What is post-concussion syndrome?

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Postconcussion syndrome: Overview

Postconcussion syndrome occurs after a blow to the head or body. Common symptoms are changes in the ability to concentrate, think, remember, or solve problems. Symptoms, which may include headaches, personality changes, and dizziness, may be related to stress from the events surrounding the accident that caused the injury.

Postconcussive syndrome

Postconcussive syndrome occurs after a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. Common symptoms are changes in the ability to concentrate, think, remember, or solve problems.

Symptoms, which may include headaches, personality changes, and dizziness, may be related to stress from the events surrounding the accident that caused the injury. It may take several weeks to many months for these symptoms to go away on their own. But these may also be signs of a more serious injury and should be discussed with a doctor.

Rest is the best treatment for postconcussive syndrome.

How can you care for yourself when you have postconcussion syndrome?

Pain

  • Rest is the best treatment for postconcussion syndrome.
  • Do not drive if you have taken a prescription pain medicine.
  • Rest in a quiet, dark room until your headache is gone. Close your eyes and try to relax or go to sleep. Do not watch TV or read.
  • Put a cold, moist cloth or cold pack on the painful area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the cold pack and your skin.
  • Have someone gently massage your neck and shoulders.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.

Stress

  • Try to reduce stress. Some ways to do this include:
    • Taking slow, deep breaths.
    • Soaking in a warm bath.
    • Listening to soothing music.
    • Having a massage or back rub.
    • Drinking a warm, nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated beverage.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. A balanced diet includes whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and protein. Eat a variety of foods from each of those groups so you get all the nutrients you need.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Try relaxation exercises, such as breathing and muscle relaxation exercises.
  • Talk to your doctor about counseling. It may help you deal with stress from your accident.

Postconcussion syndrome: When to call

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.
  • Your symptoms, such as headaches, trouble concentrating, or changes in mood, get worse.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.