Dysautonomia - A possible cause of post-concussion syndrome
Loss of balance
Difficulty with concentration/brain fog
Impaired or slow cognitive activity The symptoms are vague and non-specific. In medicine, there's a tendency and a desire to have a condition be linked to one very specific piece of anatomy. That way you can treat the diseased organ and cure the illness. The reality is that a head injury is likely disrupting multiple body parts simultaneously. The higher centers of the brain aren't the only things that get scrambled during a concussion. A concussion is likely damaging multiple areas in the brain along with the inner ear organs, the neck, the jaw, and the eyes. Since every head injury is unique in terms of velocity, direction, and magnitude, it means that each person's head injury is likely to impact their anatomy in individual ways. This is where you can have a lot of variation in how someone with post-concussion syndrome looks symptomatically. Another struggle is that different body parts can create similar symptoms. An injury to the neck can cause a feeling of vertigo just like an injury to an inner ear organ. An injury to the neck can also cause headaches symptoms just like the eyes or the vessels in the brain. Some doctors are looking at another potential cause of persistent concussive symptoms called dysautonomia.
Dysautonomia - A Fight Between 2 Super Systems Dysautonomia is a condition where the brain loses normal control of the internal organ systems of your body. Dysautonomia can show up in organs like the digestive system, bladder, glands, and pupils. Classically, these disorders show up in the cardiovascular system by affecting your heart rate and blood pressure. The most common disorders linked to dysautonomia are:
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) - an illness characterized by rapid heart beat to 150-200 bpm at rest
Neurocardiogenic syncope - a disorder characterized by unpredictable fainting attacks. When people have these disorders then the broken function of the nervous system causes people to feel dizzy, in a fog, extremely fatigued, light headed, and anxious. When you read those symptoms on paper (or screen) it doesn't sound like much, but the way those symptoms persist can drive someone mad. People don't just have a brain fog, they are scared and frustrated that their brain won't allow them to focus and accomplish a task. People don't just have fatigue, they have an inability to socialize and be effective at work and at home because of exhaustion. People don't just have dizziness, they are worried about driving and being in open spaces because their body is betraying them. People don't just have a rapid heart beat, they have fear and anxiety that this next attack could put them in the emergency room. Having dysautonomia whether it's an illness on it's own like POTS, or part of another illness like MS can make life much harder and depressing, because treatment for the illness is really limited.