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

Concussions

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Unread 03-22-2012, 05:29 PM   #1
cait10
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Default Concussions

Hello everyone,
I am writing because I am concerned about something and would like your opinions.

I am a 20 year old female who suffered a concussion 4 weeks ago. I had a massive headache, felt dizzy and nauseous for the first week and a half.
Then I felt pretty good, my symptoms had gone away so I decided to go to my gym class but not giving all I had, you know, take it easy. Turns out, I felt extremely dizzy, and sat out for 30 minutes, later that day, I had full blown concussion symptoms - they had all returned but also had memory problems and I am aggravated really easily, and I was so angry about something that I kept seeing black dots everywhere.
Now I still feel headaches and nauseous, I am not eating properly because eating makes me feel nauseous and my symptoms are long lasting, its been 22 days now!!!

Advice? What should I do? I've been resting, having lots of sleep and lots of naps too, but I still feel extremely tired. I want to get back on my feet and do sports, I am a very active person and not being able to do sports is making me go crazy and feels like it's the end of the world.

I've also heard and read about Post Concussive Syndrome, would I possibly have that?

Would really appreciate your opinion! Dying to get better here
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Unread 03-22-2012, 06:12 PM   #2
MomandSon
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Hi- So sorry to hear about your situation. I am a mother of an 8 year old very athletic boy who suffered a mild concussion 8 weeks ago. He wasn't diagnosed right away but the symptoms got progressively worse, mainly headaches and dizziness but he did feel sick to his stomach at times. We are seeing a concussion specialist and he says rest is the best thing for him so he only goes to school for 2-3 hours. He does rest a lot and his biggest activity is a short walk. It's been so tough for my sports guy who plays hockey, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, golf, tennis, and surf. Nothing works for his headaches like advil or tylenol so the doctor prescribed amitriptyline. He has been on this for 3 weeks but hasn't helped. I wish I could offer you more but everyone tells us that is takes a very long time for the brain to heal, sometimes 5 or 6 months! The hardest part is not knowing when. It can be so frustrating as I see the pain mu son experiences every day. He is well taken care of and I am home with him. I feel bad for you because you must have so many more responsibilities you are trying to do in addition to feeling so bad. The only advice is rest and take care of yourself. If you don't feel good from running, it just means your brain needs more time. Take Care and I hope to hear you are feeling better soon!
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Unread 03-22-2012, 07:56 PM   #3
cait10
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Hi there,

I appreciate your reply and I am really sorry to hear about your son - I feel his pain. It's not easy for an athletic person to accept that they must take some time off to rest.
Has he found that any specific thing helps at all? I heard taking walks can help out - has he been feeling better with walks now?
Yeah, this can be quite a handful to juggle all at once, trying to balance school (i'm in my last semester at College), keeping good grades in order to maintain my acceptance at University and work.
Advil has been working for me so far, but my biggest problem seems to be nausea - every time I eat something, I get really nauseous and feel like throwing up.
How have things been going with the concussion specialist? What exactly does he do? I'm thinking of maybe looking into that, or getting some sort of sports therapist or private trainer so he can keep an eye on me and set guidelines for when I can start doing physical activities.
I hope your son feels better soon, I send him my positive energy. He is not alone, tell him to hang in there and that it will get better soon!
He is lucky to have such a caring mother who is taking care of him.
Best wishes!
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Unread 03-22-2012, 08:47 PM   #4
EsthersDoll
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I was in an auto accident about 20 months ago and sustained a concussion from it. Unfortunately, I experienced a rare side effect from the concussion called increased intracranial pressure, iicp, that caused me to be in such severe pain that I was on almost 6 months of bed rest while the Dr.'s tried to figure out what was wrong with me. They finally figured it out... but in that time almost all of my muscles atrophied.

Before the accident I was a very active person and I still feel just awful that I have to rest so much. And I intensely dislike I gained a lot of weight. (None of my nice clothes fit.)

I still do not have the level of cognitive functioning that I had before the accident and my speech is really weird to boot.

But I know that once I'm finally able to be more active my body will snap back into shape. That's the way muscle tone works, our muscles remember what shape they were in and can more easily get there again and faster if they were once there before.

I am unable to take walks still... but I want to! Actually, more than anything, I feel like I want to run on an elliptical. I really miss the endorphins I used to get all the time from being so active!

If you're in school, you're using your brain. Your brain probably needs rest and that's why you might still be experiencing symptoms. It may have something to do with the addition of working out... or it may have just been the natural course of how your brain dealt with the initial trauma. Damaged neurons can send out signals to other neurons to die and that's why some people get worse in the first three months, or don't see any symptoms and then they suddenly show up.

