How to Treat Post Concussion Syndrome

When you are in an accident and experience a concussion, you can at least be grateful – because you have the least serious type of brain injury. When you experience a concussion it is common for persistent headaches and mood swings to occur over the next several weeks or months. This is referred to as post concussion syndrome.

Causes & Symptoms

Before we dive into the details, it is imperative that you understand that post concussion syndrome has always being a controversial diagnosis. This is primarily due to two reasons. The first is whether this condition is a unitary condition. Clinicians have never agreed on the right procedure to be followed when diagnosing this condition.

The second bone of contention has always been on time frame. How long do the symptoms need to persist for its classified as post concussion syndrome? Due to this debate, many clinicians will have their own time frame. To some clinicians, you will need to have the symptoms for over three months so you can be diagnosed with this condition. Others will only require you to have the condition for over two weeks. Concussions are graded according to the level of severity.

The grading is as follows;

  • Grade 1
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 3

In grade 1, the concussion will persist for around 15 minutes, and the patient will not lose consciousness. In a Grade 2 concussion, the symptoms will last for over 15 minutes. Here, the patient too will not lose consciousness. Grade 3 concussions are associated with loss of consciousness.

Causes of Post Concussion Syndrome

Post concussion syndrome is widely believed to be because of disruption in the Brain’s messaging system due to the sudden impact that resulted during the concussion. This is mainly attributed to athletes that are engaged in dangerous sporting activities. The brain injury association of America listed the following sports as dangerous, especially to young adults.

The sports include:

  • Cycling
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Football
  • Wrestling
Basketball players are getting the ball

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Another school of thought advocated by doctors and medical experts is that post concussion symptoms are because of psychological factors affecting a patient. This school of thought is based on the notion that common symptoms such as sleep problems, headaches and dizziness are all associated with people who are diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Contrary to popular belief, most people believe there is a connection between the severity of the injury and a likelihood of one suffering from post concussion symptoms.  This is not true as there is no scientifically proven connection between the two. Science has however connected certain people with the likelihood of being diagnosed with post concussion syndrome.

These people have the following traits:

  • Anxiety
  • Poor social support systems at home
  • Poor coping skills
  • Have a history of depression

Symptoms

The following symptoms are associated with post concussion syndrome, they include;

  • A headache
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep Problems
  • Lack of concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Diagnosis

Trying to diagnose post concussion syndrome is not a walk in the park. This is because no single test will ever give you a comprehensive answer on whether you have a post concussion syndrome. Since doctors know of this, the first thing a doctor will do will be to order a computerized tomography {CT} scan or an MRI so he/she can be able to tell if you have any structural abnormalities in the brain.  This is will create the foundation for your treatment and will also tell the doctor what the problem might be.

Based on the test result, the doctor will have a suitable treatment program can be prepared. If for example, you are feeling dizzy, then you may be referred to a nose, throat or ear specialist. If you are having problems remembering basic stuff or suffering from depression, then the doctor will refer you to a psychologist.

Treatment

The treatment of Post concussion Syndrome is not a straightforward process. This is because the symptoms are varied and may be caused by several other factors other than a concussion. To ensure the treatment process is successful, doctors will treat you according to the symptoms exhibited.

Loss of Balance

Memory and Thinking Problems

Headaches

Depression and Anxiety

How to Manage the Syndrome

There are things that must be done to help an individual live a better and more fulfilling life even when diagnosed with this condition. This will mean changing your lifestyle and living healthier at the same time avoiding dangerous sports such as wrestling.

You will need to avoid junk food. To control post concussion syndrome, you will need to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits so you can have the right micronutrients needed by your body. You will also need to eat plenty of fatty acids such as chia seeds and walnuts. Both chia and walnuts help in the restoration of the cognitive function of the body.

If you are not a fan of exercises, this will have to change.  Engage in regular exercise activities such as walking and those prescribed by a physiotherapist. Regular exercise will help in the flow of blood to the brain, and this is beneficial in trying to control your post concussion syndrome. The exercise program to be followed should not be intense and should be supervised by a qualified trainer.

You will need to sleep often as recommended by experts. If you are recovering from severe brain injury, then sleep should never be an option but a priority. This is because sleep helps your brain to store new information and helps it to heal. If you are having problems sleeping, then you can ask your doctor if melatonin is ok for you so you can have a better sleep.

Never forget the golden rule that all patients should abide by; stress management. It is scientifically proven that stress management speeds up the bodies healing process. You can join stress related programs to help your mind be at ease and in the process improve its functionality.

How can I Avoid a Concussion?

Avoiding a concussion goes a long way in trying to prevent post concussion syndrome. Sadly, concussions can never be 100% avoided. The best we can do is to reduce the risk of suffering from one. The risks can substantially reduce by doing the following;

  • Wearing protective clothing such as reflectors at night
  • Making sure children don’t play games their age
  • Teaching children about the importance of safety equipment’s
  • Never wear clothes that hinder your vision
  • Not skateboarding on an even surface
  • Driving safely as you follow traffic rules
  • Ensuring your safety belt is always fastened
  • Avoiding dangerous games such as wrestling
  • Not fighting

What Is the Role of Education in Concussions?

Though post concussion syndrome affects different people differently, one thing has been clear; education is an important aspect of the treatment. Some patients do not need medicine, all they need is to be assured they will be fine. That is why education is key to helping these patients fight depression and anxiety about their health. Patients need to understand that the first two weeks will be difficult for them and they should expect improvement as time goes by. In every healing process, patience is key.

Concussions in Children

Children tend to suffer more concussions than adults. This is because they have a disproportionately bigger head when compared to the rest of the body. The chances of a concussion increase as they reach adolescence. When a child has a concussion, the guardian or parent should observe the child for 24 hours and only give medication when allowed by the doctor.

Conclusion

It is important to note that not all people who suffer from traumatic head injury end up being diagnosed with post concussion syndrome. However, if you had had concussions before, then there is a high likelihood you will have the syndrome. A factor that may increase your chances of being diagnosed with the post concussion syndrome is gender. Women are more likely to have the syndrome than men. To protect yourself, always stay safe and avoid activities that may cause trauma.

Featured Image: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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