Treatment

There is no specific treatment for post-concussion syndrome. Your doctor will treat the individual symptoms you're experiencing. The types of symptoms and their frequency are different for everyone.

Headaches

Medications commonly used for migraines or tension-type headaches, including some antidepressants, antihypertensive agents and anti-epileptic agents, appear to be effective when these types of headaches are associated with post-concussion syndrome. Medications are usually specific to the individual, so you and your doctor will discuss which are most appropriate for you.

Keep in mind that the overuse of over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers may contribute to persistent post-concussion headaches.

Memory and thinking problems

No medications are currently recommended specifically for the treatment of cognitive problems after mild traumatic brain injury. Time may be the best therapy for post-concussion syndrome if you have cognitive problems, as most of them go away on their own in the weeks to months after the injury.

Certain forms of cognitive therapy may be helpful, including focused rehabilitation that provides training in the specific areas that you need to strengthen. Some people may need occupational or speech therapy. Stress can increase intensity of cognitive symptoms and learning stress management strategies can be helpful to decrease cognitive symptoms. Relaxation therapy also may help.

Depression and anxiety

The symptoms of post-concussion syndrome often improve after the affected person learns that there is a cause for his or her symptoms and that they will likely improve with time. Education about the disorder can ease a person's fears and help provide peace of mind.

If you're experiencing new or increasing depression or anxiety after a concussion, some treatment options include:

  • Psychotherapy. It may be helpful to discuss your concerns with a psychologist or psychiatrist who has experience in working with people with brain injury.
  • Medication. To combat anxiety or depression, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed.