Knowing about the long-term effects of concussions earlier on would have pushed me to create a more constructive recovery plan for myself. It took me more than 6 years to figure it all out the hard way. Now, I’m here to share my lessons with you – so that your road may be less bumpy than mine.
The long-term effects of my concussion
In 2012, I sustained a concussion. For now, I’ll just tell you the short story, but if you want, you can read the whole story on my about page. More than a week had passed by the time I noticed the concussion symptoms, which had come with a delay.
My GP told me to rest and so I did. A week later, I only felt worse. So I was referred to a neurologist. He told me to take a rest, so I did again.
And this is when my concussion shifted “into” the zone of post-concussion syndrome. It’s also called “concussive syndrome” or PCS. This so-called “syndrome” is our starting point while looking into the long-term effects of a concussion.
What is post-concussion syndrome?
You can see post-concussion syndrome as a concussion that still gives you symptoms after more than about 21 days since the incident.
So, if you feel all right within about 21 days after sustaining a concussion, you’ve officially “only” had a concussion. If you still experience symptoms after this, you officially have post-concussion syndrome.
Concussive syndrome is treatable
Please don’t be scared by the word “syndrome”, because it’s not as unfixable as it sounds. Besides, it’s a medical term to classify your symptoms – it’s not like something changes for you after 21 days! The most important thing to remember is that post-concussion syndrome is more usual and treatable than we (and doctors, too) might think.
Delayed concussion symptoms
A lot of us, especially those with a mild concussion, can already be on our way to post-concussion syndrome. That’s because once we realize we have a concussion, because our symptoms are delayed. This means that right after the incident, aside from shock and physical injury, nothing seems wrong with our brains. Whether it’s medically proven or just our own observation: we seem okay.
My concussion symptoms came really late
It was this way for me. It’s true, my concussion had caused some after effects in the hours that followed. For one, I was all shaken up because of my fall. And right when I got home, I skipped dinner and fell asleep with my clothes on – not to awake until the next morning. But for more than a week, I could do my work, interact and do groceries like always.
And then the symptoms started to show
It truly and slowly began to feel like it had all been a really bad dream… And then, 1 day, it started to dawn on me: something was wrong. It was more of a sluggish thought, a gut feeling, than a specific and crystal clear idea of the effects the concussion had on me.
These delayed symptoms truly surprised me, because I simply didn’t know that I got a concussion in the first place! The following is what a delayed concussion could look like: it’s how it was for me.
Concussion side effects
I call these first symptoms ‘side effects’, because it was in the results that I realized something was wrong with me. I couldn’t clearly specify the symptoms that were there.
Let me examplify.
I couldn’t deal with work
One of my concussion effects was that I couldn’t stand being in the office anymore. There, I felt bombarded with all the noise, the TL lights, the monitor and the people requiring my interaction. I couldn’t plan things anymore, whether it was making a schedule for work or calculating the time I needed to travel.
I’d get emotional about everything
At home, the normal interactions with family and friends could get me all emotional about nothing. A simple act such as having to call someone back felt like a major thing that I just could go all mad about. If I had to perform under time pressure, whether someone was waiting for me or I had to catch a train: I’d flip. It felt like there was a short circuit in my head and I’d get really angry or sad.
I couldn’t deal with traffic
Traffic felt like I was under constant attack. Of course, my incident had occurred there, so I was battling this every day. But also the brain power necessary to navigate safely wasn’t within my ability any longer. A short bicycle ride of 20 minutes could exhaust me and make me shake because of the stimuli overload alone.
These effects are clear signs of a concussion
Concussion after effects like these come sometime after the concussion incident, whether delayed or not. In a way, they make sure our concussion doesn’t go untreated. We automatically want to heal our broken brains and function normally again.
So, a lot of people who have post-concussion syndrome, have an untreated concussion – at least initially. It just has everything to do with the 21 day mark that switches the diagnosis of a concussion into post-concussion.
If we sustain a concussion and we don’t know it, the delayed concussion symptoms only become clear after we notice the concussion effects. Chances are then that our concussion has gone untreated by the time we’re close to the 21 days. This is what happened for me, too.
What happens if you don’t treat a concussion?
So what happens if you don’t treat a concussion right away? Of course you want to treat a concussion as soon as possible, like you’d want to cure any other injury. But if you didn’t catch it before, it’s okay. What matters is what you do once you know.
The cure for concussion and pcs are similar
The recovery work that needs to be done in case of a concussion and of post-concussion syndrome is 95% similar. And you can do it from the moment you discover you need treatment. So, don’t let yourself be discouraged by medical terms and benchmark days. Everyone is unique and every concussion is unique.
