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Acupuncture for Post Concussion Syndrome Recovery

acupuncture for post concussion syndrome

In the aftermath of a concussion, many individuals find themselves grappling with a constellation of persistent symptoms—headaches, dizziness, cognitive difficulties, and emotional instability—that can linger for weeks, months, or even longer. This condition, known as post-concussion syndrome (PCS), can significantly impact one's quality of life and daily functioning. For those seeking relief, finding effective post concussion syndrome treatment is crucial. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of post concussion syndrome and explore why Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture for post concussion syndrome offers the best option for recovery.

Understanding Post Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a complex disorder where various symptoms persist for weeks, months, or even years after a concussion, which is a mild traumatic brain injury. These symptoms can significantly impact a person's quality of life, affecting their physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. Concussions typically result from a blow to the head or a sudden jolt that causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull, leading to chemical changes and potential damage to brain cells. While most people recover from a concussion within a few weeks, some individuals continue to experience lingering symptoms, leading to PCS.

The exact cause of post-concussion syndrome is not entirely understood, and it is likely a combination of physiological and psychological factors. Some theories suggest that PCS may result from ongoing brain dysfunction or structural changes not detectable by standard imaging techniques. Psychological factors, such as stress and anxiety about the injury and its aftermath, can also play a significant role in the persistence of symptoms. Certain individuals may be more susceptible to PCS due to pre-existing conditions, genetic factors, or the severity of the initial concussion.

Children and teenagers are particularly susceptible to prolonged recovery times and more severe symptoms due to their developing brains. Older adults are also at higher risk for PCS, partly because they may have pre-existing conditions or a decreased capacity for neuroplasticity, which is the brain's ability to reorganize itself after injury. Middle-aged adults, while not as vulnerable as the youngest and oldest age groups, can still experience PCS, particularly if they have a history of previous concussions or head injuries.

Gender differences have also been observed in the prevalence and severity of PCS. Studies suggest that women are more likely than men to develop PCS after a concussion. The reasons for this discrepancy are not fully understood, but may involve hormonal differences and variations in brain structure and function. Women may also experience different symptom profiles, with a higher incidence of migraines, dizziness, and emotional disturbances.

Athletes, particularly those involved in contact sports like football, hockey, and soccer, are at higher risk for concussions and subsequent PCS. Military personnel are another group at increased risk due to the nature of their work, which often involves exposure to blasts and other head injury mechanisms.

Potential Symptoms of Post Concussion Syndrome

The symptoms of post-concussion syndrome are varied. These symptoms can fluctuate in intensity and may be triggered or exacerbated by physical or mental exertion. The persistence of these symptoms can be frustrating and debilitating, making it challenging for individuals to return to their normal activities and responsibilities.

Potential symptoms of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) include:


Persistent or recurring headaches that can range from mild to severe, often resembling tension-type headaches or migraines.

Dizziness or vertigo

A sensation of spinning or losing balance, which can occur suddenly or persistently.


Extreme tiredness that doesn't improve with rest and can interfere with daily activities.


A feeling of sickness in the stomach that can lead to vomiting, often worsened by movement.

Sensitivity to light

Discomfort or pain in the eyes when exposed to bright light, which can make it difficult to be in well-lit environments.

Sensitivity to noise

Discomfort or pain in response to loud sounds, making it challenging to be in noisy environments.

Balance problems

Difficulty maintaining stability, which can lead to unsteadiness or frequent falls.

Visual disturbances

Issues such as blurred vision, double vision, or difficulty focusing on objects.

Sleep disturbances

Problems with sleeping patterns, including insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep) or excessive sleepiness during the day.

Difficulty concentrating

Challenges in focusing on tasks or maintaining attention, which can affect work or school performance.

Memory problems

Difficulty recalling information, recent events, or learning new things.

Slowed thinking or processing speed

A feeling that thoughts are slower than usual, making it hard to process information quickly.


A state of being unclear or unsure about one’s surroundings or tasks, leading to disorientation.

Difficulty with problem-solving or decision-making

Struggles with making choices or solving everyday problems efficiently.


Increased sensitivity to stress, leading to frustration or anger more easily than usual.


Feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease that can be overwhelming and persistent.


Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed.

Mood swings

Rapid changes in mood, from happiness to sadness or anger without a clear reason.

Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

A persistent ringing, buzzing, or hissing sound in one or both ears without an external source.

Sensitivity to smell

Heightened awareness or discomfort with certain odors that are normally tolerable.

Sensitivity to taste

Altered taste sensations, making certain foods or drinks unpleasant.

Reduced coordination

Difficulty in performing tasks that require precise movements, leading to clumsiness.


Increased tendency to drop things or stumble, often due to impaired motor skills.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Post Concussion Syndrome

Acupuncture, an ancient practice rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has gained recognition for its potential in treating post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific nerve rich areas of the body, activating a healing response. Some of the benefits of acupuncture for PCS include:

Pain Relief

Acupuncture can effectively alleviate headaches and other types of pain associated with PCS.

Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. This process can help reduce the frequency and severity of headaches and other persistent pains that often accompany PCS.

Reduction of Dizziness and Vertigo

Acupuncture can help stabilize balance and reduce the sensation of dizziness. By targeting acupuncture points related to the vestibular system, which is responsible for balance, can help mitigate dizziness and vertigo. This improvement in balance can significantly enhance daily functioning and reduce the risk of falls.

Improvement of Sleep Quality

Acupuncture can address sleep disturbances, promoting better sleep quality by regulating the autonomic nervous system. This regulation can lead to deeper, more restful sleep, reducing insomnia and excessive daytime fatigue associated with PCS.

Enhancement of Cognitive Function

By increasing blood flow to the brain and reducing inflammation, acupuncture can enhance cognitive function. This improvement can help alleviate the cognitive symptoms of PCS, such as difficulty concentrating and memory problems.

Repairing the Brain and Nervous System

Acupuncture has been shown to modulate the central nervous system, promoting neuroplasticity—the brain's ability to reorganize and heal itself. By stimulating specific points on the body, acupuncture can promote the release of neurotrophic factors, which support neuronal growth and repair.

Reduction of Anxiety and Depression

Acupuncture has been shown to regulate neurotransmitter levels, including serotonin and dopamine, which play crucial roles in mood regulation. This balancing effect can help alleviate anxiety and depression, promoting emotional stability.

Decreased Sensitivity to Light and Noise

By calming the nervous system and reducing hyper-reactivity, acupuncture can help desensitize the heightened responses to light and noise that many PCS sufferers experience.

Acupuncture offers a natural, non-invasive way to address a wide range of post-concussion symptoms, helping individuals achieve a more complete and sustainable recovery.

Benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Post Concussion Syndrome

For thousands of years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been using botanical formulas to promote health and healing. Modern research has validated the use of these natural remedies in many neurological conditions, including post concussion syndrome (PCS). Some benefits of TCM for PCS include:

Pain Relief

Certain herbs, such as Peony (Bai Shao 白芍) and Cnidium (Chuan Xiong 川芎), have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. These herbs can improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, and stop pain, providing relief from the headaches associated with PCS.

Reduction of Dizziness and Vertigo

Herbs like Gastrodia (Tian Ma 天麻) and Uncaria (Gou Teng 鉤藤) are traditionally used to calm the liver and extinguish wind, terms in TCM that refer to stabilizing internal imbalances that can cause dizziness and vertigo. These herbs help maintain equilibrium and reduce the disorienting effects of vertigo.

Improvement of Sleep Quality

Herbs like Sour Jujube Seed (Suan Zao Ren 酸枣仁) and Poria (Fu Ling 茯苓) are known for their calming and sedative effects. These herbs help regulate sleep patterns and promote deeper, more restful sleep, alleviating the sleep disturbances common in PCS.

