Understanding Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a complex disorder that can occur following a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). While most individuals recover from a concussion within a few weeks, some may experience persistent symptoms that can significantly impact their daily functioning and quality of life. The following is a brief overview of PCS. If you have suffered a concussion or other type of head injury in an accident, our Virginia Beach brain injury attorneys can help you get the financial compensation you deserve.

Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome manifests through a wide array of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms, which may include:


Persistent or recurring headaches are one of the hallmark symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. These headaches can vary in intensity and may be accompanied by sensitivity to light and noise.

Dizziness and Vertigo

Individuals with PCS may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or vertigo, affecting their balance and coordination.


Chronic fatigue or a sense of lethargy is common among individuals with post-concussion syndrome, even after minimal physical or cognitive exertion.

Cognitive Dysfunction

Difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and cognitive impairment are prevalent symptoms of PCS, impacting various aspects of daily life, including work, school, and social interactions.

Sleep Disturbances

Insomnia, disrupted sleep patterns, or excessive daytime sleepiness may occur in individuals with post-concussion syndrome, further exacerbating their symptoms and impairing recovery.

Mood Changes

Emotional disturbances such as irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings, or emotional lability are frequently reported by individuals with PCS, often complicating their rehabilitation process.

Sensory Sensitivities

Heightened sensitivity to light, noise, or visual stimuli (photophobia, phonophobia) is a common symptom of post-concussion syndrome, contributing to discomfort and cognitive overload.

Physical Symptoms

Other physical symptoms associated with PCS may include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and muscle weakness or coordination problems.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact mechanisms underlying post-concussion syndrome are not fully understood. However, several factors may contribute to its development, including:

Severity of Injury

The severity of the initial concussion or traumatic brain injury may influence the likelihood and persistence of post-concussion symptoms. More severe injuries are often associated with a higher risk of PCS.

Multiple Concussions

Individuals who have experienced multiple concussions or TBIs are at increased risk of developing post-concussion syndrome, as each subsequent injury can exacerbate existing symptoms and prolong recovery.

Pre-existing Conditions

Pre-existing medical conditions, such as migraine headaches, depression, anxiety disorders, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may predispose individuals to develop post-concussion syndrome or exacerbate its symptoms.

Age and Gender

Research suggests that younger individuals, particularly adolescents and young adults, may be more susceptible to post-concussion syndrome. Additionally, some studies indicate that females may be at a higher risk of experiencing prolonged symptoms compared to males.

Psychosocial Factors

Psychosocial factors, including stress, social support, coping mechanisms, and psychological resilience, can influence the development and course of post-concussion syndrome.

Diagnosis and Management

Diagnosing post-concussion syndrome involves a comprehensive evaluation of symptoms, medical history, and neurological examination. Imaging tests such as CT scans or MRI scans may be performed to rule out other potential causes of symptoms.

Management of post-concussion syndrome typically involves a multidisciplinary approach aimed at addressing individual symptoms and promoting recovery. Treatment strategies may include:

  • Balancing rest with gradually increasing activity levels is crucial for promoting recovery and avoiding symptom exacerbation.
  • Medications may be prescribed to alleviate specific symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, or mood disturbances. However, medication should be used judiciously and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  • Cognitive rehabilitation strategies, including cognitive training exercises, memory aids, and attention-building techniques, may help improve cognitive function and compensate for deficits.
  • Physical therapy can address balance problems, coordination difficulties, and musculoskeletal issues associated with post-concussion syndrome, promoting functional recovery and reducing disability.
  • Counseling, psychotherapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be beneficial for managing mood disturbances, anxiety, depression, and coping with the emotional impact of post-concussion symptoms.
  • Providing education and support to patients and their families about post-concussion syndrome, its prognosis, and coping strategies can empower individuals to actively participate in their recovery process.

Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Law Firm for Help

A brain injury is often a long-term or permanent injury requiring rehabilitative care. The financial costs of caring for a brain injury victim through the course of their life can be overwhelming and carry heavy financial burdens.

If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury due to the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the pain and losses that were a result of that injury. Our Virginia Beach brain injury attorneys have successfully advocated for many clients who suffered brain injuries in obtaining the financial compensation they deserved for their injuries, including a record-setting mild brain injury verdict for $60 million, which was settled while on appeal.

Contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Our firm also provides a free traumatic brain injury guide that provides important information about Virginia’s personal injury law and other legal questions regarding pursuing an injury claim.