You might want to try to give your brain a rest... like completely - as little stimulation as possible. No studying, no reading, no TV, no music, no company, no driving, etc. for a day or a few days and see if that helps your symptoms go away.

And definitely make sure your Dr. knows about all of your symptoms.

Western medicine has some AMAZING neuseau drugs that can eradicate neuseau completely - I was taking them regularly for months when I had the iicp and they helped a great deal. Your Dr. can prescribe them to you. But your Dr. needs to know about all of your symptoms. I'm not saying you have iicp, it's very rare, but neuseau is one of the symptoms of it as well as other things, so it's always best to keep your Dr. in the know as much as possible.
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Unread 03-22-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
MomandSon
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Hi,
The concussion specialist monitors my son and measures his progress. He also helps manage his symptoms. For example, he put him in the orange zone (there are four levels red is the worst, then orange, then yellow, then green is good to go!) orange means he only goes to school part time and is excused from all tests and non-essential classes like music or gym. He can't do any big physical activity except walk.

He tests his balance too. He's been trying to manage his severe headaches with that drug amitriptyline, but it's not helping. He wrote note to the school so they are on board and have been so supportive which has been great. He's only in the second grade but I feel bad for you trying to keep up with your school work. I don't know how you can do it. The doctor says to stay away from reading books too. I've been reading to him.

He also recommends being in a dark room because light bothers him. That's pretty challenging! He wears sunglasses and a baseball hat outside. The only thing that he says helps him is putting a cold face cloth on his head and also he likes me to rub his back to calm him down from the headache pain. It's just so tough to see him so miserable! It's good that you can manage your headaches with over the counter pain relief. Maybe the school can give you special consideration with your classes if you get a doctor's letter. Keep me posted on how you feel. I hope to write that my son is doing well soon too! Take care!!!
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Unread 03-22-2012, 11:35 PM   #6
Lagr
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Rats! I just typed a long reply, but I may have taken too long and the draft disappeared. I'll keep this one short.

Just wanted to say that I was also very active prior to getting concussed and nausea was by far the very WORST symptom I had in the beginning. It would last almost the entire day, from waking up to going to bed at night. I would say it was the worst in the first 2-3 months. By month 4 it became more sporadic. I am currently around the 7 month mark and I have very little nausea (thank goodness!).

In the early months, I remember being hungry, but the smell and process of eating made the nausea worse. It was absolutely awful! I had to force myself to eat small meals. I tried to make them as nutrient rich as possible, since I wasn't eating a whole lot at that time.

You might want to try ginger tea too. I tried it, but not sure if it helped me much. I feel like time was the biggest healer.

I understand how you are eager to get back to sports. I was the same way, but soon realized after a couple of setbacks that I couldn't rush my brain to heal. Rest is very important and I would recommend getting as much of it as you can. If you can tolerate light walking without triggering symptoms, you could try that. I rode a stationary bike a bit, it's just important to remember to keep the pace slow and the resistance low. I messed up a couple times during my recovery and pushed myself too hard. It always resulted in an increase in symptoms. You are young, so you have many years ahead of you to be active. Best to get your brain healthy first by taking things slowly. I feel like I'm finally getting back to my old self (after 7 long months), working out again, skating, and finally returned to a total body conditioning class I used to go to prior to the injury. I'm not back to pre-injury fitness level at all, but trying to get there. It just takes time! Hope this helps!
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43 yr young female, suffered a mTBI with PCS August 2011 while playing ice hockey. Symptoms included dizziness, nausea, exertion headaches, trouble sleeping, fasciculations, sensitivity to light and noise, occasional numbness to extremities.
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Unread 03-23-2012, 12:14 AM   #7
Mark in Idaho
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cait10,


I think Lagr said it best.

You have no control over how your brain heals. the only thing you can control is your behavior and attitude. Anxiety is bad for healing. Doing to much physically can also be bad.

No matter how much you want to get back to your sports and physical activities, your brain is in control or better, struggling to regain control.

There are three things you can do, rest, rest, and rest.

Rest your body, minimal physical exertion.

Rest your brain, minimal cognitive exertion.

Rest your emotions, give up any current thoughts and anxieties to get active as soon as possible.

When your brain starts doing better, you can slowly start some activities.

Remember one important truth.

Just because you have a few days of feeling great and back to normal, your brain is still needing to heal. It takes weeks of feeling great and back to normal for your brain to be ready to take on more effort.

When you get to this point, try some simple low impact activities, both physically and cognitively. Wait a few days to see how your brain reacts. If you have no relapses of symptoms, try the same level of activities for two days then wait again.

