Post-Concussion Syndrome Treatment in Abingdon, VA
What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a collection of symptoms that some people develop after they have suffered a concussion . A concussion is type of traumatic injury that causes the brain to move slightly within the skull. This movement can momentarily disrupt electrical activity within the cells in the brain, which can cause the brain to stop working properly for a short period of time. PCS is a medical condition that persists for a period of time following a traumatic brain injury, and this period of time can range from weeks to months.
Not all people who experience concussions or other head injuries will be affected by this condition. PCS is usually worse in individuals who have had previous concussions or brain-related injuries. Every case of PCS is different, and the level at which patients experience symptoms depends on the severity of the injury. In most individuals, PCS symptoms occur within the first seven to 10 days following the injury.
How is PCS Diagnosed?
Concussions are typically diagnosed by an emergency room physician, but ongoing care is recommended for patients with recurring concussion symptoms. Because there are no definitive tests to diagnose PCS, physicians diagnose individual symptoms of PCS using physical and cognitive tests. A physician will start by gathering information about the patient's concussion exposure, medical history and family history. The most commonly used criteria for diagnosing PCS comes from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).
According to the ICD-10, post-concussion syndrome is characterized by symptoms in three or more categories that are present no later than four weeks after the injury. The ICD-10 classification system also requires a history of head trauma with loss of consciousness. Criteria for PCS diagnosis using the ICD-10 is divided into six categories, and patients who suffer from PCS experience at least three of the following symptoms:
- Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, reduced noise tolerance
- Irritability, depression, anxiety
- Subjective concentration, memory or intellectual difficulties
- Reduced alcohol tolerance
- Preoccupation with the above symptoms and fear of brain damage with hypochondriac-like tendencies
For patients with severe head injuries or extreme symptoms of PCS, brain imaging—such as a CT scan or an MRI—may be ordered to help detect more serious problems like major bleeding and brain tissue damage.
How is PCS Treated?
Most individuals suffering from post-concussion syndrome are able to recover with rest and by minimizing stress, although individual symptoms can be addressed and managed. For example, patients who suffer from persistent headaches may be prescribed migraine or pain medications for short-term relief. Physical and behavioral therapy may also be recommended for problems such as loss of balance and memory. Some physicans may also use the following to treat PCS:
- Prolotherapy: This holistic procedure involves a series of injections that produce a healing response within the damaged tissue, ultimately leading to repair of the damage.
- Platelet-rich plasma: The physician extracts a small amount of a patient's blood to develop a concentration of platelets and growth factors naturally found in the body that are then injected into the damaged area to promote healing.
- Stem cell therapy: Stem cells are drawn from the patient's body and are injected into the treatment area.
- Hyperbaric oxygen: This therapy is used to greatly increase oxygen uptake to the brain, nervous system, skeletal muscle and all body tissues.
- Supplements: A supplement program can be used to reduce oxidative stress and improve mitochondrial function.
If a patient experiences anxiety and depression, he or she may be referred to a psychiatrist for psychological support. This type of therapy helps patients understand their losses and impairments while encouraging hope and continued effort in rehabilitation. Antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed to treat depression, anxiety or headaches.
Most people with PCS fully recover, but it can be difficult to predict when this might occur. PCS usually goes away within three months, but there have been cases that have lasted longer. Request more information about post-concussion syndrome treatment today. Call (423) 301-6964 or contact Dr. Joseph Radawi online.
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