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Long term effects of concussion

20 February, 2019


Long term effects of concussion

Approximate reading time: 1-2 minutes

Concussion symptoms are most commonly short lived - resolving in 7 - 10 days. For some - around 15% - the pain, fogginess and other symptoms can last weeks, months or years.

Long term concussion symptoms are varied with the most common being:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness / vertigo
  • Neck stiffness
  • Spatial awareness deficits
  • ‘Foggy head’ such as memory difficulties 

There are many factors which can lead to an individual being more vulnerable to prolonged symptoms. The likelihood is not related to the severity of the injury. Losing consciousness isn't a necessary either.

The probably for sustained symptoms increases in:

  • Females
  • Migraine sufferers
  • Mental health such as anxiety or depression
  • Learning difficulties such as dyslexia
  • Behavioural concerns such as attention deficit (ADHD / ADD)



Increased risk of injury

Musculoskeletal injuries are more common after concussions (Howell et al 2018). For a full year after the concussion there's a greater risk (Lynall et al. 2016) (Nordström et al 2016). Another study by Nyberg (2015) found that post concussion players returning to sport had more severe knee injuries. There’s been found to be particular associations with ankle sprains, knee injuries and leg muscle strains (Gilbert et al 2016).

The research doesn’t know why this is the case yet. The current theory is that there’s alterations in the motor and attentional control in the brain that remain after a concussion.

We know that there’s changes in balance and walking style after a concussion (Howell et al 2019). These can be clues as to how the brain is recovering.


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About the Author

As a chiropractor and neuro-rehabilitation therapist, Cassie loves to keep learning about the body-brain connection. Concussions are a prime example of this intersection.


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