What causes post concussive syndrome?

What causes post concussive syndrome?
What causes post concussive syndrome?

Post-concussive syndrome (PCS) is a condition that can occur following a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).

It is characterized by a range of physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms that persist beyond the normal recovery period.

The exact cause of PCS is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of factors.

These factors can include:

  1. Primary Brain Injury: The initial trauma to the brain during the concussion can cause physical damage, such as bruising, stretching of nerve cells (axonal injury), and chemical changes. These can disrupt normal brain function and lead to symptoms that persist after the acute phase of the injury.
  2. Inflammation: Following a concussion, there is often an inflammatory response in the brain, which can contribute to symptoms like headaches, cognitive difficulties, and mood changes.
  3. Neurotransmitter Imbalance: Concussions can disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) that play a crucial role in regulating mood, sleep, and other functions. Imbalances can lead to symptoms like depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.
  4. Cervical Spine Issues: Neck and cervical spine injuries can occur alongside a concussion and may contribute to symptoms such as headaches and neck pain.  Learn more on our Neck Alignment Program page. 
  5. Individual Factors: The risk of developing PCS may be influenced by individual factors, including genetics, pre-existing medical conditions, and psychological factors. People with a history of previous concussions may also be at greater risk.
  6. Psychological Factors: The emotional and psychological response to a concussion can affect the development and persistence of PCS. Anxiety, depression, stress, and the perception of the injury’s severity can all play a role.
  7. Inadequate Recovery: Failure to rest and properly recover after a concussion, or returning to physical or cognitive activities too soon, can prolong symptoms and increase the risk of PCS.


It’s important to note that not everyone who sustains a concussion will develop PCS. Many individuals recover fully within a few weeks to a few months, while others may experience persistent symptoms that interfere with their daily life.

Management of PCS typically involves a multidisciplinary approach, including medical evaluation, cognitive rehabilitation, physical therapy, and psychological support.

Treatment is tailored to address the specific symptoms and needs of the individual. Early intervention and appropriate care can often lead to significant improvement in PCS symptoms over time.

Treatment options for Concussion

Specialized physical therapy treatment can assist in improving symptoms associated with prolonged symptoms following a concussion. A systematic approach of orthopedic, vestibular rehabilitation, sensorimotor re-training and progressive aerobic exercise is usually necessary to alleviate symptoms.

At PhysioFit of NC, we have the expert team to help you to the fullest.

We provide a comprehensive treatment approach through our Concussion Recovery Program.   The primary goal of treatment is to address the underlying issues causing post-concussive syndrome.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can help you!