Post-concussion syndrome (PCS), also known as persistent post-concussion syndrome, is a condition that can occur following a concussion: a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), characterized by the persistence of symptoms beyond the typical recovery period. Physiological recovery requires approximately 22 to 45 days, while symptom recovery can occur as early as seven to ten days following a concussion. If the post-concussion symptoms last for more than four weeks, it is classified as PCS.

Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome:

The symptoms of PCS can vary widely among individuals but often include:

  • Headaches: Persistent or recurrent headaches are a common symptom of PCS, ranging from mild to severe.
  • Migraine: People can experience post-traumatic migraine.
  • Neck pain: There could be background pain, stiffness, or tension, and function could be affected.
  • Dizziness and balance problems: Individuals with PCS may experience feelings of dizziness, vertigo, or difficulty maintaining balance.
  • Cognitive difficulties: Memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and impaired reasoning or judgment are common cognitive symptoms of PCS.
  • Fatigue: Persistent fatigue or exhaustion, even after minimal exertion, is a hallmark symptom of PCS.
  • Sleep disturbances: Insomnia, disrupted sleep patterns, or excessive sleepiness during the day can occur in individuals with PCS.
  • Sensory sensitivity: Increased sensitivity to light, noise, or visual stimuli is often reported by those with PCS.
  • Mood changes: Depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings are common psychological symptoms of PCS.


Causes of Post-Concussion Syndrome:

The exact causes of PCS are not fully understood, but several factors may contribute to its development. Some of them are: 

  • Severity of the initial injury: Individuals who experience more severe concussions may be at a higher risk of developing PCS.
  • Functional deficits not being addressed: Commonly, a concussion is a functional injury rather than a structural injury with temporary impairment to brain function. There may have been a lack of targeted treatment for the functional impairments experienced.
  • Multiple concussions: Sustaining multiple concussions over a short period may increase the likelihood of developing PCS.
  • Pre-existing conditions: Individuals with a history of migraines, depression, anxiety, neurodevelopmental/behavioral disorders, or other neurological disorders may be more susceptible to PCS.
  • Genetics: Genetic factors may play a role in determining an individual’s susceptibility to PCS.


Management of Post-Concussion Syndrome:

Managing PCS requires a comprehensive approach tailored to the individual’s specific symptoms and needs. For more information read our blog about 5 effective treatment options for concussion.  

Practitioners at Sydney Concussion Centre understand the frustration of long-standing concussion symptoms. We can provide a clear and tangible plan to move forward to help diminish your PPCS. With the right strategy, your symptoms can be significantly changed. 

If you feel you need some help with your concussion, give us a call on 1800 CONCUSSION  |  1800 266 287