After a concussion or other brain injury, your loved one may start exhibiting some behaviors that are considered inappropriate and childlike. They may be prone to crying (emotional lability), angry outbursts, impulsive behaviors, and more. It may seem like their words and behaviors are out of character or that they’re failing to understand and respect the feelings of others.
The Cognitive FX Blog
Your source for everything you need to know about traumatic brain injury and concussions.
If you have post-concussion syndrome, you might think that the Mayo Clinic would be a serious contender as your treatment provider. After all, the Mayo Clinic is a world-renowned medical and research center with facilities in Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota. Patients have access to a wide range of medical specialties and healthcare options, with over 100 medical and surgical services available throughout the system. Their drive and dedication have earned them many top rankings in varied specialties, including endocrinology, gastroenterology, and cancer, to name just a few.
Very few clinics offer specialized treatment for post concussion syndrome (PCS). Cognitive FX specializes exclusively in treating the root causes of lingering post-concussion symptoms (as well as those caused by similar brain injury mechanisms, such as transient ischemic attack or carbon monoxide poisoning). Amen Clinics treats a wide variety of mental health disorders, emotional issues, and behavioral challenges, such as depression, anxiety, addictions, and anger. This article examines the differences in evaluation, treatment, support, and pricing of Amen Clinics vs. Cognitive FX for persistent symptoms of brain injury.
Despite the fact that your concussion was weeks (or months or even years) ago, you’re still experiencing symptoms. Maybe they’re ever-present reminders of an injury you’d rather forget, or maybe they come and go as you attempt to live your life as fully as you can. Either way, you’re still suffering. What’s going on, and what can you do about it?
Post-concussion syndrome is downright frustrating to experience. Doctors often miss it during diagnosis, and even if they do make the diagnosis, treatment methods vary considerably from clinic to clinic. What works for some doesn’t work for others.
The number of patients with long COVID may be decreasing, but those still experiencing the condition need reliable treatments and resources for recovery more than ever.
If you’ve suffered a concussion, you can usually expect to get better over the course of two weeks. (Concussions from sports injuries average 7–10 days, while recovery from concussions from other causes can take up to three months.) During this time, you might have your up and down days, but the upward trajectory should be there. Unfortunately, not all patients get better. In fact, up to 30% of post-concussion patients develop long-lasting symptoms. While those symptoms might stay stable, you could notice things getting worse instead of better.
Vertigo is a common symptom after a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Most patients describe it as feeling like either the room is spinning or they are. Almost half of those who sustain a concussion report vertigo in the first few days after their injury. For most patients, this feeling dissipates within a few days or weeks at most, but for some, post-concussion vertigo persists for years after the trauma.
Headaches are one of the most common symptoms after a head injury (studies show 70% of mTBI patients experience them, though 84% of our patients report having them). They can develop after mild, moderate, or severe injuries. For many patients, the headaches develop for the first time shortly after the injury. For others, the injury causes pre-existing headaches, such as migraines, to worsen.
If left untreated, whiplash can cause long-term symptoms that are unlikely to go away on their own. Studies show that some patients recover within the first three months after their neck injury, but if they’re still experiencing symptoms past this period, improvement is unlikely without appropriate treatment. For example, hockey player Sidney Crosby suffered for months until doctors recognized untreated whiplash. Once he received appropriate treatment, he was able to continue with his career.
Whiplash can cause physical and neurological damage that results in long-term symptoms. In addition, the same event that caused whiplash could also have caused a concussion. (The sudden motion can cause the brain to collide with the skull even if there is no external impact on the head.) Concussions can develop into post-concussion syndrome (PCS), with symptoms persisting for months or even years.
Concussions can have long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional effects. Symptoms such as brain fog, headaches, and depression can last for months or years after the initial injury. When the effects of a concussion last for three months or more, we call it post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
Struggling to fall asleep, only to wake up in the middle of the night from a strange nightmare? Rising exhausted in the morning? These are all signs that you may suffer from COVID-related insomnia — colloquially known as COVIDsomnia or coronasomnia.
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can lead to severe long-term cognitive, physical, and behavioral symptoms, such as problems with memory, difficulty concentrating, balance issues, and mental health problems. Symptoms can continue even when the source of the gas is removed. Patients affected by CO poisoning can experience symptoms for months or even years after exposure.
Most patients with COVID-19 recover within a few days or weeks after a brief acute infection. However, about 10% experience long-term symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and even psychological issues like depression and anxiety. Experiencing these persistent symptoms is known as long COVID, long-haul COVID or post-acute sequelae of SARS-Cov-2 infection (PASC).
At the moment, treatment options for long COVID patients are limited. Many patients cope with their symptoms using existing medications or treatments targeting specific symptoms like headaches or sleep problems, but these efforts are just stopgaps. They don’t actually resolve the underlying cause of symptoms associated with long COVID. Researchers know there is a growing need to identify new and effective treatments for these patients.
After a concussion or other type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), some patients experience persistent symptoms for months, or even years. This condition is known as post-concussion syndrome (PCS), and it can affect patients of any age.
“Post-traumatic brain injury syndrome” refers to long-term repercussions from concussions and other head injuries. Someone using this term could be referring to one of three conditions:
Loss of taste and smell featured heavily in the news during the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the first signs of infection. But this is not the only condition that may lead to loss of smell. You could also experience this symptom after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), whether it was a mild TBI (concussion) or a severe head injury.
Headaches. Dizziness. Brain fog. Constant fatigue. Feeling overwhelmed or like your emotions can’t stabilize. These and so many other symptoms can remain for months, or even years, after a concussion. If you feel like your recovery is excruciatingly slow, you’re not alone. Up to 30% of people who suffer a concussion experience persistent symptoms for months or years later.
After suffering a mild traumatic brain injury, you might expect to feel off for a few days before being able to function at your normal level again. However, a rapid return to normal is not the case for everybody. If symptoms like headache, dizziness, neck pain, fatigue, trouble concentrating, insomnia, or mood changes linger for weeks or months after your concussion, you may be suffering from post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
Many hospitals offer robust medical treatment to help patients survive traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). It’s common for those same hospitals, or affiliated care providers, to offer rehabilitation to patients after the danger of death has passed. These rehabilitation services often focus on activities of daily living (walking, dressing yourself, eating, etc.). It’s less common to find appropriate rehabilitative medical care for long-lasting symptoms following TBI.
Long COVID symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, poor endurance, and respiratory problems can have a significant impact on your daily routine. Some long COVID patients’ symptoms are so severe that they need a reduced work schedule or are no longer working due to their illness. Persistent symptoms can follow both mild COVID and cases that required treatment in the ICU.
Neural fatigue can develop after any type of brain injury, including mild traumatic brain injury (concussion), severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), hypoxia, viral infection, stroke, or transient ischemic attack. It might surface immediately or after some time and can last for months or even years. It can also develop in patients with neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and dementia.
As you read this text, your brain is processing the incoming visual information and sending directions to your eyes so they maintain focus on what you want to read. But if you have post-traumatic vision syndrome (PTVS) and your eyes do not work together efficiently, you may have a hard time keeping track of what you’re reading and develop a headache from your efforts. You may have also noticed that everyday activities that should be automatic — like reaching for an object, driving, or going shopping — require more effort.
