Close
Baltimore auto accident lawyers

What is a Post-Concussion Syndrome and How do I Know if I Have it?


The post-concussion syndrome occurs when someone who experienced a concussion does not fully recover in the expected recovery period. Each concussion is different and the length of recovery time depends on the patient and the severity of the concussion. Typically, one can heal from a concussion within weeks or months. Many people tend to think that concussions result in losing consciousness, but this is not the case. About 90% or more of patients who suffer a concussion do not lose consciousness after taking a blow to the head or experience whiplash. If you or a loved one continue to experience post-concussion symptoms after your recovery time has been completed, seek medical attention immediately. 

Symptoms of a Concussion

Someone who has post-concussion syndrome may experience a variety of symptoms. Some patients experience memory and cognitive issues, while others have a hard time balancing and suffer from chronic headaches. About 80% of concussion patients recover anywhere between 10 to 14 days after the accident. Living with concussion symptoms is debilitating. The length of time that one will suffer from post-concussion symptoms depends on the injury itself. If you took a hard blow to the head and were expected to recover in months, you may have more severe symptoms compared to a patient who has a mild concussion. 

It has been observed that many patients who have had concussions in the past are most likely to suffer from post-concussion syndrome. One’s age and occupation can place them at high risk for a concussion. It is always important to wear proper headgear and be aware of your surroundings to ensure that you do not experience a blow to the head. 

Sometimes, post-concussion symptoms can be vague, which can make it difficult for a doctor to diagnose their patient properly. Because there is no test to determine whether one has post-concussion syndrome or not, some patients can be released from the hospital or clinic with no further instruction on how to alleviate symptoms and create a recovery plan. If you tell your doctor that you are still experiencing symptoms after your recovery time is completed, he or she will most likely have you undergo tests like MRI, CAT, and X-Rays. These tests will be used to rule out any other complications that occurred at the time of the injury. A few complications that are important to rule out are brain bleeds, infections, or poisoning. 

The most common symptom patients with post-concussion syndrome experience are mood changes. About 85% of patients who suffer from this syndrome will report to their doctor that they feel uneasy and frustrated at times. Your mental health is important. If you experience mood swings after taking a blow to the head, contact your doctor immediately to meet with a specialist to evaluate your symptoms. Feeling dizzy, nauseous, and having difficulty focusing are also common symptoms that arise in patients suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Reach out to our Baltimore personal injury lawyers

Treatments for Post-Concussion Syndrome

Although there is no immediate treatment to alleviate the symptoms one may face when dealing with post-concussion syndrome, doctors may prescribe pain and migraine medications. There may be other treatments prescribed by a psychiatrist or neurologist such as antidepressants and psychotherapy may be suggested. 

Types of Doctors Involved in Post-Concussion Syndrome Testing:

The majority of patients who experience whiplash or bump their head will visit their primary care physician. Seeking medical attention after hitting your head is important, but typically, primary care physicians do not have much experience in properly treating head and neck injuries. Your primary care physician may be able to check your blood work and run a few basic tests, but they will not be able to devise a concrete plan for recovery from the accident. Seeing a neurologist will allow for a speedy recovery and receive a timeline to return for a form of normalcy. No doctor is perfect. If you believe that you are not receiving the information you need regarding your concussion or post-concussion syndrome, get a second opinion.

Common Post-Concussion Tests

There are five common tests that doctors may use to form a plan of care for a patient suffering from post-concussion syndrome. These tests may include the SCAT5, MRI scans, baseline testing, CT scans, and EEGs. The SCAT5 is a sports concussion tool that can be used to diagnose minor concussions. This test is helpful when diagnosing the initial concussion, but may also be useful in the future if the patient complains of persisting pain and concussion symptoms after the recovery time is completed. In most cases, patients dealing with a concussion will experience a decline in symptoms after about six weeks into recovery. For patients suffering from post-concussion syndrome, this may not be the case. If you or a loved one do not reach out for professional help, you may deal with concussion symptoms for the rest of your life as, without treatment, the symptoms will persist. 

A doctor may also perform physical tests on their patient to check their eye movement, vision and hearing, balancing skills, state of consciousness, and hand-eye coordination. A patient may also be asked basic questions like “what month is it?” and “How old are you?” to ensure that the patient has not experienced any form of memory loss. 

Head and neck injuries can bring about a lot of stress and anxiety. It is important that you always protect yourself from coming into contact with a hard object that could injure the upper body. It is important that doctors reassure their patients that concussions heal over time. If you believe that you are not receiving the proper care and guidance from your doctor regarding your concussion, consider getting a second opinion. Recovery looks different for each patient, and it is imperative that you follow the doctor’s guidelines to ensure that there are no further complications down the road. Contact our Baltimore Brain Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.