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Building a Case for Post-Concussive Syndrome

 May 24, 2017

By  Deborah L Weiner Katz, OTR/L, CCM, CLCP

Last month was Brain Injury Awareness Month and we used this space to discuss Paroxysmal Sympathetic Hyperactivity, a nervous system disorder known as storming. It just so happens that the medical experts at AdvancedRM are specialists when it comes to brain and spinal cord injuries. Our passion for such subjects is plainly evidenced in post, after post, after post. Another related area of interest has to do with post-concussive syndrome.

Concussions can take place any time a blow or jolt to the head occurs. They are most commonly associated with contact sports and motor vehicle accidents. Experienced brain injury lawyers tend to offer free consultations when the cause is the latter, to determine the full scope of the injury. Symptoms tend to fall into three categories:

Physical Symptoms

Also known as somatic symptoms, these tend to be the most immediate results of a concussion. First arrivers on the scene of an accident will ask about neck pain. Then, headaches tend to follow in the first few days. If dizziness is reported, it is important to differentiate between dizziness and vertigo. Feeling off balance is ordinary but vertigo is caused by an injury to the inner ear. Vertigo typically occurs briefly after movement and results in a sense of spinning or rotation. Following that, nausea and motion sickness might round out this collection of symptoms.

You may remember our blog written about keeping a pain diary.  Doing this for your headaches can help your doctor tend to your needs more effectively and efficiently.  Refer to our blog for how to and tips to keeping this diary.

Other physical symptoms include photosensitivity, insomnia and fatigue. Photosensitivity is simply sensitivity to light, usually accompanying the headaches. The stress resulting from all of the above could easily disrupt sleep, leading to fatigue and possibly insomnia.

Cognitive Symptoms

One might sense some sort of natural progression, from bad to worse, when reviewing these symptoms. Please remember to leave such assessment to the professionals. With that said, someone who has suffered a mild traumatic brain injury could find themselves losing track of thoughts or actions. It may be nothing serious, just mild distraction. However, it is still worth noting in a consultation. Similarly, if a person is experiencing memory problems or mental stress, it should be reported but still is nothing to panic about.

The reason for our caution is that a specialist will not jump to any conclusions should any of the above be reported. There wont even necessarily be any medication involved. Instead, some lifestyle adjustments will probably be recommended. Get more sleep, lighten your load and related advice are most likely.

Emotional Symptoms

Now, the accident may very well cause additional trauma, not just to the brain. Memories of the events can easily trigger anxiety. A mental health rule of thumb is to seek help if it impedes your daily functioning. Some anxiety after a traumatic event is normal. It will subside. If not, you might want to seek professional help.

Be wary of anxiety’s irksome cousin, irritability. It is not a symptom of brain injury but it does tend to lurk wherever stress is. Any spike in stress levels caused by the brain injury could produce some irritability.

The final specter in this category of symptoms could be depression. Again, it may not be directly caused by the injury, but loss of work, legal problems, financial struggles and a combination of any of the above could definitely trigger a spell of depression. Still, stick to the rule of thumb and seek help if it is interfering with your recovery.

Some summary of the above will make your case once you seek a brain injury or accident lawyer. AdvancedRM can handle the full management of your case in conjunction with your attorney. We can also document time lost from work and figure out how your future earning potential might be affected by the incident. The fact remains that post-concussive syndrome is not a wholly visible one. You wont be wearing a cast or showing up in a wheelchair. These hidden issues are what care managers help to uncover and can assist your attorney in building your case.  We can help. Call us for a free consultation.

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