. A neuropsychologist can perform an in-depth neuropsychologic assessment that can determine presence or absence and extent of impairment. These tests may be performed for medical purposes.
Treatment for post-concussion syndrome can be extensive. Medications for headache and pain may be indicated (analgesics and muscle relaxants). Antidepressants may be given to improve insomnia, irritability, or anxiety. Pain control could be achieved with acupuncture, nerve blocks, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS, electrical stimulation of muscle groups). It is important for clinicians to educate caretakers and to provide referrals for family therapy and cognitive rehabilitation for the affected person.
More information on concussionWhat is a concussion? - Concussion is a trauma-induced change in mental status, with confusion and amnesia, and with or without a brief loss of consciousness.
What causes a concussion? - Most concussions are caused by motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. Contact sports are among those most likely to lead to concussion.
What're the symptoms of a concussion? - The symptoms of a concussion include severe headache, dizziness, vomiting, increased size of one pupil or sudden weakness in an arm or leg.
How is a concussion diagnosed? - The duration of unconsciousness and degree of confusion are very important indicators of the severity of the injury and help guide the diagnostic process and treatment decisions.
What's the treatment for a concussion? - A grade 1 concussion can usually be treated with rest and continued observation alone. A person with a grade 2 concussion must discontinue sports activity for the day.
How to prevent concussion? - Many cases of concussion can be prevented by using appropriate protective equipment. Helmets should also be worn when bicycling, skiing, or horseback riding.
What's the post-concussion syndrome? - Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a common but controversial disorder that presents with variety of symptoms including headache, dizziness, fatigue, and personality changes.