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What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

April 29, 2022 Personal injury

Concussions are typically categorized as mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and are not life-threatening in most cases. However, there can be long-term effects that do not resolve within a few weeks or months. One chronic condition that victims may suffer from is called post-concussion syndrome (PCS). PCS can develop after a mild, moderate, or severe TBI. Symptoms from post-concussion syndrome can impact a victim’s day-to-day life, including their ability to work or perform other daily tasks. 

Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome 

Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome can include: 

  • Headaches
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Increased irritability
  • Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of concentration and memory
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Changed senses of taste and smell 

PCS symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years and affect approximately 10 to 20% of people diagnosed with a concussion. PCS can be permanent in some cases. The chances of a victim experiencing long-term symptoms increase if they have previously suffered a concussion or another type of TBI. Repeated concussions can also lead to a severe long-term condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which causes brain inflammation. Unfortunately, CTE can only be diagnosed at autopsy, so experts are still trying to understand the repercussions. 

What Causes Post-Concussion Syndrome? 

A concussion that leads to PCS can occur in a wide variety of situations, such as: 

  • A slip and fall accident
  • Car accidents
  • Violent assault
  • High-impact sports (e.g., football or boxing)

Why some people develop PCS after a concussion and others don’t is unknown. If another party’s negligence is the cause of your PCS, you may be entitled to compensation to cover medical bills, lost income while you recover, and reimbursement for other losses. Contact a San Diego traumatic brain injury lawyer to learn more. 

How to Prevent Post-Concussion Syndrome 

Seeking medical care immediately after a head injury is essential to prevent long-term symptoms. However, the best prevention is to avoid the risk of a head injury altogether. For example, by: 

  • Wearing a seat belt when driving and ensuring children are in age-appropriate car seats and booster seats.
  • Wear a helmet when bicycling, skating, skateboarding, riding on a motorcycle, or participating in contact sports.
  • Wearing a hard hat when appropriate (e.g., certain jobs or working on your home)
  • Installing slip and fall prevention surfaces and devices on floors, railings, and stairs in your home.

If you have already suffered a concussion, it is critical to prevent re-injury:

  • Wait to drive until cleared by your healthcare provider. 
  • Make sure you get plenty of sleep and rest.
  • Report any new symptoms to your doctor throughout recovery.
  • Refrain from sports-related activities until your doctor clears them.
  • Take children to playgrounds that have soft surfaces in case of a fall.

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment to speed up recovery if you have PCS. The treatment options available can only help relieve symptoms. However, taking the time you need for your body to recover, keeping your stress levels down, and avoiding alcohol or recreational drugs can all help the healing process.