How To Live With Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Living a life with post-concussion syndrome isn’t easy. But aside from the recurring symptoms, the thought of having a deeper, serious brain problem is even more disturbing. Not to mention, the countless myths about post-concussion syndrome.
For instance, not allowing a person suffering from concussion to sleep is a common medical misconception. A lot of people believe that allowing a person to sleep after a head injury might result to a coma or unconsciousness.
The term concussion originated from the Latin word “concusses” which means shock. In neurology, concussion is defined as a “trauma-induced alteration in mental condition”. It is experienced after having a slight head accident and it may last for weeks or months. Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include headache, grogginess, sensitivity to light and noise, psychological problems such as anxiety and irritability and mental difficulties like concentration and memory.
Can concussion lead to sleep problems?
Yes. Post-concussion can lead to altered sleep pattern. A high rate of daytime excessive sleepiness among post-concussion patients has been recorded. While rest can help the brain heal faster, too much sleepiness during the daytime can pose a problem since it inhibits productivity in the workplace or at the school.
Meanwhile there are also others who experience the exact opposite — insomnia or difficulty or trouble remaining asleep. People with insomnia experience disturbances in the middle of sleep, preventing them from having a good rest. Delayed sleep phase syndrome or sleeping patterns is also a usual effect of concussion.
Everyday life with post-concussion syndrome
Living with post-concussion is both challenging and frightening. A day in a life of a person with post-concussion syndrome does not pass without experiencing, dizziness and headache attacks. Sometimes headaches are bearable but sometimes headaches can be severe.
More serious cases can even result in bouts of severe headaches and other more complicated problems. One could experience blurring eyesight, especially if the accident affected nerves responsible for the sense of sight. The most challenging part of having post-concussion syndrome is that it affects one’s daily social interactions.
Individuals with PCD may have difficulty socializing with others. Maintaining a conversation with other people comes tough because staying focused on the discussion is hardly achieved. The brain finds it hard to concentrate on a single matter. More than this, long term and short term memory are both affected.
Ways to treat post-concussion syndrome
- Vestibular physical therapy
There are several strategies to cure concussion syndrome. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is a good starting point in remedying usual post-concussion effects. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is a program, which requires physical as to lessen dizziness and visual imbalance. This therapy basically helps the brain to get back to its proper functioning condition after experiencing trauma. VRT is composed of three key exercises – habituation, gaze or visual stabilization and balance training. Habituation exercise cures dizziness by familiarizing the person to specific scenes that triggers dizziness. Gaze stabilizing exercise repairs eye movement control to have a clear vision despite head movement. Balance training develops physical composure to avoid falling and improve mobility. For better efficiency, perform complete medical assessment to tailor fit vestibular exercises needed.
Today, there is no single drug that cures all the effects of concussion. Doctors usually prescribe separate medications for each of the symptoms. Dosage varies per person. Gabapentin (Gralise, Neurotin) is the painkiller usually recommended for headaches or injuries. For migraine-type headaches, as well as dizziness and irritability, Amitriptyline is frequently suggested. Topiramate is also another drug that threats migraine. These three are only some of the many drugs used to cure the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. These drugs have been proven effective but consulting a physician before taking in medication is always advisable.
- Micro current therapy
One recent treatment regimen that has shown promising results for post-concussion syndrome is the micro current therapy. In this scientifically backed non-invasive procedure, DC electroacupuncture sends minute electrical nerve stimulation to the brain. These electrical impulses mimic the biochemical nerve stimulation. Studies have shown that DC electroacupuncture can lead to a significant improvement in the PCS symptoms and pain levels. This therapy is very much successful that its application for other conditions is also being carefully evaluated.