COVID-19 can affect the autonomic and central nervous systems. It can affect organ systems directly through infection or indirectly via dysfunction in the nervous system. That means a host of crazy-sounding symptoms — such as blood pressure changes, memory and attention issues, and gastrointestinal upset — are possible during and after COVID. But many of the lingering, post-COVID symptoms are related to nervous system dysfunction.
When most people think of COVID-19 symptoms, they often recall the most common acute symptoms: brain fog, sore throat, congestion, headaches, and the like. What many don’t know is that long COVID can affect your vision for months after contracting the illness.
Many people are surprised to learn that concussions can have long-term effects if left untreated. Chronic concussion syndrome is a less common term for persistent post-concussion symptoms (also known as post-concussion syndrome, or PCS). If you suffer from headaches, brain fog, vision issues, fatigue, short-term memory problems, irritability, feelings of overwhelm, or other persistent symptoms after a head injury, you might have chronic concussion syndrome.
Long COVID is real. Data shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from the Household Pulse Survey (July/August 2022) show that more than 40% of adults in the United States have had COVID-19, and nearly one in three of them (approximately 30%) experience symptoms for more than three months after their original acute infection. Not all patients with long COVID are severely affected, but the report estimates that two to four million Americans are currently unable to work because of persistent COVID symptoms.
Memory and attention problems are common in long COVID patients: A recent study showed that 70% of COVID long haulers experience memory and concentration difficulties for months after their initial disease. If you’re one of them, you might struggle to focus on work, forget where you left your keys, struggle to remember an acquaintance’s name, or space out unintentionally during a conversation.
COVID-19 can cause cognitive symptoms in some patients, such as short-term memory loss, difficulties concentrating, problems recalling words, and brain fog (a condition known as long COVID). While most initial studies focused on patients hospitalized with severe COVID symptoms, it became apparent that most long COVID patients developed their condition after only a mild case of COVID.
Headache pain is the most common symptom after a traumatic brain injury, with up to 90% of patients experiencing this symptom for at least a few days after suffering a concussion. These headaches can also develop after other causes of head trauma, such as bacterial and viral brain infections, carbon monoxide poisoning, “chemo” brain, transient ischemic attack, and COVID-19.
After headaches, dizziness is the second most common symptom patients experience after a concussion. Although this symptom often resolves by itself, it becomes persistent and debilitating for some patients. If patients experience dizziness or other concussion symptoms for more than three months, they may have post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
More than 20 million Americans have lingering symptoms that can be described as long COVID (or “post-COVID conditions”), but doctors and scientists are still researching why it develops. As a result, these patients often struggle to get a diagnosis and find a suitable treatment for their condition.
If you’ve been experiencing headaches for weeks, or even months, after your initial COVID infection, you are not alone. Headaches are one of the most common neurological symptoms being experienced by COVID-19 long-haulers, and some patients even experience daily, persistent headaches. But they’re often just one of many symptoms long COVID patients report. Other common symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, gastrointestinal issues, and more.
When the pandemic started, we were told that children wouldn’t be seriously affected by the virus. And while most children only experience a mild version of the disease, evidence shows that some children are at risk of developing persistent symptoms after their initial COVID-19 infection.
If you’ve experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it’s natural to want to know how long and how difficult your recovery is going to be. There are so many factors affecting recovery time — such as the specifics of the injury, gender, treatment options, and more. Remember, the length and extent of your recovery is unique to you. Recovery stories vary even between patients with similar injuries.
Head injuries vary wildly in severity. You could suffer anything from debilitating brain damage to a few days of feeling “off” before returning to normal. You might suffer a moderate traumatic brain injury and feel no lasting effects, or suffer from persistent symptoms after “just” a mild TBI.
More than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the list of symptoms caused by the virus keeps getting longer. In addition to the most common symptoms of a persistent dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath, many patients experience an array of seemingly random body changes both during and after the acute phase of the disease. We’ll discuss a number of them, including but not limited to:
Have you ever caught yourself holding your breath while doing something challenging? Or feeling lightheaded and breathing faster when you stand up after sitting for a long time? Maybe you often have rosy cheeks without a reasonable cause, like exercise.
Fatigue is a common symptom of viral infection, and having fatigue with a COVID-19 infection is no exception. But the severity and longevity of that fatigue is what sets COVID-19 apart from the common cold or even the flu. You might…
Diagnosing a concussion can be a challenging process. There is no definitive test to confirm the diagnosis with 100% certainty. Instead, doctors often rely on subjective descriptions of symptoms and simple neurological examinations to check systems such as vision, balance, and cognition.
Many patients have heard of the most common long-term effects of COVID-19: symptoms such as breathing issues, brain fog, and constant fatigue. But there is mounting evidence that COVID-19 may also affect sexual health negatively in both men and women. Men who hadn’t previously had problems of this nature have started developing erectile dysfunction (ED) after their COVID-19 infection.
Most people who get infected with the coronavirus recover within a few weeks. However, some continue to experience symptoms weeks or even months after they are infected. They have what are known as long-haul symptoms of COVID-19. As such, they are sometimes called COVID-19 long-haulers. Sometimes, even patients who had a mild or asymptomatic coronavirus infection can become long-haulers.
You’d think a family of eight with the foresight to pull their children out of school earlier than the rest of the nation would be safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, seven out of the eight family members contracted the coronavirus at the very beginning of the pandemic, back when testing was frustratingly difficult to obtain, and our knowledge about the disease was limited.
While recovering from COVID-19, you may find yourself getting breathless easily from activities that didn’t used to tire you, like carrying laundry or walking up the stairs.
Concussions, a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), pose potentially significant health issues no matter their severity. Despite this, as many as five in 10 concussions aren’t reported or detected.
If you’ve been feeling fuzzy-headed and have been struggling to concentrate since you’ve had COVID-19, you’re not alone. Even months after the disease, some patients still can’t shake the feeling that their brain is lost in a maze. Many describe it as walking through a fog, unable to see where they’re going.
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests some COVID-19 patients will experience neurological signs or symptoms of the infection. Genetic material from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been found in the cerebrospinal fluid of a person with COVID-19. And the virus has been found in the brain tissue of patients who died of COVID-19, which suggests it can affect the nervous system.
Living with the lingering symptoms of a concussion for months or even years is life-changing. Patients with post-concussion syndrome (PCS) can feel worthless, misunderstood, lonely, and frustrated. In fact, almost half of these patients develop anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. Even if patients don’t develop these conditions, many still struggle with negative thoughts and emotions in their daily lives.
Have you ever gotten stuck in a task, set it aside for a while, and then discovered that it somehow seemed easy when you came back to it? If so, you’ve experienced the power of strategic breaks to re-energize your brain. If you’re recovering from a traumatic brain injury, these breaks play a vital role in revitalizing your brain throughout the day.
If you’re constantly struggling to find the right words to finish a sentence or express your ideas clearly in a conversation, it’s easy to become frustrated and angry.
Sustaining a traumatic brain injury can be a challenging experience. You probably felt angry, demoralized, helpless, and even hopeless in the days following your injury. For some people, these feelings eventually subside and disappear — but that didn't happen for you.
Even after you've recovered from the acute symptoms of COVID-19, you might find yourself struggling with short-term memory loss, concentration issues, and other cognitive symptoms. If it's been weeks (or even months) since you had COVID-19, it can feel like there is no reason why you should still feel this way. These lingering symptoms after initial recovery from COVID-19 have become known as “long COVID” and can have a debilitating effect on your life.
