Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Concussion Syndrome For traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post concussion syndrome (PCS).


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Old 04-01-2012, 03:17 PM #1
rosie08 rosie08 is offline
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Post PCS - best way to fill your days?!

Hi all,

I am new to the site, it seems like a great resource. I got a concussion at the end of Sept 2011 when I managed to slip and fall backwards and whacked the back of my head off the pavement. I didn't really know I had it so carried on living my normal busy university life but after a week or so it was apparent something was not right.

This concussion seemed to get better after a while and I did my December exams (but my grades were a bit far off their usual) then had a fun and busy winter break! The concussion symptoms then came back at the start of Jan and effectively ruined everything... I had to leave uni and move home, I was on exchange in Canada and had to come home to Scotland. It was just rubbish...and still is.

Symptoms being...headaches, difficulty with just focussing on anything, remembering little things, bit over emotional, anxiety on and off which I despise! Also sometimes if the headache is really bad it makes me feel nauseous. There has been others but I can't remember them (shock! haha) right now.

Basically it is clear from the docs over here that I am quite on my own with this one! I had a wicked neurologist in Canada but just nothing here. In Canada I did an evoked potentials test and the results were a 30millisecond delay in my brain signals...not ideal.

So yes now I am home and I was just wondering what should I be doing?! I mean I know I watch too much TV but how do people fill their days?! Can't seem to get over this booooredom without TV, but I know I should cut down. And is there specific nutritional things I should be eating/avoiding?! Apart from the obvious caffeine and alcohol. Oh also I am on amitryptiline just now, 30mg every night. Also I have been searching these questions on-line and on the forum but not had too much luck, with the what to do one at least.

Thank you, I would appreciate any help, as would my (hysterical) mother I am sure haha.

Rosie
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:19 PM #2
Mark in Idaho Mark in Idaho is offline
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Rosie,

Welcome to NeuroTalk. Sorry to hear of your struggles.

The Evoked Potentials test is interesting. It is rare to get a doctor to do such a test. Plus, there are no standards for what is considered a concussion. But, slow processing is not unexpected.

With that in mind, you should understand how your brain may get overloaded with stimulation. If you can watch TV without causing an increase in symptoms, it should be OK.

There are a few things to watch for. The signs you should be looking for are simple.

Anytime that you think you missed something , you brain is finished for the time being.

Anytime you need to reread a line of text, your brain is fatigued.

Any time you sense a need to refocus visually, your brain is fatigued.

Any time you sense you zoned out, your brain is fatigued.

And so on. So, use your judgement to determine if an activity is over-doing it.


There are some nutritional guidelines to help you along the way. B-12 (500 to 1000 mcgs), a B-50 or B-100 complex, D3, Omega 3's, all of the anti-oxidants, meat protein (pork is best), and some other things but my brain is struggling today.

Others may post more for you. There is lots of good experience here.

My best to you.
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:44 PM #3
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Welcome to NeuroTalk. I'm sorry you have to deal with PCS...It's really tough, I know.

When I saw that you asked how to fill your days...it reminded me of an old thread and a response by Mark from awhile back. Here's the link to that thread...Read the first reply that was done by Mark. He laid down some pretty good rules, guidelines and a decent schedule for those recovering from a head injury....Check it out:

http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/sh...d.php?t=160639

I wish you the best of luck in your recovery.

Nick
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What happened: I was randomly assaulted from behind in June of 2011. I was knocked unconscious for an unknown amount of time (less than 30 minutes) and have no memory of the event. CT scan showed contusion and hematoma of the left frontal lobe. I spent 3 days in the hospital. Diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome in September 2011. Currently have Medicaid, Medicare and SSI.

Current symptoms: Brain fog, mild memory issues, problems with spontaneity, occasional spacing out, word finding difficulties, tinnitus in right ear and some other things that I can't explain.

Life after the brain injury: 4 years after the injury, I'm engaged to my beautiful girlfriend of 5 years, I'm the CEO of my own business, Notorious Labs, I've taught myself how to program complex games and apps which is a feat I never thought I'd accomplish and now live a semi-normal life with very mild PCS symptoms.

Slowly but surely regaining my life back.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:47 PM #4
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Sorry to hear about your situation, being a student myself I know how hard it is to see school pass by.

Being active throughout the day is a fine balance between doing and over doing. Switching between low and highly demanding cognitive tasks is one of the coping mechanisms that can make it easier to get through the day.

Going for a walk in a quiet neighborhood or in a park is a good way to let the brain relax. Same goes for swimming and other very light aerobic exercises. Remember not to let your body waste away, while sitting in front of the TV
Remember the keyword here is light aerobic exercise.

I spend 6 month lying in a bed after my head injury and it cost me a lot of muscle mass and I also had two shoulder injuries by spending too much time lying on my side, so I would not recommend this.

