Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is a public health issue with approximately 42 million people worldwide affected yearly. Most patients have a favorable short-term recovery but 10-20% are likely to develop post-concussive syndrome (association of physical, cognitive, and psychological difficulties after injury). Post-concussive syndrome can be associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There is to date no recommendation on the interventions that could be done to reduce post-concussive syndrome. The present review aims at summarizing the effect of therapeutic education, physical and cognitive rehabilitation and of psychological care in mTBI patients with post-concussive syndrome.
In the current international literature, we investigated the effects of therapeutic education, physical and cognitive rehabilitation and of psychological care in this population using the Medline database and we discussed the results of these studies.
The application of a therapeutic education intervention within 3 months after mTBI has been found appropriate and effective to prevent post-concussion syndrome in several studies but the timeline of this intervention differs among the existing studies. Concerning physical disabilities, several pharmacological, rehabilitative and non-pharmacological techniques have shown some efficacy in reducing headache and vertigo; rTMS seems also promising in this context. The management of fatigue is also crucial and requires a multidisciplinary approach. We did not find any intervention in mTBI patients with post-concussive syndrome suffering from dysosmia and/or dysgueusia. No pharmacological treatment is currently recommended to reduce the cognitive symptoms of post-concussive syndrome after mTBI. Rehabilitation and brain-stimulation techniques have already proven their efficacy to reduce the cognitive impairment in this population. Even if the use of Virtual Reality software seems well tolerated in this population, its efficacy and additional value needs to be demonstrated in larger studies. Concerning the psychological care after mTBI, Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy interventions are the most frequently reported in this population, followed by psychoeducational interventions. PTSD management seems crucial in overall recovery of patients with post-concussive syndrome.
Many studies have sought to demonstrate the effectiveness of various rehabilitation techniques, including different cognitive rehabilitation programs, technology-assisted rehabilitation, different types of brain stimulation and some pharmacological treatments. However, most of these studies are of a low level of scientific evidence and it would be necessary to carry out well-conducted prospective randomized trials in order to offer an appropriate and effective multidisciplinary management for patients with post-concussive syndrome after mTBI.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.