Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome describes the symptoms that can occur after a head injury. These symptoms can last from weeks to months.

CAUSES

It is not clear why some head injuries cause post-concussion syndrome. It can occur whether your head injury was mild or severe and whether you were wearing head protection or not.

SYMPTOMS

  • Memory difficulties.

  • Dizziness.

  • Headaches.

  • Double vision or blurry vision.

  • Sensitivity to light.

  • Hearing difficulties.

  • Depression.

  • Tiredness.

  • Weakness.

  • Difficulty with concentration.

  • Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep.

  • Vomiting.

DIAGNOSIS

There is no test to determine whether you have post-concussion syndrome. Your caregiver may order an imaging scan of your brain, such as a CT scan, to check for other problems that may be causing your symptoms (such as severe injury inside your skull).

TREATMENT

Usually, these problems disappear over time without medical care. Your caregiver may prescribe medicine to help ease your symptoms. It is important to follow up with a neurologist to evaluate your recovery and address any lingering symptoms or issues.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver. Do not take aspirin. Aspirin can slow blood clotting.

  • Sleep with your head slightly elevated to help with headaches.

  • Avoid any situation where there is potential for another head injury (football, hockey, martial arts, horseback riding). Your condition will get worse every time you experience a concussion. You should avoid these activities until you are evaluated by the appropriate follow-up caregivers.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments as directed by your caregiver.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop confusion or unusual drowsiness.

  • You cannot wake the injured person.

  • You develop nausea or persistent, forceful vomiting.

  • You feel like you are moving when you are not (vertigo).

  • You notice the injured person's eyes moving rapidly back and forth. This may be a sign of vertigo.

  • You have convulsions or faint.

  • You have severe, persistent headaches that are not relieved by medicine.

  • You cannot use your arms or legs normally.

  • Your pupils change size.

  • You have clear or bloody discharge from the nose or ears.

  • Your problems are getting worse, not better.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.