Postconcussion Syndromeaccording to TCM

Symptom family: Neurological Disorders

What is Postconcussion Syndrome?

Postconcussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which a constellation of symptoms—headaches, dizziness, cognitive disturbances, emotional irritability, and sometimes insomnia—persist long after the initial head injury.

Symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years, significantly affecting an individual's quality of life. This syndrome follows a concussion, a type of traumatic brain injury that temporarily disrupts brain function, often resulting from a blow to the head, violent shaking of the head, or forceful impact.

How does TCM view Postconcussion Syndrome?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches postconcussion syndrome with a holistic perspective, emphasizing the interconnection between the body, mind, and environment. TCM identifies this condition as a disruption of Qi (vital energy) flow and Blood circulation within the body, often attributed to the invasion of pathogenic factors such as Wind or the stagnation of Qi and Blood.

The diagnosis and treatment are highly individualized, focusing on identifying and correcting the underlying disharmony patterns, aiming to restore the body's natural balance and facilitate healing.

Causes of Postconcussion Syndrome According to TCM

From a TCM standpoint, postconcussion syndrome may arise from several underlying disharmonies (patterns). One common cause is the Stagnation of Qi and Blood, resulting from the traumatic injury, leading to headaches and cognitive disturbances.

Another cause could be the invasion of External Wind, which disrupts the flow of Qi in the Channels and can manifest as dizziness and emotional irritability. Identifying these patterns is crucial for tailoring the treatment to the individual's specific needs, addressing not just the symptoms but the root cause of the syndrome.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Postconcussion Syndrome

TCM offers a variety of herbal formulas to address the diverse patterns associated with postconcussion syndrome. For symptoms stemming from External Wind and Qi Stagnation, Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San, featuring Szechuan Lovage Roots, can be effective. To nourish and tonify Qi and Blood, Gui Pi Tang, with its key herb Ginseng, is often recommended. In cases of dampness and deficiency, Zhen Wu Tang with Prepared aconite can help restore Yang and improve circulation.

For more complex patterns involving the obstruction of sensory orifices or internal wind, formulas like Su He Xiang Wan and Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang may be prescribed to open orifices and subdue wind, promoting a return to equilibrium. These treatments underscore TCM's nuanced approach, aiming to harmonize the body's internal environment and alleviate the multifaceted symptoms of postconcussion syndrome.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address postconcussion syndrome, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that dredge and disperse external wind
  • Formulas that tonify qi and blood
  • Formulas that warm and transform water and dampness
  • Formulas that harmonize lesser yang-warp disorders
  • Formulas that warm and open sensory orifices
  • Formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation
  • Formulas that pacify and extinguish internal wind

TCM Herbs for Postconcussion Syndrome

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address postconcussion syndrome, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Tonic herbs for qi deficiency
  • Herbs that open the orifices
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Herbs that warm the interior and/or expel cold
  • Cool/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness
  • Purgative herbs that drain downward

"Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency" recommended for postconcussion syndrome

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Ginseng (Ren Shen) Gui Pi Tang
Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) Gui Pi Tang
Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu) Gui Pi Tang
Liquorice (Gan Cao) Gui Pi Tang

"Herbs that open the Orifices" recommended for postconcussion syndrome

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Styrax (Su He Xiang) Su He Xiang Wan
Musk (She Xiang) Su He Xiang Wan
Borneol (Bing Pian) Su He Xiang Wan
Benzoin (An Xi Xiang) Su He Xiang Wan

"Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior" recommended for postconcussion syndrome

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Angelica Roots (Bai Zhi) Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San
Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo) Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San
Cinnamon Twigs (Gui Zhi) Chai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang