Post-Concussive Syndrome

By Brain Injury Law of Seattle

traumatic brain injury


Post-concussive syndrome, also known as post-concussion syndrome (PCS), occurs when symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury, like a concussion, persist longer than expected after an injury.


What is Post-Concussive Syndrome?

Post-concussive syndrome (PCS) is a disorder that is characterized by an often complex combination of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms that occur after a traumatic brain injury. Not every patient who experiences a concussion will develop PCS, and the severity and duration of symptoms can vary widely between individuals.

PCS can cause symptoms that last for weeks, months, or, in some cases, even years after the initial injury.


How To Know If You Have A Concussion

According to the CDC, a concussion’s signs and symptoms generally show up quickly after the injury. Often, children and teenagers report “not feeling right” after a bump or blow to the head or body.

Suppose you or your child reports feeling a headache or “pressure” in your head, having problems balancing, feeling dizzy, having double or blurry vision, being bothered by light or noise, feeling sluggish or groggy, experiencing mild confusion, or feeling dazed. In that case, you may have a concussion.


Post Concussion Syndrome Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of post-concussive syndrome can be wide-ranging. This symptom chart from the CDC explains some of the physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms one can experience with mild TBI or concussion.


post concussion syndrome


As a reminder, if you’re experiencing 40% or more of these symptoms, have not been formally diagnosed with TBI, or have not seen a doctor, it’s time to seek medical attention.

Prolonged symptoms that occur as a result of having a concussion can have a significant impact on one’s health. Below is a list of some of the most common PCS symptoms, insight into concussion signs, and how they can affect daily life.

  1. Headaches: One of the most common symptoms of post-concussive syndrome is persistent or recurrent headaches. They can be different types of headaches as well, from tension to migraine or a combination, and the intensity can range from mildly irritating to debilitating.   
  2. Dizziness: If you’ve been diagnosed with PCS or believe you may have it, you may experience dizziness, nausea, vertigo, or balance problems. These symptoms can make it extremely difficult to go about daily life. 
  3. Cognitive Difficulties: PCS can affect cognitive function, leading to short-term memory loss, the inability to concentrate, and slowed processing speed (difficulty understanding information). It can also result in difficulty with tasks that require mental effort, like reading, writing, and problem-solving. 
  4. Fatigue: Many people suffering from post-concussive syndrome experience significant fatigue, even after adequate rest. This fatigue can also be due to sleep disturbances or result in simply experiencing a lack of energy or, more significantly, physical, mental, or emotional fatigue that impacts everyday life. 
  5. Sensory Sensitivities: In addition to the above symptoms, some individuals experience sensitivities to light, noise, and other stimuli. This sensitivity can make completing work or engaging in social activities challenging, resulting in lost wages or social isolation.  
  6. Emotional Changes: Changes in mood such as irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and depression. These emotional symptoms can also be challenging to manage due to impaired cognitive function.  
  7. Sleep Disturbances: Individuals with PCS might experience changes in their sleep patterns, including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling rested. Because of the poor sleep, other symptoms may be exacerbated, making recovery more challenging. 

Post Concussion Syndrome Treatment can range and often involve a multidisciplinary approach. You need to address PCS and potential traumatic brain injuries promptly and work closely with a trusted healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan.


Concussion Long-Term Effects

Long-term concussion effects on the body can vary with each individual. It’s also possible that not everyone who suffers from the longer-term effects realizes that these symptoms are connected to a concussion.

Concussions can have long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional effects. One may experience persistent brain fog, headaches, and depression that may last for months or even years after the incident.

No matter how they happen, concussions are injuries to the brain that require time to heal. They are brain injuries that can have short- and long-term effects, often subtle ones that can change over time. Fortunately, symptom relief is possible.


symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury

Post Concussion Syndrome Treatment

Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS) can get better with the right treatments and time. Because PCS symptoms can have many causes, your doctor may recommend multiple simultaneous therapies, and it can take weeks before you notice results and start to feel some relief.


Treatment Options for PCS Include but are not limited to:

  • Vision Therapy (Oculomotor Training)
  • Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation
  • Vestibular Therapy (Balance Therapy)
  • Physical Therapy (PT)
  • Exertional Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy
  • Neuropsychology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • & a variety of others

Setting expectations for recovery is important; the Concussion Legacy Foundation reminds us that you may need to try multiple therapies before finding one that works for you. Don’t give up!


Legal Considerations For Individuals with Post-Concussive Syndrome

The post-concussive syndrome can have a significant impact on an individual’s life. It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of PCS, and it is equally essential to seek treatment if you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic brain injury.

If you’ve developed post-concussive syndrome as a result of another party’s negligent actions, there may be legal options available to seek compensation for your injuries or related expenses. As personal injury attorneys specializing in brain injury Law in Seattle, we are committed to helping individuals with PCS and other traumatic brain injuries understand their rights and pursue the compensation they deserve.

For more information regarding brain injuries, visit the Brain Injury Law of Seattle. If you have a brain injury due to an accident or if another party’s negligence has caused the brain injury, it is important to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney.

Contact us for professional help from our qualified brain injury lawyers in Seattle.