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Neurosciences and Behavioral Health Center

Postconcussion Syndrome

Postconcussion Syndrome

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can affect the way your brain works. In most cases, concussions resolve within hours or days of the injury. Postconcussion syndrome (PCS) refers to continued symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury. It often resolves within a month, but sometimes the symptoms persist for much longer.

PCS symptoms vary from person-to-person. PCS may cause:

  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Balance problems
  • Nausea
  • Vision problems
  • Sensitivity to noise and/or light
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Concentration problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tiredness

Diagnosis

The brain damage caused by a mild brain injury is so slight that most tests cannot detect it. Your doctor may perform tests that include:

  • Memory and attention tests
  • Sports concussion assessment tool
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) to look for abnormal brain electrical activity

Your doctor may also take pictures of your internal body structures with:

  • CT scans
  • MRI scans

Treatment

Treatment depends on the severity and length of time of your symptoms.

Medications

Your doctor may recommend:

  • Pain relievers
  • Antidepressants
  • Nerve blocks

Psychological Treatment

Your doctor may refer you to a therapist to talk about your problems related to PCS and to learn how to cope with those problems.

Neurotherapy

Neurotherapy, also called biofeedback, is a painless treatment that uses computers to help you learn how to modify your brainwaves to improve attention and memory.

Surgery

In some cases, a collection of blood in an area of bruising on the brain may require surgery, which may help resolve or improve symptoms.

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Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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