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Persistent Post Concussion Symptoms: Examples.


Persistent Concussion Symptoms and PCS
Persistent Post Concussion Symptoms

What kind of difficulties might suggest you are experiencing persistent post concussion symptoms? Sometimes, it's not immediately obvious to people.

This review may help...




Physical symptoms of concussion may persist:


Headache:

  • Headaches can be intermittent or continuous.

  • The quality of headache can sometimes be helpful in determining the source: it might be aching, stabbing, shooting, throbbing, or pressure like.

  • Are there triggers to your headache?

  • Is it exertion related, posture related, motion related, are there environmental triggers like being in a grocery store, is it triggered by light, or is it triggered by sound?

  • Does it vary with what time of day it is – better or worse early in the day?

  • Sometimes the location is helpful: Is the headache one sided, or located in your temples, or located at the back of the head or top of the neck.

  • Is the headache associated with other symptoms either before, during, or after the headache?

  • Sometimes people experience symptoms that they recognize as a signal that the headache will be coming soon.


Dizziness:

  • Dizziness may be continuous or intermittent.

  • Is it provoked or aggravated by certain activities, movements, positions, or environments?


Imbalance:

  • Are you feeling more imbalanced than normal? Do you feel more clumsy than normal?

  • Is it all the time, or is it related to your speed of movement, or does it appear related to dark environments, or uneven surfaces?

  • Do you always lose your balance to one side?


Tinnitus:

Examples:

  • This is often a high pitched ringing in the ears, but can also be a quality of pulsing.

  • Is the pulsing synchronous with your heart beat / pulse – if so, then definitely get checked out by a physician.

  • Does the tinnitus vary by the time of day, or maybe by posture?


Visual symptoms:

Examples:

  • Light sensitivity: Is bright light irritating? Or does it depend on the source of lighting (eg fluorescent vs incandescent). Or are you sensitive to using electronic screens?

  • Motion sensitivity: You may notice you feel worse in busy visual environments like a grocery store or crowd of people.

  • Blurred vision: does this get worse through the day, or get worse with near visual work like reading, or does it get worse when repeatedly alternating looking at a distance then at near like when taking notes in a classroom?

  • Double vision: Whether it’s constant or intermittent, or only present when you look in a certain direction, it’s always something for which you should have a detailed assessment and medical review with your physician.


 

Sleep difficulties may persist:

Examples:

You may find you have difficulty

  • Getting to sleep

  • Staying asleep

  • Not feeling rested at the start of your day.

  • Feeling significant fatigue part way through your day


 

Emotional symptoms of concussion may persist:


Feeling more emotional than normal:

Examples:

You may feel

  • More irritable than normal

  • More easily frustrated

  • More easily angered

  • More sad than normal.

  • Are noisy or busy sound environments irritating?


 

Cognitive and thinking difficulties may persist:

Examples:

You may feel you have more difficulties with

  • Short term memory

  • Acquiring new information and remembering it

  • Maintaining your attention or concentrating

  • Feeling slow to process information or slow to respond in a conversation

  • Do you feel you have word finding difficulties, or substitute incorrect words into your speech? Are people confused when you explain something to them or tell them a story.

  • Is it difficult to remember what you just read?

  • You might feel significantly fatigued in the middle of the day.


 

BUT...

None of these problems are exclusive to concussion.



However, if you are continuing to experience symptoms like these after a concussion, it's generally a good idea to be assessed for a rehabilitation program, and to follow up with your physician.


This does not mean that physical therapy is the only intervention.. The rehabilitation plan after concussion may involve several medical team members serving to assist your recovery; these may include one or more of a counselling psychologist, occupational therapist, speech language pathologist, family physician, neurologist, or sport medicine physician.



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