5 Brutal Truths About Post-Concussion Syndrome I Wish I Could Share With My Younger Self
I don’t remember bouncing my head off frozen pavement, but it left me with a concussion and whiplash. I was probably unconscious for no more than a minute or two. There were no witnesses, so we can’t know for sure.
If I could go back and sit my younger self down for a reality check in the months after the fall, these are five things I’d tell him.
One note: I’m not a doctor or any kind of medical professional. This article isn’t medical advice, only reflections on my own experience as a post concussive. If you’ve hit your head, see a doctor. Like, now.
1. Most people who get a concussion will heal and be back to normal relatively quickly. Unfortunately for you and everyone who loves you, you’re not most people.
The majority of people who get a concussion recover within a month, but a small number don’t. These people have Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). Their concussion symptoms—which can include headaches, blurred vision, balance problems, muscle pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and many more—persist, usually for weeks or months, but sometimes for years. The symptoms might go away on their own, with the underlying damage healing on some unknowable schedule. However, they might not. Don’t just wait; seek out treatment from specialists who work with people with concussions.
2. A concussion is also called a mild traumatic brain injury and everyone is probably going to be talking about your brain. Your brain is probably not the only part of you that’s been damaged.
The head connects to and encases a lot, and something that causes concussion can damage those connected systems. I’m not talking about the direct injuries from the impact here, where there might be bruising, broken skin, broken skull, or similar injuries from whatever you hit your head on. I’m talking about the delicate systems that include your eyes or ears or the muscles and whatnot that move and support your head. Hearing, muscles, vision, and more can all be affected. That’s why you might get sent to specialists who, on the surface at…