About Post Concussion Syndrome
Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS) is a complex disorder characterized by a wide range of symptoms such as headache, dizziness, sleep problems, anxiety and depression that persist weeks to months after a concussion injury. Not everyone who sustains a concussion goes on to suffer from PCS. In fact, researchers are still uncertain why some individuals experience PCS after concussion and others do not. Symptoms associated with PCS typically resolve within 3 months, however 10-15% of people may go on to experience symptoms for longer.
Symptoms of Post concussion syndrome may be physical, cognitive, behavioural, and/or sleep and mood related. PCS affects each person differently, and treatment should be tailored to the individual needs of the individual. Common symptoms include:
When PCS symptoms are severe, treatment typically requires an interdisciplinary team of health professionals. We are trained to tease out the various factors that may be contributing to a patient’s PCS and provide individualized treatment recommendations. These may include:
Neck pain is an irritating symptom that can often snowball into headache, even contributing to dizziness in patients with PCS. If your neck has been affected by the injury, you may benefit from a variety of treatment techniques designed to reduce pain, improve range of motion and joint function, as well as increase strength and stability around the cervical spine.
Many PCS patients experience persistent dizziness, vertigo and visual complaints. This is often rooted in dysfunction of the vestibular and/or visual systems. The vestibular system provides us with our sense of balance, spatial orientation and equilibrium. When the neural pathways that process this information become impaired, we must “re-train” these systems by means of vestibular and visual rehabilitation. This process works through “neuroplasticity” – the brain’s inherent ability to re-organize itself. Typically this involves a series of exercises completed both in clinic and at home that are designed to gradually reduce dizziness, motion sensitivity and visual complaints. You may be required to visit an Optometrist before undergoing this type of rehabilitation.
Research is now showing that early exercise may play a role in recovery from PCS. It’s hard to imagine wanting to exercise while experiencing PCS symptoms, but we can help you find an exercise type/level that does not further aggravate symptoms while providing you with the health benefits of staying active. It may be as simple as developing a daily walking program or as complex as gradually getting you back into some of your previous fitness activities.
We will work collaboratively with your existing medical providers and provide recommendations for additional referrals/services that may be required to support your recovery.