What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
If your children had a head injury or diagnosed with a concussion, you may have witnessed their recovery within 3-4 weeks.
However, if you notice that they are not recovering after several weeks or months, then they may be experiencing Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS).
Dealing with PCS can be very daunting but working together with specialists as a team is a key to successful recovery.
So, what is PCS? The exact definition of PCS is a bit debatable, but here is the general explanation:
According to Mayo Clinic, PCS is "a complex disorder in which various symptoms... last for weeks and sometimes months" after a concussion.
Alright, then what are possible signs of PCS?
Feeling "off balance" or dizzy
Blurry or double vision
Low energy or fatigue
As you can see, the symptoms of PCS can be vague and broad. Therefore, many parents and children may not "put the two together" immediately and recognize the persistent struggles after the head injury, which may be due to PCS. After all, a concussion is a brain injury, and you can't "see" how your child's brain is doing!
Before you kick yourself for not noticing it sooner, don't worry, because you are not alone. I see a good number of families who fit the bill of children experiencing PCS.
The good news is that there are some things you can do to help your child who might be experiencing PCS:
Primary Care Physician
First and most importantly, if your child has a pediatrician or primary care physician, I encourage you to talk with them about your concerns. They are amazing and can refer you to appropriate services/providers if needed.
Vestibular Physical Therapy
If your child is experiencing persistent headache/migraine, dizziness, and/or vision problems after a head injury (or multiple head injuries for that matter), then you might want to see a physical therapist who is specialized in Vestibular Physical Therapy. It's a unique way of treating your child's brain in-balance. The PACER program at Rocky Mountain Pediatric OrthoONE has fabulous physical therapists who specialize with patients suffering from this condition.
If your child is experiencing cognitive dysfunction such as poor concentration/attention, distractibility, slow thinking, and/or poor memory, then you might want to consider checking out Cognitive Rehabilitation (not to be confused with cognitive behavioral therapy, which I'm going to talk about in a minute). It's essentially a rehabilitation for thinking, and your child will likely be working with speech therapists (not that your child will learn how to "talk" but think better in this context) or neuropsychologists. Colorado Brain Recovery and Neuroworks are specialized in cognitive rehabilitation treatment.
If your child is experiencing fatigue, depression, anxiety, sleep difficulty, and/or physiological and cognitive dysfunction, consider looking into psychology services that are specialized in this area. Some of the effective strategies to treat folks with PCS include cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, and hypnosis.
Broadly speaking, post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a disorder in which your child might be experiencing persistent symptoms weeks or months after a concussion. Contact your primary care physician for further assessment and consider some of the treatment options for PCS - vestibular physical therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, and psychology services.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more questions or concerns.
Until next time...be well:)
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