A blow to your head or violent motion of your body can result in a concussion. Though a traumatic brain injury, a concussion is relatively mild. Most patients recover within a week or so and suffer no lasting ill effects.
However, according to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a concussion can last for weeks and even months after the initial injury in approximately 15% to 20% of cases. If you experience this after a concussion, the collection of persistent symptoms goes by the name of post-concussion syndrome.
There are more recorded cases of post-concussion syndrome in women than in men. However, that may not mean that the incidence is higher among women. It could mean that post-concussion syndrome in men tends to go unreported. Your risk for post-concussion syndrome also seems to increase as you grow older.
Perhaps surprisingly, the severity of your head injury does not seem to be a risk factor for post-concussion syndrome. In other words, according to the current research, you are no more likely to experience post-concussion syndrome with a severe concussion than a mild one.
Researchers are not sure what causes post-concussion syndrome. People who have experienced mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression, seem to be more susceptible. Therefore, some theorists believe that the condition is largely psychological in nature.
However, another theory is that the concussion injury causes a disruption to the nerves’ messaging symptoms. There may also be structural damage to the brain. It is also possible that the causes of post-concussion syndrome are both psychological and physiological in nature.
Treatment of post-concussion syndrome often involves managing symptoms. No specific treatment for the condition exists.