Enhancement of Cognitive Function

Herbs such as acorus (Shi Chang Pu 石菖蒲) and Polygala (Yuan Zhi 元志) have been clinically shown to enhance mental clarity and cognitive function. These herbs can help alleviate cognitive symptoms like difficulty concentrating and memory problems.

Reduction of Anxiety and Depression

Herbs such as Albizia Bark (He Huan Pi 合歡皮) and Flowery Knotwood (Ye Jiao Teng 夜交藤) are used to regulate neurotransmitters, reducing anxiety and depression and promoting a sense of calm and emotional well-being.

Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments are typically personalized to the individual. A licensed practitioner will conduct a thorough evaluation, considering factors such as the patient's overall health, specific symptoms, and underlying causes of their trigeminal neuralgia. Based on this assessment, the practitioner will create a custom herbal formula, which might be taken as teas, powders, capsules, or tinctures. The combination and dosage of herbs are tailored to address both the symptoms and root causes of the condition.

While TCM can offer significant benefits, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment. TCM should be administered by a qualified practitioner to ensure the correct identification of herbs and appropriate dosages.


Recovery from post-concussion syndrome (PCS) can be enhanced with lifestyle modifications, dietary choices, and natural therapies. Here are some effective natural options for PCS and their detailed benefits:


Rest and Sleep

Rest is crucial for brain recovery after a concussion. Quality sleep helps the brain heal and reduces symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and cognitive difficulties. Creating a calming bedtime routine, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and creating a sleep-conducive environment (cool, dark, and quiet) can enhance sleep quality.



Staying well-hydrated helps maintain optimal brain function and can reduce headaches and dizziness associated with PCS. Drinking at least eight glasses of water daily supports overall health and aids in the recovery process.


Balanced Diet

Consuming a nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats provides essential nutrients that support brain health. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts) have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce brain inflammation. Antioxidant-rich foods (such as berries, leafy greens, and nuts) protect brain cells from damage.


Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation techniques help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which are common in PCS. Regular practice can improve concentration, emotional stability, and overall mental well-being. Techniques like deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation can be particularly beneficial.


Light Exercise

Gentle exercises, such as walking, yoga, or stretching, can improve circulation, enhance mood, and reduce fatigue without overexerting the brain. It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase activity levels based on tolerance and guidance from healthcare professionals.


Cognitive Exercises

Cognitive exercises such as puzzles, reading, and memory games help maintain and improve cognitive function. These activities should be done in moderation to avoid mental fatigue and should be balanced with adequate rest periods.


Omega-3 Supplements

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil supplements, have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. They can support brain health and reduce the inflammation and cognitive symptoms associated with PCS. Consulting with a healthcare provider before starting any supplements is advised.


Magnesium-Rich Foods and Supplements

Magnesium supports nervous system function and can help alleviate headaches and improve sleep quality. Foods high in magnesium include spinach, almonds, and black beans. Supplements can also be considered, but it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for appropriate dosing.

Limiting Screen Time

Excessive screen time can exacerbate symptoms such as headaches, eye strain, and difficulty concentrating. Limiting screen time and taking frequent breaks can help manage these symptoms and allow the brain to rest.

Incorporating these natural options into daily routines can support the management of post-concussion syndrome and promote a more comfortable and effective recovery. It’s important to tailor these strategies to individual needs and consult healthcare providers for personalized advice.

Speed Up Your Recovery from Post Concussion Syndrome

In conclusion, managing post concussion syndrome (PCS) involves understanding its complex symptoms and utilizing effective natural treatments. Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture are among the most effective natural ways to support and enhance your recovery after a concussion.

At Empowered You Acupuncture, we specialize in integrative approaches to neurological conditions like PCS, offering tailored treatments that harness the power of acupuncture and herbal medicine.

If you or a loved one is struggling with PCS, don't hesitate to take action today! Schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable team at Empowered You Acupuncture to explore how acupuncture for post concussion syndrome can help you regain control over your health and well-being. Your path to a brighter, symptom-free future begins here!


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