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What Can a Neurologist Do for Post-Concussion Syndrome

What Can A Neurologist Do For Post-Concussion Syndrome

Find compassionate and professional care for post-concussion syndrome by calling (347) 602-9530 to schedule an appointment with our clinic.

Did you recently sustain a head injury and are now dealing with lingering symptoms? It’s more common than you think.

According to the National Library of Medicine, around 34 to 35% of concussion victims experience ongoing or long-standing issues from three to six months after the incident.

When the ordinary aches turn into perpetual headaches, dizziness, or even problems with concentration and memory, it’s time to seek the expertise of a top neurologist in NYC. Keep reading as we dive deeper into the nuances of this condition and what you can do to start the journey toward healing.

What Is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

In essence, post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder that rears its head following brain trauma, characterized by a cornucopia of symptoms that can linger for weeks, months, or even a year post-injury. 

Common symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Fatigue, or an overall lack of energy
  • Difficulty with memory and concentration
  • Insomnia and other sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability, coupled with changes in personality and behavior
  • Noise and light sensitivity

If these issues sound all too familiar, you don’t have to feel trapped in a perpetual cycle of discomfort. Seeking help from a qualified neurologist can help. 

The Cause

According to the CDC, 2020 saw around 214,1100 hospitalizations due to traumatic brain injuries, with concussions accounting for many of these. It is the brain’s jarring response to a powerful blow or sudden jolt to the head. Picture your brain as an incredibly soft substance, afloat in a protective sea of cerebrospinal fluid, cocooned within your skull. 

When an extreme force hits your head, it propels your brain against the skull’s interior. This violent motion can inflict damage on brain cells and create chemical changes that disrupt normal neural function.

The end result is that some parts of the mind can’t properly do what they need to do, or in others, work overtime to compensate for the weakened portions. That’s why it’s common for people to struggle with memory, concentration, and mood stability post-concussion.

Other Risk Factors

Beyond the immediate aftermath of the trauma itself, the likelihood of developing symptoms of PCS stems from several factors, including:

  • Brain-related conditions: Pre-existing neurological ailments can exacerbate the severity and persistence of symptoms. These might include learning difficulties or, attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder.
  • Mental health disorders: Those suffering from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder may become more susceptible. 
  • Previous injuries: The risk increases significantly if you have had prior concussions or head injuries. There’s a reason why occupational safety and sports guidelines place such a heavy emphasis on preventing them.

Why Consult a Neurologist?

NYC has some of the leading specialists in the field of neurology.

A neurologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and managing conditions of the nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. After completing four years of medical school, these professionals spend an additional four years in a neurology residency program. 

Their training and experience pack a punch, making them the go-to physicians when it comes to managing various neurological conditions such as epilepsy, stroke, migraines, and PCS. 

What To Expect From a Consultation

The neurologist will thoroughly review your medical history and conduct in-depth physical and neurological examinations. These tests might assess various aspects of your cognitive and physical abilities, such as memory, balance, reflexes, sensation, mental status, and motor skills. 

When necessary, the doctor may recommend diagnostic imaging tests, like magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scans, to get a detailed look at your brain. Fortunately, these procedures are non-invasive and painless. 

Based on the findings, they can:

Rule Out Other Neurological Causes

The intricate web of the human nervous system is a maze of possibilities when it comes to identifying the culprit behind your symptoms. Your neurologist will pull out all the stops to ensure other potential ailments, such as brain tumors or stroke, aren’t masquerading as post-concussion syndrome. 

Prescribe Medication

Neurologists may prescribe medication to manage the symptoms:

  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help manage mild post-concussion headaches, while prescription medications might be necessary for more severe pain.
  • Antidepressants: If you’re experiencing emotional issues or depression as a result of your concussion, an antidepressant like fluoxetine (Prozac) or duloxetine (Cymbalta) can help.
  • Sleep aids: If you struggle to fall or stay asleep, your neurologist may prescribe drugs that help regulate your sleep cycle.
  • Mood stabilizers: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help anyone grappling with issues like anxiety or mood swings.

Too many people self-medicate and end up exacerbating their symptoms, become dependent on the medications, or suffer unforeseen side effects. With a doctor’s guidance, you can safely navigate the path to recovery with the right regimen.

