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


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Old 03-06-2021, 06:27 AM #1
Merope Merope is offline
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Help My concussion experience

Hi all,

I realize that I posted on here before, mostly about my vision problems after suffering a mild concussion a couple of months ago. I'd now like to share the full picture in case someone else may find this useful/can relate.

My injury happened as I was running; I stupidly stopped looking where I was going and managed to run straight into a lampost, hitting the left side of my face and then falling backwards and hitting the upper left side of my head.
I went to the hospital where they did an X-ray to rule out any fractures (there weren't any), but decided I didn't need an MRI or CT scan because I didn't lose consciousness, had no balance problems or confusion, and responded well to the neurological exam. At the time, I didn't realize that my injury was probably a bit more serious than I thought. I went home and tried to sleep.

For the first few weeks after the injury, I had a plethora of mild but very annoying symptoms: I had a slight balance problem, veering a little to the right when walking. I couldn't feel parts of my face (injury to the nerve), and although I didn't see double, I felt as though my eyes were somewhat misaligned and I could ALMOST see double (hard to explain the feeling). I also discovered that when I was particularly tired and tried to read, the words appeared to have a slight shadow underneath them (ghosting?).

I became worried about my symptoms and went to my GP who sent me back to A&E in the hope that they'd do a brain scan. Once there, the doctor who saw me was awfully dismissive, claimed I had PCS, and said there is nothing to be done but wait it out. "You didn't do anything too nasty to yourself, it will go away in time."

I also got my eyes checked several times at the optometrist (OCT scans etc) and the results were always the same: eyes are healthy and normal.

By the end of the first month, most of my symptoms went away. I no longer felt dizzy, no longer had balance issues, and the notion that my eyes didn't work well together mostly went away. I also no longer saw the shadow/ghosting underneath words when reading. Other problems persisted, however. I noticed the following:

--starbursts around bright lights that are worse when far away and when in dim lighting,
--persistent afterimages when looking at something bright/high contrast (these last for half a second unless the light is particularly bright, in which case the after image lasts a lot longer). This is similar to when someone takes a photo of you with the flash and you end up seeing a negative afterimage of the flash for some time afterward.

Although this is normal, I find that this sort of after image lasts a lot longer since I hit my head. It almost feels like my retina is overstimulated and my brain is having trouble processing the information.

--streaks of light coming from bright lights when I blink. I worked out that this is light that gets filtered through my eyelashes. I assume that because my brain has suffered an injury, it is now less able to filter out extraneous information and so it cannot ignore the light that gets filtered through my eyelashes. I am hoping this will improve itself in time.
--floaters.

Squiggly lines and a tiny black dot. I assume that I'm either seeing them because my brain can no longer filer them out or because the trauma displaced some of the collagen fibers in the vitreous gel inside my eyes. I had them checked out and was told that they are normal, so no risk of retinal problems.

--I feel like my lazy eye (strabismus/amblyopia) has gotten a little bit worse since the injury as if the muscles in my eye are struggling to keep up.
--anxiety: I feel like this has gotten a lot worse since hitting my head and I have a much lower tolerance to stress.

--sleep inertia; I had this before my accident, but it seems to have gotten worse and tends to last longer, especially if I wake up later. I basically feel somewhat out of it at the weekends after having lie-ins (but not when I have to wake up early for work)

--a small degree of light sensitivity? I'm not sure about this one because I can look at bright lights without hurting my eyes, but I do have a notion that bright lights are a lot brighter than I remember them.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things, I am quite lucky. None of these symptoms really interfere with my day-to-day life unless I stress about them and obsess over them. I am able to do pretty much everything that I did before my concussion.

In terms of the symptoms, the most annoying ones are the light streaking when blinking, the floaters, and the anxiety. The more I think about my symptoms, the worse they seem to get. I don't think I spent quite so much time obsessing over streetlights and headlights and lamps and candles and the reflection of the sun on shiny surfaces before my accident.

I try to remain optimistic that most are transient and that they will get better or go away completely when my brain has had a chance to heal more. I am trying to be good to myself, by taking vitamins and minerals (omega-3, B12, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, turmeric capsules), eating a balanced diet, and incorporating foods that promote blood flow to the brain (beetroot powder, dark chocolate, etc).