If you’ve been struggling with lingering symptoms after a brain injury and even a mild jog is enough to trigger misery, then you might flinch at the idea of high-intensity interval training as a recovery method. But there is a way to exercise while keeping your symptom levels down.
If you have post-concussion syndrome (PCS), then you likely know how difficult it is to get an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment. Many medical doctors don’t have the resources to treat PCS effectively, or they rely exclusively on pharmaceuticals that help some symptoms while making others worse. So when you find a healthcare provider who (a) actually knows what post-concussion syndrome is, and (b) claims to treat it, then it’s worth following up.
It’s normal for kids to get bumps and bruises when playing and participating in sports, but it’s always worrisome when your child hits their head. How serious is it? Could they have a concussion? Do they need to see a doctor?
Many people have neck pain after a concussion or whiplash injury. It may show up immediately after your injury or weeks to months afterward. That pain may involve stiffness, tension, sharp pain, and pain associated with certain movements or behaviors (e.g., looking at your phone). The pain may feel deep or superficial.
Tingling hands following a concussion (mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI) might sound relatively minor, but for anyone who’s had the misfortune to experience this symptom, it can be painful, puzzling, and disruptive to daily activities.
Post-Concussion Syndrome Car Accident Settlements: How They Work, Mistakes to Avoid, and Insights from Real Cases
Receiving a concussion (a mild type of traumatic brain injury) in a car accident can be an extremely traumatic experience, regardless of whether you were at fault.
Many doctors’ first response to a concussion is to recommend resting in a dark room until symptoms go away. And if that doesn’t work (and it won’t for up to 30% of post-concussion patients), their next step is often to prescribe medications for the symptoms that haven’t gone away.
Post-concussion syndrome is an “invisible” illness.
Following concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), impaired vision and vision-related symptoms are common. Signs and common symptoms include blurred vision, light sensitivity, light-related headaches, eye movement issues, and more.
Any head injury — including concussion — can cause symptoms that last for years after the injury. Up to 30% of post-concussion patients experience symptoms beyond the expected three-month recovery window. Other types of brain injury, such as severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), transient ischemic attack (TIA), certain viral or bacterial illnesses, carbon monoxide poisoning, surgery, and chemical exposure can result in lingering symptoms, too.
The type of head injury doctor you need to see depends on the type of injury you’ve experienced and how long ago the injury occurred. Doctors who excel at concussion treatment, for example, are often not the doctors you would see for a skull fracture.
If you’ve ever felt like you were suffering alone with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may find it reassuring to learn you’re definitely not alone.
Brain injury recovery is hard. The severity of your injury, which parts of your brain were affected, and how they were affected, all factor into things such as how much you can recover and how long it will take.
Post-concussion syndrome, also known as persistent post-concussion symptoms (PPCS), occurs when concussion symptoms persist for months or years after you sustain a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or another type of brain trauma. If you or a loved one received a post-concussion syndrome (PCS) diagnosis, you're probably wondering if it's treatable. (Short answer: yes!) You may also want to know how long recovery takes, what you can do to alleviate symptoms, and whether what you're experiencing is "normal."
We treat hundreds of post-concussion patients every year and regularly answer these questions for our patients. This guide will help you understand post-concussion syndrome in depth by answering a number of questions, including:
When people think of concussion symptoms, they often think of the obvious ones: headaches, drowsiness, fogginess. What they don’t expect are gastrointestinal issues.
If you’ve experienced a concussion or traumatic brain injury, you may already know that a bewildering array of symptoms can occur days, months, and even years after the injury.
Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion (mild traumatic brain injury or mTBI), and other head trauma can cause high blood pressure, low blood pressure, and other circulatory system changes. Head injury may lead to dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system (a condition known as dysautonomia), which in turn can cause blood pressure dysfunction and other symptoms to persist for months or years after the injury. Some patients experience a particular type of dysautonomia known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which we discuss further in the post.
Perhaps this sounds familiar: You wake up from a relaxing nap expecting to feel refreshed, but instead, your heart is pounding for no reason. Or you stand up after a few hours on the couch and feel lightheaded and unstable. Maybe your resting heart rate is now 90, even though it used to be 65.
Health care providers often set low expectations after a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). When patients exceed those expectations, it’s cause for joy. At the same time, it’s disheartening to be caught up in an endless litany of “can’t.”
If you’ve had a severe or mild traumatic brain injury (severe TBI or mild TBI) that’s left you with post-concussion syndrome (PCS), just thinking can be taxing. Cognitive health is “the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember,” but a brain injury can disrupt these processes, either temporarily or in the long term. This can make day-to-day functioning a challenge, to say the least.
Mild or severe traumatic brain injury (concussion and TBI) can cause upsetting changes to your mental health. Brain injury can worsen pre-existing mental illness or cause new symptoms — such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. Don’t give up hope: There are good treatment programs that can help you recover.
The fight with cancer is difficult enough, so it’s understandable if you’re frustrated and confused by the cognitive symptoms that can crop up after chemotherapy. Memory problems? Clouded thinking? Fatigue? No thanks!
If someone you love breaks their wrist, it’s easy to know what’s next. A doctor will tell you how long the injury needs to heal, what to do, and what not to do. Helping out could mean braiding hair or carrying books. While it’s not a fun experience for anyone involved (and you might tire of being on dish duty every night), there’s always an end in sight. No one struggles to understand why they’re in pain from a broken wrist.
Dizziness. Nausea. Balance problems. Car-sickness. These are a few of the unpleasant symptoms of vestibular dysfunction after a head injury. Fortunately, they don’t have to be permanent; most patients make rapid improvement with a good therapist.
Recovering from a head injury is an emotional, difficult journey whether you’re male or female. On that journey, women face a few hurdles that men do not. Today, we’d like to talk about those hurdles and a few ways you can handle them as they come.
Here’s something you probably won’t hear in the emergency room: A transient ischemic attack (TIA, or mini-stroke) can have symptoms that last for months or years afterward. Many healthcare providers think these symptoms are rare or at least short term, but a 2013 survey from the UK Stroke Association showed otherwise. Seventy percent of respondents reported long-term after effects such as cognitive difficulties or poor mobility. And sixty percent had emotional changes after the incident.
Neurofeedback is a confusing topic for patients to decipher on their own. Many clinics use big words and brief explanations, and they claim that neurofeedback can cure any number of conditions, from ADHD to post-concussion syndrome.
What you eat affects your health, whether you’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury or are in perfect health. But nutrition is especially important after a brain injury. Diet can be the difference between your brain getting “just enough to squeak by” vs. being powered up for healing.
Dry needling and acupuncture can help relieve certain post-concussion symptoms. They are not a cure-all, either for acute concussion or post-concussion syndrome, but if you suffer from headaches, neck and back pain, or nausea, keep reading.
At our post-concussion treatment clinic, patients sometimes present with short- or long-term hormone dysfunction after brain injury. While we don’t treat hormonal imbalance at our clinic, we often make referrals for it and communicate with our patients’ physicians about their condition.
Oxygen is good for the brain. A lack of oxygen is bad for the brain. So is getting more than normal levels of oxygen better for the brain?
Low energy, difficulty concentrating, brain fog, anxiety, depression, memory problems...
