When it comes to post concussion syndrome (PCS), there is no one-size-fits-all method of treatment. There are many factors that make it difficult to treat PCS. But, doctors have had great success in treating different symptoms associated with post concussion syndrome. Also, new and emerging post concussion syndrome treatment options are making it easier for doctors and specialists to provide comprehensive, effective treatment for their patients.
Challenges of Post Concussion Syndrome Treatment
When considering the challenges presented by PCS, it’s helpful to think of this syndrome as a fluid, amorphous thing. Different people are affected by post concussion syndrome in many different and varying ways. Some people experience a few mild symptoms for some weeks or months, while others may experience a broad range of side effects that have a profound effect on their ability to live a normal life while they’re experiencing symptoms of PCS. As a result, it’s very difficult to pinpoint a cure-all type of treatment option for PCS presently.
What Does Treatment Seek to Accomplish?
The goal of PCS treatment is to provide relief from the symptoms of the syndrome as they present themselves. Doctors and specialists aim to provide treatment for a variety of different physical, psychological and cognitive side effects that can be caused by post concussive syndrome. Depending on the individual, they may experience a broad variety of symptoms.
Symptoms That May Require Treatment
- Blurred or double vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Difficulty sleeping
- Decrease in sensitivity to taste or smell
- Head feels heavy
- Loss of cognitive abilities
- Brain Fog
- Short Term Memory Loss
- Difficulty paying attention
Other symptoms are also possible when dealing with PCS. Keep in mind that while things like headaches or dizziness are very common for those suffering from PCS, a smaller amount of people dealing with this condition may experience issues with certain cognitive functions, or sensory problems.
Commons Types of Treatment for PCS
When discussing treatment for PCS, it’s helpful to break down the different options according to the type of side effect that the treatment seeks to alleviate.
Treatment for Physical Side Effects
The physical side effects of post concussion syndrome include things like headaches, dizziness, difficulty sleeping or sensory issues such as blurred or double vision or tinnitus. Many times a patient says that their head feels too heavy for their neck to hold up.
Doctors typically provide different medications which are shown to be helpful when given to patients suffering from similar symptoms related to other conditions. For example, physicians have had success prescribing antidepressants, antihypertensives, and anti-epileptics to patients suffering from post concussion syndrome related headaches, because those drugs have shown themselves as effective at treating other, similar conditions.
Sleeping medications are often prescribed to those dealing with PCS related insomnia, while common treatments for other causes of dizziness may be provided for patients experiencing balance related problems.
Of course non-pharmaceutical treatment may be used, too, such as physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, exercise, and acupuncture.
For patients dealing with sensory related issues, it’s best to consult with a specialist who deals with a doctor who specializes in the field to discuss potential therapeutic options.
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Treatment for Psychological Side Effects
These effects of PCS include side effects such as anxiety, depression, changes in personality and the like.
When treating the psychological effects of PCS, a combination of different treatments may be used together to provide the patient with the most comprehensive and effective option.
It’s common for doctors to prescribe medications such as antidepressants or anxiety medications to treat some of the psychological effects of post concussion syndrome. On the other hand, nutritional recommendations may be made to support the brain’s healing, including certain vitamins or supplements for PCS.
At the same time, psychotherapy is also used if the doctor believes it can be an effective way to supplement a treatment plan.
Symptoms Related to Higher Brain Activities
For a small percentage of those suffering from PCS, higher brain activities such as cognitive function may be affected by their condition.
When it comes to treating these types of effects, medication is occasionally used. For example, if the patient is experiencing attention related issues, a psychologist may prescribe medication.
Therapy is a more common treatment when dealing with any effects of PCS on higher brain activities. Sometimes, occupational or cognitive therapies can provide patients with relief from their symptoms. Since it is believed that these symptoms can be exasperated by increased stress, it may also be helpful to practice stress relief techniques.
Also, recent studies are making it clear that specific supplements can help symptoms of cognitive disturbance.
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New and Emerging Treatments
In recent years, quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) has been used with success to diagnose, and provide treatment options for individuals interested in post concussion syndrome therapy.
qEEG allows doctors to study the brain waves of the patient, and identify discrepancies in brain wave activity when compared to a healthy brain to provide a clearer picture of the cause of PCS in the patient. Once the cause is identified, a treatment plan can be implemented. Studies have indicated that qEEG has been effective at diagnosing as many as 96% of post concussion syndrome cases.
Neurotherapy treatments such as biofeedback or cognitive retraining may then be used to help eliminate the symptoms associated with certain symptoms of PCS.
Precise correction of a structural shift at the craniocervical junction is also helpful in many cases. This removes the physical obstruction to normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid and can alleviate persistent neuroinflammation and its associated symptoms.
These forms of treatment are in their relative infancy, and more research is required to determine their usefulness as a post concussion syndrome treatment option. But, all indications suggest these kinds of treatments may become the standard when treating PCS for the majority of patients suffering from this condition.
The Good News
For many people suffering from post concussive syndrome, the symptoms associated with this condition only persist for weeks, or in some cases, months. It can be helpful to know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel when undergoing treatment for post concussion syndrome.
For many of the symptoms associated with PCS, time and rest can often be the best treatment of all. If you’re dealing with PCS, keep in mind that over the coming months, you’re likely to experience the reduction or elimination of some or all of your post concussion syndrome side effects.
To maximize your ability to make a complete recovery from post concussion syndrome, you’ll want to consult with as many doctors and specialists as is necessary to provide a comprehensive and effective treatment plan.