Post-concussion syndrome is a disorder in which some symptoms, such as headache and dizziness, persist for weeks or months following a concussion. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that is usually caused by a blow to the head or by whiplash-type movement of the head.
How common is post-concussion syndrome?
Approximately 15 percent of people with a concussion may go on to develop post-concussion syndrome.
Who gets post-concussion syndrome?
Anyone who has had a concussion can experience post-concussion syndrome. Common causes of concussion include:
- Auto accidents
- Falls, especially in younger children and older adults
- Physical abuse
- Military combat
People with a history of any of the following may be more likely to experience post-concussion syndrome:
- Migraine headaches
- Mood, anxiety, learning, or seizure disorder
- Previous concussion
- Prolonged recovery after concussion
How is post-concussion syndrome diagnosed?
No single test can diagnose post-concussion syndrome, however, the following tests can help detect structural brain abnormalities caused by injury to the brain:
- Computerized tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
The most prominent symptoms of post-concussion syndrome are headaches and dizziness. Post-concussion headaches may feel like tension headaches or migraines.
Other symptoms include:
- Balance problems
- Blurred vision
- Cognitive impairment
- Loss of concentration and memory
- Noise and light sensitivity
- Ringing in the ears, also called tinnitus
Symptoms may be compounded by other disorders, increasing the risk of misdiagnosis.
If you experience any symptoms after hitting your head, seek medical attention.
There is no specific treatment for post-concussion syndrome, but medications and other therapies may help relieve some of the symptoms. Every brain injury is different, and it is important that you consult with a neurologist if you suspect you have a concussion or brain injury.
Information and Resources
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- Date of last review: May 1, 2018
- Author: Javier Cárdenas, MD