Some doctors say it’s absolutely unsafe to drink liquor when you’re recovering from a concussion. Others say it’s safe, but it might set back your recovery. Still others say, “Why not substitute a fancy coffee for your favorite cocktail on your next night out?” (Please don’t do this. We’ll explain why later in this post.)
Persistent symptoms after a head injury (post-concussion syndrome) can be confusing. They don’t always seem like problems an injured brain should cause. Symptoms like memory problems, trouble reading, or light sensitivity make sense; your brain is closely involved in those processes.
What should you do when your concussion symptoms don’t go away?
The Hariri lab at Duke University recently published a review that questions the reliability of task-based fMRI as used to examine individual patients.
Between 80,000-90,000 of people who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year develop long-term disabilities related to their TBI. Many others suffer from a variety of long-term, problematic symptoms that continue to interfere with their lives. When they try to get help for these issues, they are often told there’s nothing more that can be done — or worse, that there’s nothing wrong with them at all. Here’s the good news: Recovery can and does continue for patients who find the right help.
Anxiety. Depression. Irritability. Dramatic mood swings. Difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
There is a whole world of hurt and pain for patients who experience mental health symptoms after a concussion. Not all of them realize that concussions can cause anxiety, and those who do know it don’t know why it’s happening or how to fix it. Many visit psychiatrists who prescribe medication that may just make things worse (something we’ll explain in depth later in the post).
“No one ever told me my concussion could cause depression.”
It should come as no surprise that COVID-19 — both the illness itself and all the situational changes that come with the coronavirus pandemic — is messing with our minds. Many people are experiencing heightened anxiety in response to the pandemic, and not just people who have experienced anxiety before.
Many viral and bacterial infections are capable of affecting the brain and causing widespread dysfunction that may outlast the acute disease symptoms. Patients with long-term symptoms after viral encephalitis or meningitis may suffer from fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating, sleep issues, memory problems, emotional changes, and more.
Note: While this quiz will give you some insight into your current conditions, your results are only as good as your answers. It is not a substitute for seeing a doctor and is not official medical advice. If you’re experiencing any of the signs of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), seek medical attention immediately. Otherwise, feel free to use this quiz as a starting point to determine if you need further care. Also note that, while we may record your responses, it is not linked with any personally-identifying information.
There is no exact time frame for recovering from a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), otherwise known as a concussion. The majority of people who sustain an acute concussion recover within a few weeks. For a small percentage, however, concussion symptoms persist for weeks, months, or even years after their brain injury. This condition, known as post-concussion syndrome (PCS), leaves frustrated patients searching for answers and concussion treatment options that might help.
[Note: This article was written during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We recommend that you check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for travel advisories and health information when making travel decisions.]
After a Car Accident Concussion, This Attorney Worried He’d Never Practice Law Again. Here’s How He Recovered.
"All I remember is hearing screeching and then blackness," Anthony Loubet said as he talked about the car accident that changed his life.
If you’ve had a concussion (or two, or three … ), there’s a good chance someone told you to rest in a dark room and do nothing until your symptoms go away. But research over the past few years has revealed that resting in a dark room (known as “cocooning”) is not the best way to treat a concussion.
We can all agree that nausea is terrible. If it’s a one-time thing because you ate expired yogurt, well, it’s not the end of the world — you’ll be back to normal in a day or two. But nausea that lasts for days? Or comes back every time you exercise? It’s awful.
The topic of football concussions is a controversial one. If you’re a football player worried about the long-term health of your brain, it can be confusing to wade through all the information out there. Opinions range anywhere from people claiming that all the worry about football concussions is ruining the game to those who want to ban tackle football, for children (since kids who play tackle football sustain 15 times more head impacts than children who play flag football, according to the CDC).
Modern traditional medicine has transformed the way we diagnose and treat disease and injury. And in most cases, it is extremely effective. But it doesn’t always provide the solutions patients need to improve their quality of life, especially when they suffer from poorly characterized ailments (such as unexplained chronic pain, fibromyalgia, or movement disorders).
If you’re struggling to recover after a brain injury, dealing with healthcare providers is often a frustrating process. Unless you have a clear, severe injury, they might be dismissive of your symptoms or just may not have enough treatment options to help you. Oftentimes, they’ll order an MRI or a CT scan.
Brain fog is one of the most common symptoms of a concussion. On lists of warning signs of a concussion, it might be listed as “trouble concentrating,” “slowness in thinking,” or even “difficulty remembering and learning new information.”
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is difficult enough to handle alone. When you add concussions into the mix, it can feel overwhelming. The relationship between ADHD, concussions, and post-concussion syndrome is still being researched, but that doesn’t mean there’s no good info or treatment options for patients who need them.
Light Sensitivity: What Causes It and What You Can Do About It (Especially if It’s Concussion Related)
Light sensitivity (photophobia) can manifest in different ways for different people. For example, you might:
Personality changes (or what feels like them) are common following a traumatic brain injury. Even a concussion can affect the brain long after it’s healed from the initial injury. The way we process and understand information can change as a result of the injury, so it’s not surprising that our emotions are affected too.
How 14 Years of Unexplained Chronic Illness Turned Out to Be Concussion-Related: A Former Figure Skater’s Story
I started figure skating competitively when I was eight years old. I loved the feeling of flying across the ice, the “wind” racing across my skin, vaulting into the air and sailing through a landing. Like many, I dreamed of the Olympics, and I poured every ounce of energy into training.
If you ask the average American which sport causes the most concussions, they’re probably going to say, “football.” It’s a contact sport with violent collisions on many plays. Football players take repeated hits to the head and often suffer concussions.
Dealing with a concussion can be a confusing and frustrating experience. Unlike straight-forward illnesses that can be diagnosed by a simple lab test, there is no easy, one-size-fits-all test to diagnose concussions. Not everyone experiences the same symptoms, and the road to recovery is unpredictable.
From Wrestling Concussions to Rock n’ Roll: How This Guitarist Found Healing from Post-Concussion Syndrome
Chris Nicastro’s head was pounding. He opened his eyes, wincing at the bright lights from the bathroom vanity. It took a few moments for him to remember where he was: sprawled on the floor after fainting out of the blue. As he realized he hit his head — now for the fourth time — his heart sank. Another concussion.
If you’ve been reading about concussion diagnosis and symptoms and feel confused, that’s pretty normal. Most advice about concussions feels vague. It’s hard to know what applies to you. And if you’re like most patients, you may be second-guessing yourself and unsure whether to see a doctor after your injury.
If you speak to him today, you’d never be able to guess that Nathan “Nate” Benson is a brain injury survivor. The Bountiful, Utah native is in his final year of undergraduate school for a Neuroscience degree at Brigham Young University (BYU).
It’s not uncommon for people in today’s society to be tired. The demands on our time seem to be never ending. However, there’s a difference between being tired from being on the go all of the time and the feeling of extreme fatigue.
If you’ve recently suffered a concussion, you might be confused about when and how to return to exercise. Maybe you were told to avoid all physical activity until you feel better. But what if that time never comes?
When you get a concussion, you may worry about when it’s safe to sleep. You might even have a friend or a family member wake you up every few hours. And while that is sometimes necessary (if you have a severe injury and have not yet received medical attention), most of the time, it’s better to sleep as much as you can while you heal.
Many people who have a concussion suffer from some kind of vision problem as a result of the concussion. However, except for “blurry vision” or “sensitivity to light,” the vision problems people often experience after head trauma are not usually listed among the most common concussion-related symptoms. These symptoms are often overlooked and left untreated, or they are not treated as effectively as possible.
Are you still experiencing post-concussion syndrome symptoms even after resting like your doctor recommended? If you’re frustrated, tired, and in pain because your concussion symptoms won’t go away, you’re not alone.
If you’re searching for answers and think you might have post-concussion syndrome (PCS), the path to diagnosis can be challenging. Few medical professionals are experts on the condition, and many lack the most sophisticated diagnostic tools. Many doctors will make a diagnosis based on concussion symptom history and a quick physical examination. Others will supplement their findings with imaging or computerized testing.
“I feel like there’s a tight band around my head.” “My head feels like it’s blowing up like a balloon.” “I have a constant pressure headache.” “I feel like my head is being pulled apart between the eyes.”
After Five Years of Failed Treatment, This Former Player Overcame Her Soccer Concussion Symptoms — Here’s How
When Sam Pembleton arrived at Cognitive FX for post-concussion syndrome treatment, she was shaking. Her nerves were so bad that she couldn’t speak to the other people in the waiting room. When they put her in the MRI machine, she panicked. It took several tries just to get through the scan.
Quirien Willemsen is a happy, busy mother to three young girls in Loenen aan de Vecht, The Netherlands. She works as a legal counsel for a bank, loves going skiing on holiday, and embraces life to the fullest. But just six months prior to this interview, it seemed like that lifestyle was lost forever.
Memory loss is a common concussion symptom. You can struggle with long-term or short-term memory formation after a concussion, but short-term memory problems are more common. Some common issues include…
A regular MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) looks at brain structure and integrity. While it is helpful for diagnosing structural brain damage, it can’t often be used to detect post-concussion syndrome (PCS). However, a specialized form of MRI called functional neurocognitive imaging (fNCI) can detect PCS.
In post-concussion syndrome (PCS), a patient with a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) experiences persistent symptoms from the injury. If left untreated, the symptoms might last months, years, or even decades after the event.
Many doctors aren’t aware that concussions can cause long-lasting symptoms, a condition commonly called post-concussion syndrome (PCS). As a result, they treat common symptoms rather than the underlying condition, which often involves prescription medications for each symptom. If you do manage to get a diagnosis, then the default treatment is often still medication — not because it’s the most effective option, but because many healthcare providers don’t have the connections or resources to offer other options.
If you notice symptoms after a concussion, it’s best not to wait to seek treatment. If you’re the type to “wait it out” and see if things get better, then we recommend waiting no longer than three months. After that, it is very unlikely your symptoms will improve, so it makes sense to pursue active rehabilitation of concussion and post-concussion syndrome (especially if those symptoms interfere with your everyday life).
After a brain injury, survivors and family members often describe having difficulty adjusting to life’s changes and losses. Survivors oftentimes face post-injury challenges that make can recovery difficult. They may have trouble paying attention, communicating, or having the energy to complete day to day tasks. Going to doctor’s appointments, handling financial issues and coping with conflict within the family can seem to take up all of their time. To make matters worse, having trouble with handling stress and easily feeling overwhelmed are quite common for survivors.
Neuroplasticity, from a clinician’s view, is the ability of the brain to change and heal itself. From a neuroscience perspective, neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to affect the synaptic transmission of information in response to external stimuli.
Understanding Folate: What is it, How Does Folate Effect The Brain and How Folate Can be Added to my Diet
Did you know that folate comes from the Latin word folium, which means leaf? Folate is a naturally occurring form of the vitamin B9. Folate is a water-soluble vitamin that has many important functions in your body. Some of the important functions folate aides in are the creation of DNA and RNA, formation of neurotransmitters, and the formation of the nervous system during pregnancy. Folate is also known to help with depression, mental fatigue, and irritability because it can be quickly broken down and supply the body with energy. (this is why drinks like 5-hour energy contain B9 along with other B vitamins).
The medical community can be painfully slow to adopt best practices, and concussion care is no exception. Many doctors and clinics recommend “cocooning” — i.e., rest and inactivity in a dark room until symptoms disappear — even though research shows that is not the best way to treat a concussion.
A concussion and multiple concussions can cause symptoms like depression, trouble focusing, irritability and other symptoms that make your child feel like seem like they are not themselves. Brain damage from a concussion can cause emotional symptoms that do not resolve on their own.
As a parent, you may have noticed that your child did not to act out or have behavioral problems before the concussion. Understanding that the behavior or complaints you recognize in your child or teen are unusual for them, it is safe to assume it is due to the concussion. While some symptoms like moodiness, rudeness, or anxiety may come from other possible sources, it is possible that they’re coming from a concussion they sustained. Your child does not want to be grumpy or suddenly outburst over simple occurrences. It is not uncommon for children and teens to have behavior difficulties resulting from a concussion diagnosis, associated behavior symptoms/changes include:
Samuel Gray spent his entire life trying to push past an invisible wall. His symptoms — things like brain fog, noise sensitivity, short-term memory loss, anxiety, and depression — made every day a challenge. And for most of the thirty-three years he suffered, he had no idea that his challenges stemmed from a childhood traumatic brain injury.
In her youth, Myrthe van Boon loved playing sports and being outside. On breaks from school, she loved going sailing or teaching others how to sail. Her favorite holiday destination was going to the mountains to hit the slopes. But that life disappeared in an instant when she fell during a skiing trip at age 22.
Brain fitness has two basic principles: variety and curiosity. When you do something so frequently that it becomes second nature, it is time for a change. If you can do the newspaper crossword puzzle with your eyes closed, it's time for you to find a new challenge to get the best workout for your brain. Being curious about the world around you, how it works, and how you can understand it will keep your mind working fast and efficiently. The tips below will help you on your quest for mental fitness.
If you’re like the majority of people who have had a concussion, then you likely recovered a few weeks afterward and have felt fine ever since then. Concussive symptoms typically resolve in 7 to 10 days (sports-related concussions) or within 3 months (non-athletes). But not everyone is that fortunate: up to 30% of post-concussion patients have lingering symptoms that don’t go away with time and rest.
And even if you do recover and walk away with no long-term symptoms, it isn’t without consequence: You will always be more susceptible to another concussion than someone who hasn’t had one, particularly during the first year after your concussion. It takes less force to sustain a repeat concussion within a year of the previous concussion and it’s likely to take more time to resolve. Repeated subconcussive jarring or shaking to the head can contribute to this situation as well.
If you visit a doctor for a concussion, you might be told to lie down in a dark room until all your symptoms go away. Many doctors learned that rest was the best way for patients to heal safely from a concussion, but that is no longer best practice. In fact, research shows that active management of concussion has better outcomes. And in our experience treating thousands of patients, many of whom had symptoms that lasted for months or years, we know that “rest until you feel better” can be frustratingly ineffective.
Concussion symptoms can be confusing. They don’t always show up immediately, they can come and go, and they don’t always go away without treatment. We treat concussion patients every day and answer these questions for our patients regularly. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to concussion symptoms, including:
Parents love their children and want to provide the best possible support and care for their children. When your child or teen has a concussion or is trying to cope with long-term concussion symptoms, it can be challenging to know what to do and how much to do for your child. We understand watching your loved one be in pain, sort through the frustration and changes that come with experiencing a brain injury is not an easy adjustment for you.