There are lots of people who can tell you their experiences with "I feel great. I going to get back to my life" They may even get back to their old life for a week or more before the symptoms hit them hard. It may take weeks to get back to a single day of feeling great.

Healing comes from linking good days into good weeks into good months.

It is a very slow process and you are just getting started.

My best to you.
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59 years old, retired due to disability, married 33 years, father of three, grandfather of four, Suffered a serious concussion at 10 years old (1965) stopped most driving after last concussion at 46 years old (2001), Post Concussion Syndrome/Multiple Concussion/Impact Syndrome with PTSD, immediate and short term visual and auditory memory problems, slowed processing speed, visual and auditory processing difficulties, insomnia, absence seizures, OCD, 14 concussions since first concussion at 8 years old, Taking paroxetine for 14 years and gabapentin for 12 years. Added L-Tryptophan and successfully stopped all paroxetine after 3 months of tapering down. I currently take 500 mgs of L-Tryptophan when I wake up, 500 mgs after breakfast with my vitamin regimen and 500 mgs late in the evening.


As of Nov 15th, Due to high stress issues resulting in PTSD, my docs put me on three meds. Clonazepam (Klonopin, a dreaded benzo but only for 30 days ) .125 mgs twice daily (Doc prescribed .25 mgs twice daily but half a tablet is doing good) , citalopram (Celexa), an SSRI , and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical anti-psychotic before bed. I have lost over 30 pounds since mid July. The olanzapine is supposed to help me gain some of it back but it has just stopped the weight loss. They took me off the gabapentin. I am feeling better than I have in years.

I am also taking L-Theanine to help with GABA regulation


"Be Still and Know That I am God" Psalm 46:10
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Unread 03-23-2012, 02:20 AM   #8
Ziggo
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Id go with rest, slept like 16h or more per day in first 3 weeks, kept resting in 2nd month and was doing just long walks and all houseworks.
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Unread 03-23-2012, 08:58 AM   #9
roxyhead
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For your son, continuing the amitriptyline seems an odd choice, if it's not working, after a head injury (when seizure meds are often used), when he's got headaches (which seizure meds are often used for), since it *isn't* a seizure med. I mean, sure, it's cheap, but if it's not doing any good, what's the point?

One would think that they'd try Topamax (usual first choice of seizure meds for headaches) or Keppra (usual med they give you to prevent seizures after a head injury, but more expensive than Topamax) instead...if the other isn't working, it's not like switching could work less well, if there's no other contraindications for the meds.

To the OP - if you're getting lots of sleep and lots of naps, too, and you're having lots of nausea still, are you having more nausea at certain times during the day than others? Because sometimes if you sleep a lot at different times during the day, your brain can gets confused about when it should be releasing certain hormones, and it can cause nausea that won't go away with normal over the counter nausea meds. For the last few years, I've been feeling sick when I wake up if I come home from work and nap, but I never used to be like that.
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Unread 03-23-2012, 12:04 PM   #10
Mark in Idaho
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Interesting comments.

I have never heard of Keppra used for post concussion head ache. The label, etc. do not mention it for head ache.

Topamax has been prescribed from time to time but is not a common post concussion head ache med.

Amitriptyline is by far the most common post concussion head ache med. But if it is not working, something else would be worth a try.
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Mark in Idaho
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59 years old, retired due to disability, married 33 years, father of three, grandfather of four, Suffered a serious concussion at 10 years old (1965) stopped most driving after last concussion at 46 years old (2001), Post Concussion Syndrome/Multiple Concussion/Impact Syndrome with PTSD, immediate and short term visual and auditory memory problems, slowed processing speed, visual and auditory processing difficulties, insomnia, absence seizures, OCD, 14 concussions since first concussion at 8 years old, Taking paroxetine for 14 years and gabapentin for 12 years. Added L-Tryptophan and successfully stopped all paroxetine after 3 months of tapering down. I currently take 500 mgs of L-Tryptophan when I wake up, 500 mgs after breakfast with my vitamin regimen and 500 mgs late in the evening.


As of Nov 15th, Due to high stress issues resulting in PTSD, my docs put me on three meds. Clonazepam (Klonopin, a dreaded benzo but only for 30 days ) .125 mgs twice daily (Doc prescribed .25 mgs twice daily but half a tablet is doing good) , citalopram (Celexa), an SSRI , and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical anti-psychotic before bed. I have lost over 30 pounds since mid July. The olanzapine is supposed to help me gain some of it back but it has just stopped the weight loss. They took me off the gabapentin. I am feeling better than I have in years.

I am also taking L-Theanine to help with GABA regulation


"Be Still and Know That I am God" Psalm 46:10
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