Post-concussion syndrome: When a head injury leaves you with chronic pain

Concussions are common following a head injury, so you’ve probably heard of them before and know to watch out for everything from slurred speech to headaches and confusion immediately following a fall down a set of stairs or a bad car wreck. But what about post-concussion syndrome? While it’s relatively common, most people have never heard about it.

And that’s a problem because a lot of people don’t seek treatment for post-concussion syndrome when they should. Post-concussion syndrome is a constellation of symptoms related to a concussion that continues well after the actual concussion should have healed. Sufferers can experience problems for months — or even longer.

Post-concussion syndrome can occur even after a relatively minor head injury, for reasons that medical science still doesn’t fully understand, leaving victims struggling with:

  • Chronic “tension” headaches or unexplained head pain
  • Sleep disturbances and fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Changes in their appetite
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Mood changes, depression or anxiety
  • Memory problems
  • Alcohol intolerance

If you’re experiencing three or more of these symptoms more than a few weeks after your head injury, it’s important to see a doctor about your condition. While post-concussion syndrome does tend to gradually improve or heal over time, you may still be miserable for quite a while and may also experience difficulty working, participating in your hobbies or enjoying your life.

If your head injury was caused by someone else’s negligent mistake or deliberate act, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. Documenting the extent of your symptoms and being monitored as you improve can help strengthen your case.