John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
A person with a single, isolated concussion generally has a very good
recovery outcome with few long-term effects.
The main symptom of postconcussive syndrome is persistent headache for one to two weeks, lasting up to months after the injury.
Sometimes people with postconcussive syndrome will have
dizziness, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, or problems doing
certain types of activities such as reading.
Nausea and vomiting may occur.
Affected individuals may also experience other subtle cognitive or emotional
Anywhere from 20%-90% of affected individuals develop at least one symptom of postconcussive syndrome within the first month following injury, and about 40% have at least three symptoms by three months post-injury.
Postconcussive syndrome is more common after a serious concussion than after a mild one.
Symptoms usually are relieved with mild pain relievers such as
acetaminophen (Tylenol) or
ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).
Postconcussive syndrome usually goes away on its own with time. Some people may have symptoms that do not go away, even after months. In this situation, contact
a doctor. Sometimes tests (such as an
MRI or cognitive
function testing) or consultations with a neurologist can better assess this problem.
Concussions are known to be cumulative. That is, each time you have a
concussion it is easier to get another concussion in the future.
Repeated concussions can lead to long-term memory loss, psychiatric
disorders, brain damage, and other neurologic problems.
If a person has had a number of concussions, the doctor likely will advise
the person to avoid the activities that may put them at risk for future head injuries
and to discontinue contact sports. Professional athletes are particularly prone
to the effects of cumulative concussions.