Naturally, we want to reduce the suffering of those we love, we begin to do more things for them with the intention to help them get better faster, or to reduce their level of stress. Sometimes the desire to take care of them can shift the relationship dynamic to a more codependent relationship. As children become young adults, it is important to instill a sense of interdependence, a space that encourages the teen to learn to be independent with support, guidelines, and a safety net. This empowers them to grow into healthy independent adults. This is also true for those who have a concussion and are learning what they are truly capable of.
Did you know the scientific name for an Avocado is Persea Americana? The avocado is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to various dishes due to its flavor and texture. The avocado has become an extraordinarily popular food among health-conscious individuals. It is known as a super-food, which isn’t surprising because of its health properties.
Going to school can be tough for any child or teen during this phase in their lives. They’re discovering themselves and where they fit in a sea of opportunities. Attending school can be especially tough when they are experiencing concussion symptoms. These symptoms can make your child or teen feel socially isolated because other children or teens don’t understand why they can no longer participate in gym class or why their class schedule has changed. It can be tough for your child to explain why things have changed or they might feel embarrassed about the changes that happened at school.
If you're like most people whose mood is impacted by the winter season, chances are you've woken up on a gray, winter day and wanted to stay in bed. We understand a case of the winter blues is likely to develop like the common cold. We have come up with a couple of ways to overcome this season's case of the winter blues, and we hope you can find the sunshine even on the rough days.
Parents who support their children recovering from post-concussion syndrome or symptoms (PCS) are in challenging circumstances. Many times parents and their injured child, are not fully supported throughout recovery. Often they are left with unanswered questions, and they are left searching and seeking resources to help them to help their child. We have asked parents of our patients, and parents of those who take care of individuals with PCS for things that would help others in their journey and this is what we gathered.
The Recovery Rollercoaster
We know this process can be frustrating, overwhelming, and it is a roller coaster of emotions for all involved. Throughout this process, you may experience feelings of frustration, empathy, and in some cases even heartache, hopelessness, and fear. It’s hard to watch your child suffer and feel you can’t do anything about it.
A concussion is a result of the head receiving a significant blow or jolt causing the brain to impact with the skull. This sudden movement will cause the brain to bounce or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging brain cells. The severity of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can range from mild (a short change in consciousness) to severe (a long period of unconsciousness or memory loss after injury).
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic diet was developed in 1921 to treat epileptic children. This diet was originally designed for 80 to 90 percent of calories to come from fat, 5 to15 percent to come from protein, and 5 to 10 percent to come from carbohydrates.
Concussions occur as the result of a rapid movement of the head and neck which causes the brain to shift and impact the skull. This sudden movement causes injury to the delicate structures, cells, neurons and blood vessels inside your brain. The impact of the injury can cause both physical and chemical changes in your brain and affect how it functions because it alters the systems in your brain.
Medical professionals usually describe concussions as a mild form of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury or mTBI) but, even the “mildest” concussions can cause serious effects and impact a person’s quality of life.
Oxford Dictionaries defines stress as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Everyone is very familiar with experiencing stressful events in their life. Stress occurs every day and comes in various forms. Stress from trying to juggle family, work, friends, and school commitments can be overwhelming. Stress can also develop from issues like health, money, and relationships.
Quite often we are asked what makes Cognitive FX unique in relation to clinics that have a background in functional neurology, including Brain Plasticity Centers. Here we review 8 key ways we are unique.
1- Our key founders have a degree in neuroscience or have been to medical school.
Two of our founders hold a PhD and two of our founders is an MD. The founders brought together a team of multidisciplinary accredited therapists and trainers, each in their own discipline, to standardize a unique imaging and treatment protocol to effectively treat post-concussion symptoms. This includes neuroscientists, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, athletic trainers, licensed massage therapists, occupational therapists, and other professionals.
2- The thing that makes us the most unique is our objective imaging.
Functional Neurocognitive Imaging (fNCI) looks at different regions of the brain and gives you a clear view of which brain regions are working correctly and which ones are not working as they should. This imaging is looking directly at your brain, not at any other parts of the body. When a doctor only looks at symptoms to try to figure out what is going on in the brain, things can be missed or misdiagnosed. The fact that we treat the source of symptoms rather than the symptoms alone is very important. This empowers our multidisciplinary therapists and trainers to have a clear direction and create a plan to help you make significant improvements.
It is that time of year, time to set back your clocks by an hour. The end of daylight savings time is a time of year that many people look forward to for that extra hour of sleep. This one-hour change can have some negative impacts when it comes to driving safety.
This week is Teen Driver Safety Week, and we want to share some statistics and tips on how to keep your new driver safe in the car. Your teen being a newly licensed driver is a big milestone for you and your teen. Handing the keys to the family car to your teen might make you nervous, bringing to mind the dangers broadcasted at you from every media outlet. Not to fear, taking the right steps and supporting your teen to drive safely can make a difference. Below are three of the most common safety issues and tips on how to address these issues with your driving teen.
No.1 Distracted Driving
It’s no secret that distracted driving is dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that distracted driving is responsible for 15% of all crashes resulting in injuries and 10% of all crashes that concluded in fatalities. Unfortunately, many of these fatal accidents involve teen drivers.
Teens are aware that distracted driving is dangerous. Over 90% of teens have admitted that they are aware of the dangers of texting while driving. Despite being aware, about a third of teens admitted they send or check texts while driving.
Essential fatty acids seem to be a big fad right now. BCC Research states, “The global market for natural fatty acids sourced from vegetable oils, animal fats is projected to reach more than $25.7 billion in 2019.” But why? What is so important? What is so essential about them? Here’s the low-down.
This week is Child Passenger Safety Week, and we want to share more about ways to keep your kids safe in the car. Car seats and boosters protect infants and children in a car accident, yet car crashes are a leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 13 years old. Car accidents often lead to traumatic brain injury for the driver and passengers, including children. The most important way to keep kids safe is by using the right car seat for them. Below are the different types of car seats on the market and the age recommendation for each type.
What imaging is used to diagnose a brain injury?
After a concussion or any hit to the head, you go to the doctor, and they tell you might have a concussion, but that it is no big deal because your symptoms will just go away with some rest right? Sometimes, but not usually. It would be nice to know exactly how you are feeling to provide the best overall treatment and a new imaging technology can do that. A Functional Magnetic Resonance Image (fMRI) is an imaging technique used to diagnose concussion and recognizes changes in the brain while you are asked to engage in cognitive tasks.
Most people have heard of an MRI and but fewer have heard of a functional MRI (fMRI). So what are they and what is the difference between them? MRI produces static images of the anatomy of the brain and a functional MRI produces images of what is going on inside the brain as it is working.
Functional NeuroCognitive Imaging (fNCI) fNCI is a unique form of a fMRI that uses specific tests to measure how the brain is functioning. fNCI is over 98% accurate at diagnosing concussions. In the past, concussions have been subjectively diagnosed by either giving the individual a post-concussion symptom scale (PCSS) to rate the severity of their symptoms or by asking the patient if they went unconscious after getting hit.
Currently, many doctors and other medical professionals tell their patients that the majority of people who have a concussion will recover in a short amount of time (under a month). However, new studies are showing that the risk for long-term symptoms is much higher than doctors and concussion specialists previously thought.
