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Understanding Post-Concussion Symptoms and Recovery

May 27, 2024

By Zara Dureno, BA, MOT

 

Introduction

Suffering a concussion can be a frightening experience, often leaving individuals unsure of what to expect in terms of symptoms and recovery. In this guide, we will delve into the realm of post-concussion symptoms (PCS) and shed light on the journey to recovery.

What Are Post-Concussion Symptoms?

Post-concussion symptoms (PCS) are a collection of physical, cognitive, and emotional disturbances that can occur following a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). These symptoms can manifest immediately after the injury or appear days or weeks later, making them sometimes difficult to attribute directly to the concussion.

Common Post-Concussion Symptoms:

  1. Headaches or migraines
  2. Dizziness or vertigo
  3. Fatigue or lethargy
  4. Memory problems
  5. Difficulty concentrating
  6. Sensitivity to light and noise
  7. Mood changes, such as irritability or anxiety
  8. Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or excessive sleeping

Recovery Process:

Recovering from a concussion is a gradual process that varies from person to person. While some individuals may recover within a few days or weeks, others may experience symptoms for months or even longer. What is important to know is that there is hope and concussions are recoverable when treated properly!  Here are some key factors that influence the recovery process:

1. Rest

Rest is crucial in the initial stages of recovery to allow the brain to heal. This may involve physical rest, mental rest, or both, depending on the severity of the concussion. Though you do not want to rest too long! Full rest beyond 72 hours is not recommended. It is useful to start to expose yourself to activities after that period of time.

2. Gradual Return to Activities

As symptoms improve, it’s important to gradually reintroduce activities such as school, work, and exercise. Pushing too hard too soon can prolong recovery and potentially exacerbate symptoms. Develop a good pacing system!

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3. Supplements and Nutrition

Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting with supplements. Some people benefit from Omega 3s, magnesium bisglycinate, creatine and glutamine.

4. Symptom Management

Managing symptoms is an essential aspect of the recovery process. This may involve medications to alleviate pain or other symptoms, as well as lifestyle modifications to reduce triggers such as stress or sensory overload. Post concussion symptoms are largely due to the systems affected after concussion. The potential systems effected include:

  • Vestibular (your balance system)
  • Ocular (your eyes)
  • Autonomic dysregulation (your nervous system)
  • Cervicogenic (your neck)
  • Inflammation
  • Hormone dysruption

Understanding which systems are impacted with the help of a trained provider and treating that specifically can reduce symptoms over time.

5. Support System

Having a strong support system consisting of family, friends, and healthcare professionals can greatly aid in the recovery process. Emotional support and understanding are invaluable during this challenging time.

6. Patience and Persistence

Recovery from a concussion can be frustratingly slow at times, but it’s important to remain patient and persistent. Celebrate small victories along the way and trust that gradual improvement is possible.

Conclusion

While post-concussion symptoms can be debilitating, it is important to remember that recovery is possible with time, patience, and appropriate management. By understanding the nature of PCS and implementing strategies to support recovery, individuals can navigate the journey back to health and well-being.

If you or someone you know is experiencing post-concussion symptoms, do not hesitate to seek professional medical guidance for personalized treatment and support. At the Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic, we have a team of professionals trained in managing post-concussion symptoms. Visit our services for concussion rehabilitation or contact us to learn more.

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