The Mystery of Post Concussion Syndrome

By M. Chris Wolf, PH.D.

What is Post Concussion Syndrome? Helmets and hard hats were invented for a very good reason. Even the average person understands that the mildest of head injuries can cause permanent and severe damage resulting in several disorders and syndromes. The most common type of head injury is a concussion. A medical professional should always treat concussions immediately. However, after the concussion has been treated initially, difficulties may persist for some time.

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Post concussion syndrome is a form of traumatic brain injury that can cause suffering years after the head injury that caused the concussion. Some of the symptoms of this malady include headaches, difficulty concentrating, and bouts of irritability. The diagnosis is made if the effects of the concussion have lasted anywhere between three weeks to six months after the injury that initially caused the concussion, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Symptoms can be immediate, or manifest a number of weeks after the injury.

Immediately after the injury, the symptoms may be severe as when the injury first took place, but they will lessen in time. As well as decrease in severity, the symptoms also change with time. Physical symptoms after the injury will likely evolve into emotional or cognitive later. Examples include: sensitivity to noise, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, problems with memory or concentration, poor judgment, and depression.These symptoms are labeled "late symptoms" because they generally do not occur until a considerable period has elapsed after the initial injury.

Not all symptoms follow the course as the others. Drowsiness or other common symptoms occurring immediately after a concussion, do not last long, whereas headaches and a sensation of dizziness remain long after the injury. The reason this happens is unknown, and sometimes post-concussion syndrome will occur in some patients who have suffered a mild head injury but not others. However, several of the risks of post-concussion syndrome have been identified and although post-concussion syndrome cannot be treated, some of its symptoms can.

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Although over the counter medication should be avoided, a doctor might prescribe pain medication for physical symptoms, such as headaches and neck pain. However, it should be noted that if the patient stops taking pain medication rebound headaches could result.

In the case of emotional symptoms such as irritability or depression, it would benefit the victim to seek profession help. A majority of patients previously diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome who sought psychological treatment reported reduced symptoms and were soon able to return to their work place.


Mittenberg W, Canyock EM, Condit D, Patton C (2001). "Treatment of post-concussion syndrome following mild head injury". Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 23 (6): 829-836. doi:10.1076/jcen.23.6.829.1022.PMID 11910547.

For more information about this topic consider these resources:

Natural & Herbal Remedies Blog - Advice to Relieve Anxiety, ADHD & More

Post Concussion Syndrome Is the Hidden Epidemic Format: DVD

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Postconcussion Syndrome: The New Evidence Base for Diagnosis and Treatment (Oxford

Workshop Series: American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology) by Michael A. McCrea

Mild Head Injury: A Guide to Management by Philip Wrightson and Dorothy Gronwall

Return from Post Concussion Syndrome


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