We are all human, though, and we operate by the same biology. That’s why the concussion cure is almost completely the same for all of us – whether we have a concussion of 7 days or 5 years.
Can post-concussion syndrome be permanent?
I guess post-concussion syndrome can be permanent. That is, if we decide to do nothing to heal ourselves. Or if we don’t do the right things to recover, and don’t learn from everything we try. So, the other way around: post-concussion syndrome doesn’t have to be permanent at all!
MY RECOVERY STAGNATED FOR A LONG TIME
I only had post-concussion symptoms years later because I believed what I was told. Doctors told me I would never recover. That I would have to live with my symptoms: this was it and my brain damage would remain as was. They believed in a permanent concussion.
THEN I FOUND I NEEDED TO DO THE WORK
In the end, I didn’t accept this anymore, because it was a road leading to self-destruction. I dug deep into cutting edge neuroscience, biology, neuropsychology and related fields of study. And I experimented a lot on myself – and developed the method that completely made me recover. It took me more than 6 years to fully heal myself – and then some.
YOU CAN CURE YOUR CONCUSSION FASTER
It didn’t have to take this long, and it doesn’t for you. I didn’t have the resources that you have now: you have me. I’ll teach you all I learned and developed, all that work and didn’t work. So that you can use it to your advantage and cure your own concussion way faster than I did. Using the many shortcuts and tools I created for you, we can make post-concussion syndrome a thing of your past.
What are the long-term effects of a concussion?
The long-term effects of a concussion that has gone untreated, are for 50% similar to the symptoms of a concussion. Half of the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome are simply the lasting effects of a concussion.
So whatever symptoms we had during the time we officially had a “concussion” and not “post-concussion syndrome”, are still there. Our bodies don’t bother with terminology: post-concussion syndrome just gives a prolonged effect of the concussion symptoms.
The real long-term effects of concussions
To me, post-concussion syndrome was incredibly harder to cope with than a “simple” concussion. And that’s because of the other 50%. By the time I was experiencing the full blow of long-term effects of post-concussion syndrome, my life had fallen apart for a big part.
I didn’t know who I was anymore and I didn’t know what I wanted from life – what life wanted from me. The long-term side effects of a concussion are financial, social and psychological.
The lasting effects are all over one’s life
These side effects happened to me, and I’ve seen and heard them happen to many others with concussion syndrome. Some of the effects are PTSD, burnout, depression, inability to earn an income or study, social isolation, inability to maintain healthy relationships, and more. A post-concussion syndrome is everything a concussion is plus the toll charged by a broken brain in the long run.
You can undo these effects for sure!
Don’t ever read this and think that that’s a road we can’t come back from. Nothing is less true than that! We have so much more control than you’d think right now. So stick with me if you recognize yourself in this situation and also: seek the help of your GP or a psychologist. I have done so many times and I’m grateful for some good psychologists who have helped me forward.
How long does a concussion last?
So, how long does a concussion last?
Your concussion recovery time depends on at least 3 factors:
- The state of your body
- The environment you’re in
- The things you do for your recovery
This means that we can’t say how long it takes to recover from a concussion for you specifically.
percentages are hard to determine
If you want numbers, science is not that far yet. Of course, numbers are published, also in scientific papers like these. But the truth is, PCS is not researched as much as needed yet. I’ve have been told that about 90% of all people with a concussion recover within 21 days. That would mean that about 10% of all people with a concussion take longer than that to recover.
However, given the state of medical follow-up that I experienced in my recovery process (none) and given the peers I’ve encountered so far, my gut says more than 10% of people with a concussion need more than 21 days to recover.
Don’t focus on averages and numbers
Whatever the numbers: they are no use to your specific case. How would it help you to know you are 1 of a 10% or a 30% group? I believe it doesn’t. What does help is this nugget of good news: the 3 factors are within your circle of influence for a huge part! Especially if you know what to do. And this means that you get to influence how long your concussion and your symptoms will last.
Get action now
I have created FREE and downloadable files that you can get to work with right now. They will help you influence the 3 areas that determine your concussion recovery time:
1) You could start with considering your dietary intake: what harms you and what are brain foods that will help you recover? Download the illustrated brain foods PDF
2) You will find that you have more energy left to spend on your recovery if you optimize your energy levels. That’s why I made the power grid PDF for you
3) Based on my lessons, I made the booklet ‘3 ways to speed up your concussion recovery’. These strategies would have literally saved me years of recovery time.
Also, if you felt you could relate to my story and any of the side-effects I described, leave a comment for me below.