After a concussion or other brain injury, your loved one may start exhibiting some behaviors that are considered inappropriate and childlike. They may be prone to crying (emotional lability), angry outbursts, impulsive behaviors, and more. It may seem like their words and behaviors are out of character or that they’re failing to understand and respect the feelings of others.
The Cognitive FX Blog
Your source for everything you need to know about traumatic brain injury and concussions.
Brain Injury Awareness
Post-concussion syndrome is downright frustrating to experience. Doctors often miss it during diagnosis, and even if they do make the diagnosis, treatment methods vary considerably from clinic to clinic. What works for some doesn’t work for others.
Vertigo is a common symptom after a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Most patients describe it as feeling like either the room is spinning or they are. Almost half of those who sustain a concussion report vertigo in the first few days after their injury. For most patients, this feeling dissipates within a few days or weeks at most, but for some, post-concussion vertigo persists for years after the trauma.
Headaches are one of the most common symptoms after a head injury (studies show 70% of mTBI patients experience them, though 84% of our patients report having them). They can develop after mild, moderate, or severe injuries. For many patients, the headaches develop for the first time shortly after the injury. For others, the injury causes pre-existing headaches, such as migraines, to worsen.
If left untreated, whiplash can cause long-term symptoms that are unlikely to go away on their own. Studies show that some patients recover within the first three months after their neck injury, but if they’re still experiencing symptoms past this period, improvement is unlikely without appropriate treatment. For example, hockey player Sidney Crosby suffered for months until doctors recognized untreated whiplash. Once he received appropriate treatment, he was able to continue with his career.
Whiplash can cause physical and neurological damage that results in long-term symptoms. In addition, the same event that caused whiplash could also have caused a concussion. (The sudden motion can cause the brain to collide with the skull even if there is no external impact on the head.) Concussions can develop into post-concussion syndrome (PCS), with symptoms persisting for months or even years.
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can lead to severe long-term cognitive, physical, and behavioral symptoms, such as problems with memory, difficulty concentrating, balance issues, and mental health problems. Symptoms can continue even when the source of the gas is removed. Patients affected by CO poisoning can experience symptoms for months or even years after exposure.
After a concussion or other type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), some patients experience persistent symptoms for months, or even years. This condition is known as post-concussion syndrome (PCS), and it can affect patients of any age.
Loss of taste and smell featured heavily in the news during the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the first signs of infection. But this is not the only condition that may lead to loss of smell. You could also experience this symptom after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), whether it was a mild TBI (concussion) or a severe head injury.
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.
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.
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.
As you read this text, your brain is processing the incoming visual information and sending directions to your eyes so they maintain focus on what you want to read. But if you have post-traumatic vision syndrome (PTVS) and your eyes do not work together efficiently, you may have a hard time keeping track of what you’re reading and develop a headache from your efforts. You may have also noticed that everyday activities that should be automatic — like reaching for an object, driving, or going shopping — require more effort.
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.
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.
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.
Diagnosing a concussion can be a challenging process. There is no definitive test to confirm the diagnosis with 100% certainty. Instead, doctors often rely on subjective descriptions of symptoms and simple neurological examinations to check systems such as vision, balance, and cognition.
You’d think a family of eight with the foresight to pull their children out of school earlier than the rest of the nation would be safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, seven out of the eight family members contracted the coronavirus at the very beginning of the pandemic, back when testing was frustratingly difficult to obtain, and our knowledge about the disease was limited.
Concussions, a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), pose potentially significant health issues no matter their severity. Despite this, as many as five in 10 concussions aren’t reported or detected.