Reading books are also a good solution for some, although it depends on the type of injury. Talking on the phone, listening to audio books or the radio are also recommendable.

Try keeping stress to a minimum and make sure to have a good diet as well.

Nuts, berries and fish are especially good for the brain. I usually snack on walnuts, raisins or almonds instead of candy.

Some people have problems with their eyesight after a head injury, especially those who hit the back of their heads. I had a friend who went 3 years with PCS symptoms until she was diagnosed with post concussion vision problem. An optometrist can check that out for you, if you don't feel like it is improving.

-Glasshead
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:19 PM #5
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What is the Evoked Potentials test, if you don't mind me asking?
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What happened: I was randomly assaulted from behind in June of 2011. I was knocked unconscious for an unknown amount of time (less than 30 minutes) and have no memory of the event. CT scan showed contusion and hematoma of the left frontal lobe. I spent 3 days in the hospital. Diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome in September 2011. Currently have Medicaid, Medicare and SSI.

Current symptoms: Brain fog, mild memory issues, problems with spontaneity, occasional spacing out, word finding difficulties, tinnitus in right ear and some other things that I can't explain.

Life after the brain injury: 4 years after the injury, I'm engaged to my beautiful girlfriend of 5 years, I'm the CEO of my own business, Notorious Labs, I've taught myself how to program complex games and apps which is a feat I never thought I'd accomplish and now live a semi-normal life with very mild PCS symptoms.

Slowly but surely regaining my life back.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:41 PM #6
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I am 34 and I've been coloring a lot lately!

I also bought a couple of Christmas Stocking Kits (felt) to sew for my niece and nephew.

These activities help me pass the time without getting overloaded with stimulation.

You could knit or crochet or do some type of craft type thing as long as it's not super complex and involved. (And depending on your current level of functioning you may want to steer clear of hot glue guns, paint fumes, soldering irons and live circuits....)

If you're able to take walks, that might be helpful too because it will provide your brain with more Oxygen which will help it heal.

Before the injury I sustained, I very rarely watched TV and didn't even own one because my lifestyle was so busy... and now we have satellite TV just to help keep me entertained. (I just wish it was more entertaining...!)

Hang in there!!
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:21 AM #7
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I study the Japanese language. Learning something keeps (what's left of my) mind engaged, and also provides me with tangible goals and something to measure progress.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:15 AM #8
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Thanks for the responses guys, very useful, I really appreciate it!

Nick, (as far as I understand, anyone can correct me if not) the evoked potentials test records how long it takes for a stimulation to be recorded as an electrical response in the brain. So in the one I did I stared at a screen which showed a red and white checkerboard pattern ,with the squares alternating colours), with a black dot in the middle that I had to stare at. There was electrodes on the back of my head and they recorded when the signals reached my brain I guess. For someone of my age doing my university degree they said it should only have taken 90ms but for me it was 120ms.

To Mark, yes the neurologist said it wasn't an overly common test to do. But yes any delay would hint at a problem. I've not had any other tests done either. And now that I am back in the UK they don't do the evoked potentials test at all...or anything it seems?! haha.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:59 AM #9
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When I was suffering from symptoms I would:
  • Listen to Podcasts
  • Solve Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Draw
  • Re-arrange Items in House
  • Do small renovations (drywall patching, paint chipped areas, fill cracks, etc)

You don't realize how limitless the possibilities are for hobbies until a few of yours are taken away. In my case I was always doing hot yoga, playing hockey, biking, playing videogames, or watching television. For a while I couldn't do any of those and had to improvise. I'm sure you'll find something you enjoy, and possibly even something that sticks with you after you're done.

I still listen to my favourite podcasts on a weekly basis, and I've ordered another jigsaw puzzle since getting better.

Best of luck!
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Jan 4 2012 - Blindside elbow to the jaw while playing pond hockey (no helmet, no mouthguard)

Took 3 days off work (plus 2 for the weekend), doctor said mild concussion and did not order a CT scan.
Felt symptom free for two days in late January and late February.
Decided to exercise (skating in January, light cycling in February) and symptoms returned with a bang.

March 15 2012: Medically cleared to return to action! Thank you all for your kind words and support. For those still suffering, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Stay positive and healthy
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:57 PM #10
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I forgot to recommend a website called Lumosity.com that provides games that are written by neuroscientists in an effort to help rehabilitate a person's brain after a concussion. The US Army provides it to veterans who returned from the war. Lumosity claims it can help anyone improve their cognitive functioning.

Mark In Idaho will point out that just by learning the games someone will improve - but it at least gave me something to do and I felt proactive when I played them when I was doing poorly. And now I can see my game scores and can track the progress I've made with them. I know that the progress I've made has more to do with the actual healing that is taking place inside my brain than the games but it's still neat to see on a graph. I've been playing the games since May '11 when I was unable to drive or work at all and now I'm able to work part time and drive short distances on roads (not freeways.)
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