Chiropractor Meridian ID Spencer Zimmerman Long Term Effects Of A Concussion

It only takes a second for this injury to occur and to alter your life.

Your symptoms may appear immediately or take a few days as the adrenaline wears off. The most common symptoms are fatigue, brain fog, headaches, neck pain, attention, mood changes, and alterations in sleep. Continue reading to learn more from our Meridian ID chiropractor.

You go to your provider knowing that things aren’t right and hopefully were given a diagnosis of a concussion. Unfortunately, many are not given a diagnosis at all and for many who are they are given minimal information about the injury and told to take it easy and the symptoms will go away.

Days become weeks and weeks become months, but yet the symptoms are still there. Is this something that will become your new normal or is there a way to recover?


It used to be thought that nearly everyone would recover from a concussion within a couple of weeks, but most of the research over the past 5 years doesn’t support this. When looking at those who are diagnosed in the emergency department 56% are not recovered by a year (2). Other research suggests about 50% of individuals are still not recovered by a year (4,5,6).

If this has you fuming, that is okay. In school, providers of any type receive minimal education at best on concussions and most are using information

they learned in school which is completely outdated. This is why it is so important to find a provider who is obsessed with these injuries and stays up on the latest research. This will allow you to get the most up to date care without being held hostage to old dogma that isn’t true.


Long-term effects are broken down into symptoms and increased risk for degenerative conditions.

The initial long-term risk are symptoms that continue to persist, this is known as persistent post-concussion syndrome. Depending on the research this is when symptoms are present for more than a month.

When we look at some of the most common symptoms that individuals experience, this leads to an understanding of what many are diagnosed with. Remember, not everyone recovers and don’t allow the concussion to be forgotten because a few months have passed. This leads to inappropriate diagnoses being given (3).

Some of the diagnoses many are given to explain their symptoms are:

  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Occipital Neuralgia
  • Cervicalgia
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia

While these may be acceptable diagnoses, these are better as symptoms versus a diagnosis and leads to a band-aid approach being used instead of root cause focused.

Now that we have discussed some of the initial diagnoses that frequently occur following the injury, what about 20-50 years down the road?

Before I list all of the things, we need to remember that these are linked to a concussion and not a guarantee you will get it as a result of a concussion. There are many other factors that either work for or against you in deciding what you end up with.

Alright, back to long-term issues that can occur following a concussion:

  • Alzheimer’s (1)
  • Parkinson’s
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Dementia (other types beyond Alzheimer’s) (1)

If you are like most when you read that list it gets your heart rate up as none of those are diagnoses anyone wants to end up with. Which is why it is important to get the best care at this present time to prevent these from occuring in the future.


Recovering and improving from a concussion is possible even years down the road. It comes down to address the different aspects of what happens in this injury. The research is becoming abundantly clear that there are some big things that occur:

  • Impaired Connectivity
  • Energy Imbalance
  • Immune Changes
  • Blood Flow and Oxygen Changes

It can be a lot of work to get these things addressed, but when each one of these is evaluated and treated this allows for the best recovery.

Evaluating these areas should involve specialized eye movement, balance, and brain wave testing. Comprehensive labs looking at factors that impact overall and brain health such as blood sugar, thyroid, hormones, and much more. Reviewing prior issues that were present before the injury to gain an appreciation of how those impact where you are at today.

If you haven’t had an evaluation like this performed, then you’re not alone. Many have brief evaluations that aren’t sufficient for concussion as a full evaluation takes closer to 2 hours due to the different aspects that should be looked into.

If you’re ready to take the next steps and change your present and future then reach out to us today.


  1. Barnes DE, Byers AL, Gardner RC, Seal KH, Boscardin WJ, Yaffe K. Association of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury With and Without Loss of Consciousness With Dementia in US Military Veterans. JAMA Neurol.2018;75(9):1055–1061. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.0815
  2. Debbie Y. Madhok, MD1,2; Robert M. Rodriguez, MD1; Jason Barber, MS3; et al JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(8):e2223245. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.23245
  3. Eli Fried, Uri Balla, Merav Catalogna, Eran Kozer, Adi Oren-Amit, Amir Hadanny, Shai Efrati. Persistent post-concussive syndrome in children after mild traumatic brain injury is prevalent and vastly underdiagnosed. Scientific Reports, 2022; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-08302-0
  4. Hiploylee, C., Dufort, P. A., Davis, H. S., Wennberg, R. A., Tartaglia, M. C., Mikulis, D., Hazrati, L. N., … Tator, C. H. (2017). Longitudinal Study of Postconcussion Syndrome: Not Everyone Recovers. Journal of neurotrauma, 34(8), 1511-1523.
  5. Machamer, J., Temkin, N., Dikmen, S., Nelson, L. D., Barber, J., Hwang, P., Boase, K., Stein, M. B., Sun, X., Giacino, J., McCrea, M. A., Taylor, S. R., Jain, S., Manley, G., & TRACK-TBI Investigators (2022). Symptom Frequency and Persistence in the First Year after Traumatic Brain Injury: A TRACK-TBI Study. Journal of neurotrauma, 39(5-6), 358–370.\
  6. McInnes K, Friesen CL, MacKenzie DE, Westwood DA, Boe SG (2017) Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and chronic cognitive impairment: A scoping review. PLoS ONE 12(4): e0174847.