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


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Old 11-08-2016, 10:33 AM #1
Mayballs Mayballs is offline
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Default Few Questions and seeking information

Hi All,

I'm new to this forum. I came across it while searching for more information on PCS. I'm 24 years old and I've suffered a handful of concussions throughout my life time, all sports related injuries from football and lacrosse throughout high school and college. Most of the times I got a concussion, I've healed in less than a month. However, I got a concussion about 7 months ago when I got pushed into the side of a metal door and hit the left-side of my head near the temple.

At first, I just felt like I was getting the flu, super tired, groggy etc. I went about my normal life: working, weight-lifting and socializing etc. It wasn't until a few days later everything hit me full blast. Dizziness, headaches, memory problems etc. I went to the doctor, got a CAT scan, the whole nine yards. Since then I've been battling my symptoms. It's a roller coaster ride to say the least. I've had periods of time where I feel like I'm almost back to normal but only to have my symptoms return but even worse. Constant ups and downs. I'm currently in one of my downstages. In the past, working out seemed to help, now it makes things even worse. My symptoms have always been tingling at the crown or sides of my head, minimal short-term memory problems (forgetting what I just recently did) and my vision. My vision is the absolute worse problem. I have trouble focusing, everything seems to be going in hyper speed. Usually when my vision goes to hell, everything else goes as well. I used to be able to play video games (FPS) and feel pretty good afterwards, it helped with eye movements, strategical thinking and decision-making. However, the doctor told me I need to stop right away. The only thing he said was TV, if I show no symptoms.

I've started going to physical therapist for vestibular therapy. Doing eye exercises, multitasking, exerting myself etc. It seems to be helping but I still have my really good days and my really bad days. I eat as healthy as possible, I've been taking magnesium glycinate, multivitamins, fish oil etc. I have stayed away from alcohol for the past month and really have been trying to limit screen time outside of work. However, nothing seems to help. I feel pretty good when I'm in isolated areas but when I go out into the city (New York) everything just seems to go to hell. Doesn't seem to help that work can get quite stressful and that stress adds on top of the stress I have when I question how long it will take to make a recovery.

Any advice, useful tips is much appreciated! I feel like I've been in the dark for the past 7 months. I know I'm not the only one struggling with this and I know people have it a lot worse than I do. I'm not looking for sympathy, just for knowledge and understanding. It's hard to document everything that has happen in the past 7 months for me but I've tried to include all the major points.

Thanks all.
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Old 11-08-2016, 03:21 PM #2
todayistomorrow todayistomorrow is offline
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I can't stress this enough that anyone with a brain injury/concussion symptoms that linger needs to see a Neuro opthamoligist. there could be many eye issues with Brain injuries but the most common is convergence insufficiency which is where the eyes can't focus properly.

Tinted/prism glasses can help with this. I have been wearing them for 4 years. It can be hard to find someone and it may end up that you don't have this issue, but at least you can then rule it out. Feel free to Message me with any questions.
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Old 11-08-2016, 05:12 PM #3
Mark in Idaho Mark in Idaho is offline
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Mayballs,

Welcome to NueroTalk.

TIS gave you good advice about a Neuro Ophthalmologist but many get good result seeing a Behavioral Optometrist. NORA has a referral web site. Health Care Locator Custom It may be easier to get an appointment with a Behavioral Optometrist than a Neuro Ophthalmologist.

The concept of pushing with multitasking and exerting oneself is controversial and not part of the latest understandings. Multitasking is stressful for even healthy brains. It should be avoided. You need to allow your brain to rest and give it time to process tasks slower than before.

A large part of balance is visual based. Until your visual issues are resolved, the vestibular therapy may be just stressful.

Read the Vitamins sticky at the top. You should add the B-12 and B-50 Complex at a minimum.

Good quality sleep is very important. Quality means deep restful sleep. If you wake up groggy, you may need to figure out why you are not getting good sleep. The magnesium an hour before bed will be good.

Upper neck injuries can play a big part in PCS symptoms. Imaging rarely shows these subtle neck injuries. It is usually an issue of sleeping and napping with good head and neck posture. Sometimes, a NUCCA chiro or gentle physical therapist can help the upper neck settle down. Avoid pushing for range of motion with the head until other upper neck issues are settled. Gentle traction and mobilization can help sometimes.

btw, With your prior concussions, you recovered from the obvious symptoms but that was not healing. There is always some residual injury after a concussion. You may have reached the threshold of Multiple Impact Syndrome where the brain's recovery reserve is used up and some symptoms may be very prolonged. In that case, the goal is to learn to moderate stimulation and stress so the roller coaster ride levels out somewhat.

My best to you.
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Old 11-09-2016, 11:00 AM #4
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Thanks for all the advice so far all. I picked up majority of the vitamins you listed in your post, Mark.

