If you have post-concussion syndrome, you might think that the Mayo Clinic would be a serious contender as your treatment provider. After all, the Mayo Clinic is a world-renowned medical and research center with facilities in Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota. Patients have access to a wide range of medical specialties and healthcare options, with over 100 medical and surgical services available throughout the system. Their drive and dedication have earned them many top rankings in varied specialties, including endocrinology, gastroenterology, and cancer, to name just a few.
The Cognitive FX Blog
Your source for everything you need to know about traumatic brain injury and concussions.
Traumatic Brain Injury
“Post-traumatic brain injury syndrome” refers to long-term repercussions from concussions and other head injuries. Someone using this term could be referring to one of three conditions:
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.
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.
If you’ve experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it’s natural to want to know how long and how difficult your recovery is going to be. There are so many factors affecting recovery time — such as the specifics of the injury, gender, treatment options, and more. Remember, the length and extent of your recovery is unique to you. Recovery stories vary even between patients with similar injuries.
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.
The type of head injury doctor you need to see depends on the type of injury you’ve experienced and how long ago the injury occurred. Doctors who excel at concussion treatment, for example, are often not the doctors you would see for a skull fracture.
Brain injury recovery is hard. The severity of your injury, which parts of your brain were affected, and how they were affected, all factor into things such as how much you can recover and how long it will take.
Post-concussion syndrome, also known as persistent post-concussion symptoms (PPCS), occurs when concussion symptoms persist for months or years after you sustain a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or another type of brain trauma. If you or a loved one received a post-concussion syndrome (PCS) diagnosis, you're probably wondering if it's treatable. (Short answer: yes!) You may also want to know how long recovery takes, what you can do to alleviate symptoms, and whether what you're experiencing is "normal."
We treat hundreds of post-concussion patients every year and regularly answer these questions for our patients. This guide will help you understand post-concussion syndrome in depth by answering a number of questions, including:
When people think of concussion symptoms, they often think of the obvious ones: headaches, drowsiness, fogginess. What they don’t expect are gastrointestinal issues.
Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion (mild traumatic brain injury or mTBI), and other head trauma can cause high blood pressure, low blood pressure, and other circulatory system changes. Head injury may lead to dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system (a condition known as dysautonomia), which in turn can cause blood pressure dysfunction and other symptoms to persist for months or years after the injury. Some patients experience a particular type of dysautonomia known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which we discuss further in the post.
Perhaps this sounds familiar: You wake up from a relaxing nap expecting to feel refreshed, but instead, your heart is pounding for no reason. Or you stand up after a few hours on the couch and feel lightheaded and unstable. Maybe your resting heart rate is now 90, even though it used to be 65.
If you’ve had a severe or mild traumatic brain injury (severe TBI or mild TBI) that’s left you with post-concussion syndrome (PCS), just thinking can be taxing. Cognitive health is “the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember,” but a brain injury can disrupt these processes, either temporarily or in the long term. This can make day-to-day functioning a challenge, to say the least.
Mild or severe traumatic brain injury (concussion and TBI) can cause upsetting changes to your mental health. Brain injury can worsen pre-existing mental illness or cause new symptoms — such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. Don’t give up hope: There are good treatment programs that can help you recover.
The fight with cancer is difficult enough, so it’s understandable if you’re frustrated and confused by the cognitive symptoms that can crop up after chemotherapy. Memory problems? Clouded thinking? Fatigue? No thanks!
Recovering from a head injury is an emotional, difficult journey whether you’re male or female. On that journey, women face a few hurdles that men do not. Today, we’d like to talk about those hurdles and a few ways you can handle them as they come.
Here’s something you probably won’t hear in the emergency room: A transient ischemic attack (TIA, or mini-stroke) can have symptoms that last for months or years afterward. Many healthcare providers think these symptoms are rare or at least short term, but a 2013 survey from the UK Stroke Association showed otherwise. Seventy percent of respondents reported long-term after effects such as cognitive difficulties or poor mobility. And sixty percent had emotional changes after the incident.
Neurofeedback is a confusing topic for patients to decipher on their own. Many clinics use big words and brief explanations, and they claim that neurofeedback can cure any number of conditions, from ADHD to post-concussion syndrome.
At our post-concussion treatment clinic, patients sometimes present with short- or long-term hormone dysfunction after brain injury. While we don’t treat hormonal imbalance at our clinic, we often make referrals for it and communicate with our patients’ physicians about their condition.