When there is an opportunity to absorb information provided by experts in the field of concussion rehabilitation and recovery, I jump at the chance. I attended the first conference ever held in Canada focusing specifically on concussions occurring in women and girls.
In my practice, I had definitely noticed that a higher percentage of my clients suffering from a prolonged recovery from their concussion or Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS), were women.
Was it just me? Is it just Kingston, Ontario? Is there something in our water?
Turns out, no. There is a growing amount of evidence to indicate that women are at a higher risk for experiencing Post Concussion Syndrome. The research out there right now is trying to figure out WHY?
Here is a summary of some of the really interesting information presented at the conference.
- What increases your risk of experiencing Post Concussion Syndrome?
- having more severe concussion symptoms at onset of injury
- having a greater number of symptoms at onset of injury
- having a history of depression or anxiety
- your sex (women > men)
- having a history of migraines or insomnia
- having a history of ADHD
- your age
- There are many factors that are currently being researched to figure out why more women take longer to recover:
- Physical factors – head and neck size and strength
- Cognitive factors – different cognitive strengths than males
- Stress factors – women are more likely to experience chronic or daily stress (more women working, with an average of 8/10 women still completing the majority of housekeeping tasks)
- Sleep – women have a higher incidence of insomnia
- Pre-existing issues – women more likely to experience pre-injury migraines
- Hormones – brain injury interfering with the Pituitary gland which controls our hormones
Conclusion of the conference? We need more research, but we can’t ignore what the current research is saying.
Treatment for women and girls with concussion should be unique to their pre-existing issues, the nature of their injury, their symptoms and their individual recovery path. I will be incorporating this updated research into my practice to optimize the recovery path of the women and girls I work with, who are suffering from a concussion.