Before seeking treatment at Cognitive FX, the majority of our almost 1,000 patients struggled with their symptoms for years. We have treated patients who suffered needlessly from post-concussion symptoms for many decades. Among the oldest concussions we’ve treated was a concussion from 60 years ago.
Many of these patients had given up hope that recovery was possible. They saw their symptoms as a permanent part of their lives and futures. However, our research and patient improvement reports continue to prove that patients can drastically improve from their post-concussion symptoms.
So what should you do if you fall into this growing percentage of the population with long-term PCS? Below are the first steps you can take toward your recovery.
The brain loves taking the path of least resistance. This is true for blood flow and also for sending the communication signals in the brain when neurons are firing. Even a simple task requires different brain regions to work, or function, together at whatever you are trying to accomplish, be it reading this post, driving, writing, singing a song, or doing something as simple as opening your eyes, yawning, or breathing. Overall, when we are talking about brain function, we are talking about the ability for the neurons, the blood flow, and other systems in your brain to work and communicate with one another to do their job.
After mTBI, injured regions of the brain can swell. Because the brain wants to take the path of least resistance, it will use different neuronal pathways to avoid the areas where there is inflammation. This change restricts blood flow in one or more regions of your brain, causing other regions to compensate for the regions that are injured. This means that different regions are over-exerting themselves to complete the work of the injured brain regions. Think of it as a receptionist who, on top of completing her own responsibilities, now has to do the job and work of the accounting department and the CEO. This imbalanced blood flow is what we call dysregulation, or dysfunction.
Self-care is something we all forget about—until we push ourselves too far. We want to give you a new perspective on self-care as you continue to enjoy this summer.
Often, we see or hear that self-care is taking a bubble bath or taking a nap, which could be part of self-care for you. These are relaxing, but here when we talk about self-care we are not just talking about relaxing.
Another way to see self-care is taking care of your well-being. When we see the connection between self-care and well-being, we can recognize it as the foundation to have a life we want. This adds a new level of importance to taking care of ourselves and those we love.
When creating a summer routine, here are 10 things to consider incorporating into your life to support you and your family. When we take care of our well-being this makes us available to support others in their well-being as well.
When someone you love sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion, your whole world can change. You are launched into a world of uncertainty about the injury, recovery, and, perhaps, even who your loved one is anymore. So much can change after a TBI.
What comes to mind when you think of the word “syndrome?” Many commonly known syndromes are often associated with genetic factors or medical diseases that are often lifelong or have lasting effects. Because we know that many post-concussion symptoms are treatable, Cognitive FX agrees with the recent change in terminology and diagnosis that replaced post-concussion syndrome with the more accurate title of post-concussion symptoms.
What was post-concussion syndrome?
According to the latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), post-concussion syndrome included “subjective physical complaints (i.e. Headache, dizziness), cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes. These disturbances can be chronic, permanent, or late emerging” (King, Crawford, Wenden, Moss, & Wade, 1995). More specifically, post-concussion syndrome referred to a cluster of problems that emerge or worsen after receiving a concussion, with symptoms lasting longer than three months.
The EPIC Treatment method often brings about a significant amount of brain change in a short period of time, causing new blood flow regulation in your brain that can be drastically different than where it has been for a very long time. As with any sudden changes, the effects of this process, while overwhelmingly positive, can have some associated challenges. We call this the Traumatic Recovery Process. Every brain is unique. Every injury is unique. Thus, every recovery is unique. Understanding what to expect in the time after your week of EPIC Treatment can help you prepare for and successfully overcome these challenges.
Journaling is one of the greatest therapeutic techniques available. Journaling is free, confidential, and convenient. It offers you the opportunity to be your own therapist. You might think journaling must be done sitting down and writing in a diary-type book. If that doesn’t sound appealing, you may be excited to learn there are numerous types of journaling. You can find a style of journaling that is fun and stress relieving at the same time. Journaling offers you a way to process something and let it go.
It can be incredibly helpful after a brain injury! After a brain injury, it can feel hard to express yourself and journaling is one way that can empower you to share yourself in a creative way.
Discover some of the different types of journals below. Try several. If you find one you love, stick with it. If one doesn’t necessarily click for you, don’t force yourself into it. Keep experimenting until you find one that gives you emotional expression, release, or relief.
Types of Journaling
Write it Out
- Daily life and experiences: This is the type of journal many typically think of when discussing journals. Write about your day chronologically. The entries don’t have to be exhaustive. Try writing a little bit each day. Just put a pen to paper and write for a specified length of time or for a certain number of pages.
- Quick journal: Write one sentence a day.
- One word essence journaling: Write one word to summarize the day.
- Question a day: Answer your own questions or be guided by prompts or predetermined topics. I loved my “Q&A a Day: 5 Years Journal” I purchased on Amazon.
- Meditation or transition journal: After work, before you transition to home, write out all your thoughts to assist you in letting go of the stresses of the day and transition into a more relaxed state.
Water. Something we don’t really think about until we are hit with a gigantic wave of what feels like an unquenchable thirst. We then spend the next few minutes chugging water like it is the last thing we will ever do. We are all really good at coming up with excuses for why we haven’t had enough water.
A Tool to Support You in Healing
After you have received treatment, or are feeling better, and are no longer feeling like your concussed/traumatic brain injury (TBI) self, you may find yourself still holding back or saying the words “I can’t.”
It was a traumatic injury, sometimes the recovery can feel traumatic as well. You may have had many months while healing from your TBI where you struggled with various aspects of your life, including but not limited to, calling in sick to work because of headaches, forgetting important events, not remembering a word during an important presentation, inability to run on your treadmill due to dizziness, and feeling too tired to take care of your kids. Subsequently, you learned to set limitations for yourself. For this reason, once you’re feeling like yourself again, it can be a difficult transition to the new you.
Everything Changed After My Brain Injury
Past patient, Anna Empey shares her experiences in a series of blog posts including "10 Things I Wish I had known Before my Brain Injury", "Journaling Through Recovery" and here in this post.
I lived with post-concussion symptoms, from two separate brain injuries, for almost five years. It was one of the hardest periods in my life, trying to make it through each day, dealing with the migraines, and fighting to live a somewhat typical life.
My second injury, which was about three years into recovering from the first injury, had pretty intense impacts on my life. I pretty much quit everything I was doing. I had to keep my job and focus on working 40 hours a week, dealing with constant exhaustion and fatigue. I started avoiding crowds and people in my daily life, and, eventually, I stopped communicating much with anyone because finding words was hard. I also lived with light and sound sensitivity along with short and long-term memory problems. At this point, it was hard to see the glass half full, and I pretty much lived like my glass was half empty.
Acceptance is the ultimate goal with regard to the stages of grief, your TBI or concussion, and the new you.
Acceptance is accepting who you are, where you are, how you are. This is it. This is YOU. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And you are truly amazing. Struggles and all. You are a survivor. No one can do it better than you!
Acceptance may mean distancing from people who don’t understand, give you ultimatums, enforce deadlines for healing, or get upset with you when you aren’t who you once were. You are worthy. You are deserving. You are brave and amazing. You are different than you were before your injury, but different can be good.
Headaches can be a tricky symptom to address. They are often one of several symptoms that may present itself after a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI). On another hand, headaches are not a requirement to support an actual diagnosis in a TBI or post-concussion symptoms (PCS).