I am also trying to maintain my normal routine as much as possible, exercising and doing some yoga/meditation (in particular inversion poses like downward dog). I am also in therapy (long-term), working on anxiety, self-esteem, etc. I try to remind myself that I am young (20s) and healthy and that the body has an amazing ability to heal itself after trauma.

Two months is not a long time and I shouldn't just expect these symptoms to go away so soon. I'm trying to remain patient and look at the positive side: it could have been so much worse. Some days this is harder to achieve and I fall down the rabbit hole of my anxiety, thinking that I damaged my brain for life and that I will never recover. But I think (hope) that's just my anxiety talking.

I have an appointment scheduled with an ophthalmologist soon, though I suspect it won't be very useful. My vision issues stem from my brain, not my eyes. I'm not sure if I should be worried or reassured about that. Reassured that my eyes are healthy and that the brain can heal, or worried that I permanently damaged my brain and that these symptoms won't get better.

I am trying to get seen by a neurologist, but I don't think my GP wants to refer me since my symptoms are mild. I also think COVID makes referrals (UK-based) a lot more difficult.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I hope someone can relate to this, or be reassured by this (?). No matter how bad the anxiety gets, I still believe that these symptoms will improve with rest and time.

Last edited by Jomar; 03-06-2021 at 03:12 PM. Reason: spacing added
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:27 AM #2
Scarlet7 Scarlet7 is offline
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Hi Merope - it is absurd that your GP won’t refer you to a Neurologist if you feel that there might be a need for it!! Most GPs are not trained enough to diagnose/realise the severity of certain concussions. If I were you I would see another GP if your usual one doesn’t refer you. It is your brain!! Also it is well-known that some concussion symptoms can show up years later. Worth getting properly checked by a Specialist imo.
(I have been recovering from a nasty concussion for the past 4 years).


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Merope (03-06-2021)
Old 03-06-2021, 03:22 PM #3
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It sounds like you hit your head twice- once to the side of the face.. misalignment of c1 c2 can be a factor.
Have you seen information on NUCCA , atlas /axis, c1 c2 adjusting?
Up C Spine has good info that explains it..
explore the whole site - this is interesting - Up C Spine - A New Approach - Sign / Symptom Checklist
videos on you tube show this adjustment if you want to see how it is done..

Much of the vision issues are due to the brain, your eyes are most likely fine.
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Old 03-06-2021, 04:13 PM #4
Merope Merope is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomar View Post
It sounds like you hit your head twice- once to the side of the face.. misalignment of c1 c2 can be a factor.
Have you seen information on NUCCA , atlas /axis, c1 c2 adjusting?
Up C Spine has good info that explains it..
explore the whole site - this is interesting - Up C Spine - A New Approach - Sign / Symptom Checklist
videos on you tube show this adjustment if you want to see how it is done..

Much of the vision issues are due to the brain, your eyes are most likely fine.
Thank you for this—I never heard of c1 or c2, I will definitely look into it.

Yeah, I definitely think my vision problems are brain related. I really hope they go away with time.
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Old 03-06-2021, 04:32 PM #5
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Explore the sticky threads on the main PCS/TBI page.
Or use our site search tool for specific topics..
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Old 03-07-2021, 02:07 AM #6
Mark in Idaho Mark in Idaho is offline
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Jomar, Thanks for the edit for spacing.

Merope,

You summed it up when you said "In terms of the symptoms, the most annoying ones are the light streaking when blinking, the floaters, and the anxiety. The more I think about my symptoms, the worse they seem to get. I don't think I spent quite so much time obsessing over streetlights and headlights and lamps and candles and the reflection of the sun on shiny surfaces before my accident."

The double whammy of increased anxiety and decreased filter function are hitting you hard. The research predicts this. 80% of those who have prolonged symptoms have a pre-existing struggle with anxiety at any level and/or depression. The goal is to learn to identify those patients and treat their anxiety so they recover sooner.

