Headaches. Dizziness. Brain fog. Constant fatigue. Feeling overwhelmed or like your emotions can’t stabilize. These and so many other symptoms can remain for months, or even years, after a concussion. If you feel like your recovery is excruciatingly slow, you’re not alone. Up to 30% of people who suffer a concussion experience persistent symptoms for months or years later.
The Cognitive FX Blog
Your source for everything you need to know about traumatic brain injury and concussions.
Dr. Jaycie Loewen Ph. D.
Dr. Jaycie Loewen is a Clinical Neuroscientist who received her Doctorate of Neuroscience at the University of Utah. Her background includes the study of basic and clinical brain injury, including the publication of research regarding mechanisms of epilepsy pathophysiology. Her work has elucidated the role of glial and neuronal cell profiles in viral-induced brain injury and acute seizures. Dr. Loewen is further a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar, with a Master's in Clinical Investigation awarded in 2018, as well as a recipient of the Higher Education Teaching Specialist Certificate. Through these degrees, she obtained experience with patient care and education as well as an understanding of the necessity of respecting patient experience and symptoms. Dr. Loewen’s focus is firstly patient care and education. She also provides literature analysis and aids in the publication of Cognitive FX’s research. Her goal is to improve Cognitive Fx’s ability to help patients through equal interaction and communication, as well as the furthering of concussion and mild traumatic brain injury treatment and science.
After suffering a mild traumatic brain injury, you might expect to feel off for a few days before being able to function at your normal level again. However, a rapid return to normal is not the case for everybody. If symptoms like headache, dizziness, neck pain, fatigue, trouble concentrating, insomnia, or mood changes linger for weeks or months after your concussion, you may be suffering from post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
Many hospitals offer robust medical treatment to help patients survive traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). It’s common for those same hospitals, or affiliated care providers, to offer rehabilitation to patients after the danger of death has passed. These rehabilitation services often focus on activities of daily living (walking, dressing yourself, eating, etc.). It’s less common to find appropriate rehabilitative medical care for long-lasting symptoms following TBI.
Long COVID symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, poor endurance, and respiratory problems can have a significant impact on your daily routine. Some long COVID patients’ symptoms are so severe that they need a reduced work schedule or are no longer working due to their illness. Persistent symptoms can follow both mild COVID and cases that required treatment in the ICU.
Neural fatigue can develop after any type of brain injury, including mild traumatic brain injury (concussion), severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), hypoxia, viral infection, stroke, or transient ischemic attack. It might surface immediately or after some time and can last for months or even years. It can also develop in patients with neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and dementia.
COVID-19 can affect the autonomic and central nervous systems. It can affect organ systems directly through infection or indirectly via dysfunction in the nervous system. That means a host of crazy-sounding symptoms — such as blood pressure changes, memory and attention issues, and gastrointestinal upset — are possible during and after COVID. But many of the lingering, post-COVID symptoms are related to nervous system dysfunction.
When most people think of COVID-19 symptoms, they often recall the most common acute symptoms: brain fog, sore throat, congestion, headaches, and the like. What many don’t know is that long COVID can affect your vision for months after contracting the illness.
Many people are surprised to learn that concussions can have long-term effects if left untreated. Chronic concussion syndrome is a less common term for persistent post-concussion symptoms (also known as post-concussion syndrome, or PCS). If you suffer from headaches, brain fog, vision issues, fatigue, short-term memory problems, irritability, feelings of overwhelm, or other persistent symptoms after a head injury, you might have chronic concussion syndrome.
Long COVID is real. Data shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from the Household Pulse Survey (July/August 2022) show that more than 40% of adults in the United States have had COVID-19, and nearly one in three of them (approximately 30%) experience symptoms for more than three months after their original acute infection. Not all patients with long COVID are severely affected, but the report estimates that two to four million Americans are currently unable to work because of persistent COVID symptoms.
Memory and attention problems are common in long COVID patients: A recent study showed that 70% of COVID long haulers experience memory and concentration difficulties for months after their initial disease. If you’re one of them, you might struggle to focus on work, forget where you left your keys, struggle to remember an acquaintance’s name, or space out unintentionally during a conversation.
COVID-19 can cause cognitive symptoms in some patients, such as short-term memory loss, difficulties concentrating, problems recalling words, and brain fog (a condition known as long COVID). While most initial studies focused on patients hospitalized with severe COVID symptoms, it became apparent that most long COVID patients developed their condition after only a mild case of COVID.
Headache pain is the most common symptom after a traumatic brain injury, with up to 90% of patients experiencing this symptom for at least a few days after suffering a concussion. These headaches can also develop after other causes of head trauma, such as bacterial and viral brain infections, carbon monoxide poisoning, “chemo” brain, transient ischemic attack, and COVID-19.
More than 20 million Americans have lingering symptoms that can be described as long COVID (or “post-COVID conditions”), but doctors and scientists are still researching why it develops. As a result, these patients often struggle to get a diagnosis and find a suitable treatment for their condition.
If you’ve been experiencing headaches for weeks, or even months, after your initial COVID infection, you are not alone. Headaches are one of the most common neurological symptoms being experienced by COVID-19 long-haulers, and some patients even experience daily, persistent headaches. But they’re often just one of many symptoms long COVID patients report. Other common symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, gastrointestinal issues, and more.
When the pandemic started, we were told that children wouldn’t be seriously affected by the virus. And while most children only experience a mild version of the disease, evidence shows that some children are at risk of developing persistent symptoms after their initial COVID-19 infection.
Head injuries vary wildly in severity. You could suffer anything from debilitating brain damage to a few days of feeling “off” before returning to normal. You might suffer a moderate traumatic brain injury and feel no lasting effects, or suffer from persistent symptoms after “just” a mild TBI.
More than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the list of symptoms caused by the virus keeps getting longer. In addition to the most common symptoms of a persistent dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath, many patients experience an array of seemingly random body changes both during and after the acute phase of the disease. We’ll discuss a number of them, including but not limited to:
Have you ever caught yourself holding your breath while doing something challenging? Or feeling lightheaded and breathing faster when you stand up after sitting for a long time? Maybe you often have rosy cheeks without a reasonable cause, like exercise.
Fatigue is a common symptom of viral infection, and having fatigue with a COVID-19 infection is no exception. But the severity and longevity of that fatigue is what sets COVID-19 apart from the common cold or even the flu. You might…