What Is the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale?

Reviewed on 3/15/2021

For people who have had a concussion, they will be asked to take The Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ), which is used to measure the severity of post-concussion symptoms. It will ask the patient 16 questions about physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms, and to rate the severity of each symptom on a scale of 0 to 4.
For people who have had a concussion, they will be asked to take The Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ), which is used to measure the severity of post-concussion symptoms. It will ask the patient 16 questions about physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms, and to rate the severity of each symptom on a scale of 0 to 4.

The Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ) is a patient self-assessment tool used to help measure the severity of post-concussion symptoms. It contains 16 questions about physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms, and asks patients to rate the severity of each symptom on a scale of 0 to 4. 

The symptoms patients are asked to assess include: 

The patient is asked to rate each symptom above on a scale as follows: 

  • 0 = Not experienced at all 
  • 1 = No more of a problem 
  • 2 = A mild problem 
  • 3 = A moderate problem 
  • 4 = A severe problem 

The lower the score, the less severe the condition.

What Is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

Post-concussion syndrome, also called persistent post-concussion symptoms, refers to symptoms of a brain injury (concussion) that persist longer than the normal expected time frame for recovery.

What Are Symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome?

Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include: 

  • Headache or feeling “pressure” in the head (most common)
  • Dizziness 
  • Neck pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Balance problems
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Fuzzy, double, or blurred vision, difficulty reading
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep problems
  • Memory problems
  • Problems paying attention
  • Problems thinking clearly
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Feeling slowed down mentally
  • Reduced tolerance to stress, emotional excitement, or alcohol
  • Decreases in taste and smell (rare)

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What Causes Post-Concussion Syndrome?

Post-concussion syndrome results from a concussion, which is a form of brain injury. 

Causes of brain injuries include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falling 
  • Accidents that occur from daily activities
  • Injuries from contact sports such as football, ice hockey, soccer, and boxing
  • Combat injuries such as from blasts and bullet wounds

Risk factors that may cause a person to be more likely to develop post-concussion syndrome include: 

  • Severe impact
  • Being hit twice in a short time frame
  • Four or more concussion symptoms that occur in the early stages of the concussion 
  • Longer duration of initial concussion symptoms
  • Significant visual symptoms right after injury

Causes of persistent post-concussion symptoms can include:

How Is Post-Concussion Syndrome Diagnosed?

Post-concussion syndrome is diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination, along with tests such as: 

What Is the Treatment for Post-Concussion Syndrome?

Treatment of post-concussion syndrome is aimed at relieving symptoms, and may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Graduated exercise therapy 
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Vision therapy
  • Light therapy (photobiomodulation) (currently being researched)

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Reviewed on 3/15/2021
References
https://www.concussionalliance.org/post-concussion-syndrome

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/postconcussion-syndrome-the-basics?search=Post-Concussion%20Syndrome&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~16&usage_type=default&display_rank=2

https://www.physio-pedia.com/The_Rivermead_Post-Concussion_Symptoms_Questionnaire_%28RPQ%29