I'm going to ask my doctor about the prisms and I'm also going to see a specialized eye doctor to see what the problem could be here. All of this is very strange. I felt good on Monday, terrible yesterday and all right today. Everyday is so unpredictable. Today my tingling sensation is very minimal but my vision comes and goes, I'll get pretty dizzy one second and it will go away. I believe that if I figure out the issue with my vision and start with that, everything else will follow.

In regards to my memory issues, what is the best way to help with that? I tried Lumosity yesterday. My speed, attention and memory during these exercises were pretty decent. However, whenever I got really overloaded during some exercise I just completely crumbed. I did feel a bit overstimulated after that.

Once again, thanks for all the help here.
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Old 11-09-2016, 12:16 PM #5
Mark in Idaho Mark in Idaho is offline
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Lumosity is a total waste of effort. It is good at improving a lazy brain but not an injured brain.

Memory issues can be due to a physiological a injury to the brain or they can be due to poor focus. Extraneous stimulations (distractions) can interfere with memory. There is no way to fix an injured memory function but you can learn to focus better so a distracted memory works better.

If you can "stop to think" and remember what you just did, that suggests a focus issue. Your memory may just need a bit more effort. For things that you need to remember for easy recall, you can talk to yourself. "I need to remember to call the doctor." This put the information into auditory memory processing. Taking notes can help. The action of writing something down with improve how the brain memorized it.

Many long term limitations from brain injuries are best resolved with learning new ways to function with work-arounds and accommodations. Trying to push through and function as before the concussion is counterproductive. If the old way of functioning returns, it will be a slow process, not something a bit of Lumosity or therapy will fix.

Patience is your friend.

My best to you.
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Old 11-11-2016, 12:47 AM #6
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Mayballs,

Don't push to the point of overstimulation...learn to recognize the early tells of impending overstimulation and take a few minutes rest before you reach that point.

My body always gave me some early hints, once I recognized them I was able to slow down for a few minutes. I found it took literally 5 minutes of rest if I caught it early as opposed to hours when obviously overstimulated.

As Mark says be patient.

Bud
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:11 AM #7
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Bud & Mark - The advice is much appreciate and I'm starting to not push myself anymore. I'm starting to accept the reality I'm in and am more focused on recovery than ever. I feel that stress and anxiety is really hurting me. I work in finance and I know that my job plays a big part. I find that I am able to function at work properly and staring at the computer screen doesn't hurt or cause any symptoms (for the most part.) I find that when my thoughts start to overflow, especially about my symptoms, my symptoms get worse.

I was wondering (without going on medication) what is the best way to combat this? Would a neuropsychologist help? The person I've been working with for vestibular rehab recommended I speak to one.

On a positive note, I've found that my vision is in the process of coming back to normal. The tingling sensation in my head is very minimal now, I'll get a random "spike" every now and then. However, I still find myself to get a little overstimulated as I walk to work, not as bad as I used to though (I live in NYC.) What is the general rule of thumb when learning to deal with all this noise and commotion? My vestibular therapist says that I should start to get my heart rate up to help combat this and get my brain used to it again. Which means 10-15 minutes on a cardio bike or going for a long walk with a heightened pace.

You guys have all been very helpful so far! Apologies for all the rapid fire questions.
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Old 11-11-2016, 03:50 PM #8
Mark in Idaho Mark in Idaho is offline
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There are no general rules for dealing with your struggles. Everyone's experience is different. The similarities are: You need to try to identify triggers so those triggers can be moderated. A computer screen may or may not be a problem. f-lux can allow you to change the brightness of a monitor. Some can just use their keyboard to change brightness. For me, Fn and left arrow does it. Others have screen darkness in the numbered F keys.

Ambient noise in the room can be over-stimulating. Same goes for getting to work. Subways, sidewalks, elevators, and all sorts of crowds and chaos can be a challenge. Is it the sights, the sounds, the need to dodge people, ? Multiple voices can be a big trigger as the brain tries to process each voice it hears. Hear plugs or ear buds with calm music can help.

Sometimes, it is trial and error to find a solution.

Bud and I are rural dwellers so navigating a city is foreign to us. I would be a mess in NYC. I left San Jose to get away from commotion.

Read the Vitamins sticky. B-12 and the rest of the B vitamins help the brain tolerate stress.

My best to you.
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Old 11-12-2016, 12:20 AM #9
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Mayballs,

My experience was thus.

After paying much attention I began to notice what I called early tells...my body was sending me early warnings of impending aggravated symptoms. When I learned those signals I could rest or remove myself from a situation before things got bad.

I found recovery to be much quicker that way..sometimes just a matter of minutes as opposed to hours.

Earplugs were a great source of help for me also.

I did not use any meds...my way of handling the runaway mind has been to pray and read my Bible, it changes my focus.

I am glad people live in the city...keeps my world quiet. I was raised in a town of 150 people. I live in the big city of 60,000 now but I get to work in the little town I grew up in 22 miles away!

Bud
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