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

Do deep breathing exercises and meditation help with PCS?

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Unread 03-11-2012, 02:50 PM   #1
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Default Do deep breathing exercises and meditation help with PCS?

I am approaching 8 months of post concussion syndrome. I am slowly starting to heal again, but i definitely still have some time left to recover. Aside from resting, I started vestibular and occupational therapy two weeks ago and it is going pretty well. The only thing i am really struggling with now is anxiety. From what I have heard, anxiety makes post concussion syndrome worse. I have had anxiety and hypochondria my whole life and it is certainly starting to kick in again now.

For example, ten years ago I got the stomach flu and for no apparent reason I got this obsession with throwing up. I convinced myself that i had a stomach flu for three years and i got a CT scan and my stomach was completely fine. However, psychologically i couldn't get the obsession out of my head. I am over it now though haha.

Anyway, do deep breathing exercises and meditation help get rid of the anxiety I am having with the PCS and will it help me recover?
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Unread 03-11-2012, 03:14 PM   #2
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Meditation helps me to reduce stress and anxiety in my life. It did before the head injury I sustained. It seems a lot more difficult for me to meditate these days than it was for me before the accident. But, I am hopeful that it will get easier and easier as I continue to improve.

I also benefit from stretching and I'm looking forward to being able to do yoga again. That used to help reduce tension in my body and anxiety in my mind a great deal before the accident I was in. If you are able to try to learn doing yoga symptom-free I recommend it.

I'm trying to learn Qi Gong right now because it's my understanding that it's easier and less taxing than yoga is. But it's so far been difficult for me to learn it.
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Unread 03-11-2012, 09:09 PM   #3
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Meditation can definitely be helpful in recovery--at the very least, it can cut down on stress and help you to settle down after overstimulation. But it takes a lot of time, patience, and effort to get good at it.

As for relieving your anxiety, don't expect meditation to work any wonders. It sounds like you have an anxiety disorder--possibly OCD--and while meditation is an important part of dealing with any anxiety disorder, it is very unlikely that you will be able to manage such a disorder with meditation alone.

Are you getting any treatment for your anxiety? Are you on any medications? Have you tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure/Response Prevention? These are the most effective treatments for OCD, bar none...and they can be effective with other anxiety disorders as well.

If you're able to get some treatment for your anxiety, then meditation would be an excellent way to supplement that treatment. But it's not a substitute for treatment. So, if you go into meditation hoping that it will help you to cope with and manage your PCS better, that would be a realistic attitude. If you go into it hoping to completely get rid of your anxiety, that would be an unrealistic attitude.
Male, 38 years old, suffering from PCS as a result of being rear-ended on 1/23/11.
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Unread 03-11-2012, 09:17 PM   #4
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There is also a good thread in the archives here, started by greenfrog, titled "Article on Brain Benefits of Daily Meditation." So you can find it more easily, the most recent post on it was 2/10/12.
Male, 38 years old, suffering from PCS as a result of being rear-ended on 1/23/11.
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Unread 03-11-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
Mark in Idaho
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As I have said before and xanadu has also just suggested, you need to get treated for your anxiety/OCD. It is destroying your life as much if not more than your PCS.

It appears you are way beyond the CBT and exposure/response therapies for now. The proper meds and professional support may be able to get you to a point where meditation and other therapies will help.

You may need to move out of your current environment to be free of the anxiety/OCD triggers. You will not be able to heal your PCS until you get control of your anxieties. It is like you are standing in a mud puddle and trying to wash your feet. Every time you put one foot down to wash the next, it gets dirty again. Your OCD/anxiety is doing this to your brain.

I hope you can find a way to get the professional help you need.

My best to you.
Mark in Idaho

60 years old, retired due to disability, married 34 years, father of three, grandfather of four, Suffered a serious concussion at 10 years old (1965) stopped most driving after concussion at 46 years old (2001), Post Concussion Syndrome/Multiple Concussion/Impact Syndrome with PTSD, immediate/short term visual and auditory memory problems, slowed processing speed, visual/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 stopped paroxetine after 3 months of tapering. I currently take 100 mgs of 5-HTP AM, 500 mgs of L-Tryptophan at noon.

As of Nov 15th, Due to high stress issues resulting in PTSD, docs put me on 3 meds. Clonazepam but only for 30 days ) .125 mgs twice daily (Doc presc. .25 mgs 2x daily but half a tablet is good) , citalopram (Celexa), an SSRI , and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical anti-psychotic that usually causes weight gain before bed. I lost over 30 pounds since mid July. It just stopped the weight loss. Took me off the gabapentin.

May 2014, I am off the olanzapine due to a 6 fold price increase. Back on 600 mgs of gabapentin before bed.
Oct 2014, off the Celexa. The 5-HTP is doing much better and leaves me feeling normal as compared to being on an SSRI.

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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