Back in the day when this concussion forum had 40 or more posts a day, plenty would be telling you to not waste effort trying to be seen by a neurologist. Few neuros are much help with concussions. If they cannot image it or diagnose dysfunction with a standard neurological exam, they will dismiss the patient.

More importantly, there is nothing they can do. You can work on reducing stress and anxious thoughts and seek a physiotherapist who can help you with your upper neck to make sure you are not having upper cervical inflammation adding to your struggles. One expert clinic discovered that 80% of concussion symptoms are related to an upper neck trauma. That trauma is not visible on imaging. No breaks or tears. Just instability in the ligaments that keep the skull, C-1 and C-2 in alignment.

Focusing on good head and neck posture during sleep is vitally important.

Do not sleep in on the weekends. Sleep experts know this is counter-productive. That extra sleep is rarely quality sleep and usually includes poor posture making any neck issue a problem. Your brain's sleep clock stops cycling through the stages of sleep after your normal wake up time. Sleeping past that time is what is making your days worse.
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Old 03-07-2021, 04:06 AM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlet7 View Post
Hi Merope - it is absurd that your GP won’t refer you to a Neurologist if you feel that there might be a need for it!! Most GPs are not trained enough to diagnose/realise the severity of certain concussions. If I were you I would see another GP if your usual one doesn’t refer you. It is your brain!! Also it is well-known that some concussion symptoms can show up years later. Worth getting properly checked by a Specialist imo.
(I have been recovering from a nasty concussion for the past 4 years).


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Please take into account the fact that NHS resources are limited. The number of appointments available with Neurologists are limited. The doctor is not in a position to hand out appointments to everyone that demands one. The doctor has to think of all his patients not just the one in front of her. If you refer for one patient you are taking away that appointment from another patient. The doctor knows that and it is important that the patient is also aware.
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Old 03-07-2021, 02:06 PM #8
Merope Merope is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark in Idaho View Post
Jomar, Thanks for the edit for spacing.

Merope,

You summed it up when you said "In terms of the symptoms, the most annoying ones are the light streaking when blinking, the floaters, and the anxiety. The more I think about my symptoms, the worse they seem to get. I don't think I spent quite so much time obsessing over streetlights and headlights and lamps and candles and the reflection of the sun on shiny surfaces before my accident."

The double whammy of increased anxiety and decreased filter function are hitting you hard. The research predicts this. 80% of those who have prolonged symptoms have a pre-existing struggle with anxiety at any level and/or depression. The goal is to learn to identify those patients and treat their anxiety so they recover sooner.

Back in the day when this concussion forum had 40 or more posts a day, plenty would be telling you to not waste effort trying to be seen by a neurologist. Few neuros are much help with concussions. If they cannot image it or diagnose dysfunction with a standard neurological exam, they will dismiss the patient.

More importantly, there is nothing they can do. You can work on reducing stress and anxious thoughts and seek a physiotherapist who can help you with your upper neck to make sure you are not having upper cervical inflammation adding to your struggles. One expert clinic discovered that 80% of concussion symptoms are related to an upper neck trauma. That trauma is not visible on imaging. No breaks or tears. Just instability in the ligaments that keep the skull, C-1 and C-2 in alignment.

Focusing on good head and neck posture during sleep is vitally important.

Do not sleep in on the weekends. Sleep experts know this is counter-productive. That extra sleep is rarely quality sleep and usually includes poor posture making any neck issue a problem. Your brain's sleep clock stops cycling through the stages of sleep after your normal wake up time. Sleeping past that time is what is making your days worse.
Thank you so much for all of this! I think that in order to save myself from total mental breakdown, I will try to work on my anxiety and ignore the visual stuff as much as possible. Maybe that way, I can give my brain a break and a chance to recover without the anxiety hijacking all efforts.

I will definitely look into the neck things! Until yesterday, I had no idea that they were related, but it all makes a lot of sense.

It’s quite reassuring to know that a neurologist probably can’t do anything for these symptoms. In a way, it takes some of the pressure of needing to be seen by a brain doctor off. It also puts the responsibility of getting better more into my hands, which is something that I need.

Thanks again for the informative response!
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