What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which various symptoms — such as headaches and dizziness— last for weeks and sometimes months after the injury that caused the concussion. Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury, usually occurring after a blow to the head. Loss of consciousness is not required for a diagnosis of concussion or PCS. In fact, the risk of post-concussion syndrome doesn’t appear to be associated with the severity of the initial injury.
In most people, PCS symptoms occur within the first 7-10 days and go away within three months, though they can persist for a year or more — with full resolution.
How does a Clinical Sport Psychologist Help?
A good counseling relationship can go a long way in helping a patient live with and recover from PCS. Additional tools offered:
- Visualization and guided imagery script for headaches and healing
- Use Deep Breathing (Long Deep Breathing App) 2x/day 3 minutes
- Practice appreciating the present moment- helps to tolerate losses and frustrations
- Reframing anxiety
- Target “Good Old Days Bias” (those with persistent
symptoms tend to under-report normal/pre-injury symptom levels)
- Increasing tolerance for increased effort and activity
- Increase awareness of role of avoidance
- Re-attributing cognitive difficulties to causes rather than
persisting direct effects of brain injury
- Focus on cognitive behavioral responses to symptoms rather than cause