Provide Referrals

In certain complex cases, specialized care proves necessary. If the symptoms persist or significantly interfere with your daily life, your neurologist may recommend referral to other experts. 

For example, people experiencing balance issues or dizziness might benefit from vestibular rehabilitation therapy. Meanwhile, someone with light sensitivity or eye-tracking problems might need a vision expert.

Every case of post-concussion syndrome is unique, so the treatment and recovery timeline can become varied. 

Managing Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-Concussion Syndrome

PCS isn’t curable in a traditional sense, but treatments still make an impactful difference. While they may not completely erase the condition, medical interventions bring many worthwhile rewards, such as:

  • Symptom relief: Medications and physical therapy can provide respite to persistent post-concussive symptoms that impact your emotional stability and physical comfort.
  • Enhanced daily functioning: It’s possible to regain control over your life. From enjoying a more restful sleep to being able to concentrate on tasks at hand, a neurologist in NYC can help you regain normalcy in your day-to-day activities.
  • Access to support: Treatment opens up a network of support, from medical professionals to therapists and others who are navigating similar experiences. This community can provide invaluable guidance, understanding, and comfort.
  • Reduced risk of complications: By keeping symptoms under control, you can prevent potential complications that can emerge when leaving PCS unmanaged.

Remember, many roads toward recovery are a marathon, not a sprint. Patience, persistence, and the right medical support are key to managing the condition effectively.  

How We Approach PCS

About 90% of concussion symptoms are transient, and they typically resolve within 10 to 14 days. If you are among the 10% who continue to experience symptoms, don’t lose hope. 

At Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C., we don’t believe in a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to our patients. With us, you can expect:

  • Personalized care: Every person’s experience with PCS is unique. We develop individualized treatment plans, considering your specific symptoms, medical history, and recovery goals.
  • Multi-disciplinary approach: Our team combines various domains of medicine, including neurology, psychiatry, and physical therapy, to address all aspects of your health.
  • Cutting-edge equipment: Our facility utilizes advanced diagnostic tools like MRI and CT scans to ensure accurate diagnoses.
  • Comprehensive follow-ups: We believe in providing long-term support. Our team conducts regular checkups to monitor your progress, adjust treatment as needed, and provide ongoing support.
  • Emphasis on education: We take the time to educate patients about PCS, its symptoms, and how to manage them effectively.

Reach Out To a Neurologist Today

Ignoring PCS symptoms is akin to playing with fire; it’s a gamble you simply can’t afford. Our professionals at Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. are ready to stand by your side, offering the care you need to navigate this challenging time. 

With the right help and a positive mindset, you can overcome this condition and reclaim your vibrant, fulfilling life. Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection).

Call (347) 602-9530 to jumpstart your recovery with us — same-day appointments may be available.

Many people grappling with PCS also struggle with nerve complications. Explore our blog and learn how a neurologist treats nerve pain

FAQs

How Long Does Post-Concussion Syndrome Last?

Post-concussion syndrome typically lasts for about three months, although it can persist for a year or more in some individuals. Each person’s recovery process is distinct, and several factors, including the severity of the injury, age, and overall health, can influence the duration. 

What Should You Not Do After a Concussion?

Avoiding screen time is vital in the initial days following a concussion; the bright lights and visual stimulation from smartphones, computers, and televisions can aggravate and extend undesirable symptoms. You should also minimize physical exertion and mental strain to allow the brain sufficient time to heal.

What Is the Best Treatment for Post-Concussion?

In general, most patients with post-concussion syndrome respond positively to two treatment options: medication and active rehabilitation (therapy). Both methods aim to suppress the debilitating symptoms and help you return to your regular routine as swiftly and safely as possible. 

Is it Okay To Sleep With a Concussion?

Contrary to popular myth, it’s actually important to get plenty of sleep after a concussion. Sleep is when our bodies undertake most of their healing, so depriving yourself of it can actually delay your recovery.  

About The Author

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D. is a highly respected neurologist based in New York City. With over 20 years of experience in the field of neurology, he has earned a reputation as a leading expert in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and traumatic brain injuries. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Malhotra is also a dedicated educator and researcher. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and has presented his research at national and international conferences.