Most people who experience concussion due to a head injury recover fairly quickly, within about 7 to 10 days. But sometimes, symptoms persist beyond the average recovery time frame. In such cases, individuals continue to struggle with symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury for weeks or months. Without proper support, symptoms may even linger indefinitely. This may include changes in cognitive and motor abilities that are quite debilitating: vision disturbances, dizziness, anxiety or depression, difficulties with concentration and more. A failure to recover from symptoms following a concussion, or a worsening of symptoms over time, is known as post concussion syndrome.
Post concussion syndrome (PCS) involves significant imbalance and dysfunction of physiological and neurological processes. The results can be cognitive, physical or emotional stress that is quite debilitating and disruptive to normal daily life. Individuals suffering with PCS may miss work or school regularly due to headaches, dizziness, depression or anxiety. Symptoms may curtail their involvement in social or recreational activities. As time goes by, quality of life declines. A mild traumatic brain injury can end up severely impacting a person long term.
One of the biggest challenges in receiving proper care and support for post concussion syndrome is its silent nature. Friends or family members may notice a change in their loved one’s personality or behavior, but there are no physical signs of any illness a doctor can easily detect. Regardless of how poorly the person feels or how difficult symptoms are making their lives, an accurate assessment from a health care provider may be hard to come by. PCS does not show up in blood work, x-rays or even MRIs. Brain function may be significantly impaired, but next to impossible to pinpoint in standard medicine.
Functional neurology relies on a unique type of testing that can evaluate signaling or transmission errors in the brain. This allows functional neurologists to locate regions of the brain that are involved in dysfunction due to traumatic brain injury. Once it is clear where the problems are occurring, neurological rehabilitation techniques can facilitate and support recovery. Signaling pathways can be reconnected, and new connections can be formed through therapeutic support that is safe, gentle and effective. Patients begin to feel, think and see clearly as normal signaling and transmission resume.
Left untreated, post concussion syndrome can lead to serious degenerative brain conditions, including Alzheimer’s. It is never a good idea to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to concussion care. Instead, work with a functional neurologist to take advantage of diagnostic tools and therapeutic support that can properly evaluate and resolve symptoms. Functional neurological rehabilitation can have a profound, lasting effect on how a post concussion syndrome patient feels long term.