Many believe the five stages of grief last weeks or months, but according to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler, the stages of grief are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and out of one and then another. As a reminder, we do not enter and leave each individual stage in a linear fashion. We may experience one, then another, and back again to the first one. Let each stage happen. Embrace it, learn from it, and then keep going.
What is bargaining?
Bargaining is a stage in the grief process that is helpful when you feel powerless over circumstances, especially after a brain injury. Bargaining is an attempt to regain control. Bargaining is frequently done with God, or a higher power, that you feel has some control over the situation.
Bargaining is similar to negotiation. “I promise I’ll do this, or be this, if I can just go back in time—or have five more minutes or have one more day.”
It’s interesting because you know all the bargaining in the world won’t help, but it doesn’t prevent you from trying, begging, “Please? I’ll do anything. I just want my brain back. I want me back! The way I was.” You want to go back in time—stop the accident from happening, put on protective gear, yield to that stop sign, put on your seatbelt. If only, if only, IF ONLY.
Did you play sports growing up? Hands down, my favorite sport as a kid was soccer. I loved participating in a sport where I could do something I enjoyed with teamwork involved. There was nothing better than stealing the ball and dribbling down the field past every opposing player, to score the winning goal!
While soccer was an important part of my life as a child, I did not realize the implications it could have caused me. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 3 (31%) concussions among girls and 1 in 4 (28%) concussions among boys happens in soccer while heading the ball.
Depression, one of the five stages of grief, may be the most familiar, and frustrating, feeling experienced after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion. And it’s not a fun one. Depression is a feeling of loss, emptiness, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and/or confusion.
Depression as Part of the Five Stages of Grief
After a TBI, typically you’re told to rest for days, weeks, maybe even months. A forced withdrawal from society, family, friends, work, school, everything. Then, once the rest period is over, you still may not instantly go back to the activities you’ve done in the past.
You may find yourself getting lost driving to familiar places. You put food that belongs in the refrigerator in the pantry. You leave things in a very specific place to prevent losing them—only to forget where that place was! You read the same sentence seven times and still don’t understand what you read. You find yourself yelling at your spouse/children/friends for no apparent reason. You get a headache just walking across the room. The activities you used to enjoy may now cause you pain. You get dizzy running on your treadmill, and staring at your computer screen feels like torture. You may find yourself questioning your faith, your choices, your mindset, your abilities, questioning everything. Your TBI has changed your life. All of it.
Helmets are worn in countless sports and activities to protect the head from injury, specifically brain injury. We all wear helmets frequently in our lives, whether it is for something as as simple as biking or as adventurous as zip-lining.
Answer this question for yourself, honestly. Do you wear a helmet 100% of the time while riding a bike or participating in a sport or an activity that requires a helmet?
I remember when I was a young child I did not like wearing my helmet, especially when riding a bike. As a kid, you don’t think about the what ifs. I thought my helmet was inconvenient and uncomfortable. I was under the impression that I looked “cooler” without it. Clearly I wasn’t thinking about the consequences that could occur if I were to fall off my bike.
According to the CDC, “Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0 to 19.” Each day, there are about 8,000 children who are admitted to emergency rooms due to falls. This amounts to a tragic number of 3 million children each year.
Think of your own child, niece, nephew, or a child you care for. Children are energetic, loud, and curious as they are constantly learning and trying to figure out who they are in this world. They bring so much happiness to our lives with their optimism and genuine spirits. When it comes to protecting your children, preventing a brain injury is more important than it may appear.
Adults 65+ years have the highest rates of traumatic brain injury (TBI) deaths, according to the New York Department of Health.
Regardless of your age now, we all get older, even if we don’t want to. You can also think about your parents and grandparents, and the importance of helping those you love prevent an injury. Through these tips, you can learn how to reduce the risk of the elderly, or yourself from a concussion or brain injury. While a brain injury cannot fully be prevented here are some suggestions.
Here are some tips to help prevent falls, specifically for the elderly:
Please joins us this Saturday, March 31, in Oak Brook, Illinois from 3-5 pm. Donations of $25 per person to attend are encouraged but not required.
This event will kickstart efforts to advance industry changing brain research, make treatment available to more people, and deliver to the masses the correct education to inspire impactful legislative changes.
After a traumatic brain injury or concussion, relationships can become strained. Communication can be difficult. Let’s be honest, thinking can be difficult. Sorting out your feelings and sharing them in a healthy way may feel impossible. After a TBI, the areas of your brain that affect processing, language, and word retrieval, can be affected. It takes extra energy and effort to communicate after a TBI. It may feel overwhelming or exhausting.
The good news is it is possible to have healthy communication after a brain injury. It may take more effort and practice, but it is a real possibility.
My memory struggles didn’t make communicating more difficult, but it did require me to come up with some simple tools to remember how to communicate effectively.
Anger is a stage in the grief process. Many times when we experience loss, or trauma, we experience anger, irritability, frustration, or even frequent annoyance. Anger is a healthy emotion, one we don’t necessarily like, but it’s not wrong to feel angry. Experiencing anger doesn’t say anything negative about us. We feel like just about anything could be the “straw that breaks the camel's back”.
Anger is a common emotion most of us are familiar with, prior to injury. We frequently pretend we have control over it. After the injury, we recognize we may not be able to control it.
Why do we have anger?
Anger can cause us to do, or say, things we don’t mean, we later regret, and can’t take back. Anger isn’t the problem, it’s what we do with those feelings that matters. Anger can cause us problems, but anger is also beneficial.
What is Denial?
Denial is a stage in the grief process. Many times it just doesn’t feel real. We may believe we’re imagining the pain or trauma we’re currently experiencing. It’s a bad dream, a nightmare. We’re in shock and we’re anxious to wake up and go back to our normal reality.
If you have had a recent brain injury and are unsure how to deal with the symptoms and changes you are experiencing, then this post is for you! To begin with, we encourage you to find a doctor and work with them throughout your recovery. Finding the right doctor to be on your team is very important to a successful recovery.
Typically, you will follow the return to play protocol, starting with rest and self-care. Then you can use the following suggestions to help you adjust to the changes after a concussion or TBI. I wish I had a list things to do to support me in my mntal health when I experienced my TBI.
Past patient, Anna Empey shares her experiences in a series of blog posts including "Perspective After a Brain Injury" and here in this post.
I sustained my first concussion in July of 2011, playing broom hockey. My roller skates slipped out from under my feet, and I hit the back of my head on the right side on cement.
I didn’t know how severe my concussion was until I went to the doctor a week later with symptoms such as:
- Blurry Vision
- Not Feeling Like Myself
- Difficulty remembering things including locations, words, names, and more.
- Problems sleeping and waking up
At the time, it was diagnosed as a "grade 3" concussion, which means I also had lost consciousness for more than 30 minutes. I was told to rest for a few months, and slowly I got back into my life over the next six months.
I came to Cognitive FX in 2015 about 9 months after I sustained another concussion on the front right side of my head in a car accident. It has taken me time to be grateful for both of my injuries, but most importantly I am thankful for who and where I am now. I wanted to share 10 things I wish I would have known before I had a brain injury.
Grief and loss are a part of life, but they are the least talked about part of life. Have you ever wondered why that is? It is because grief is HARD. Going through it is difficult. We seem to feel if we avoid talking about it, we will avoid feeling grief entirely. Wrong.
Maybe you have heard of the Stages of Grief, and maybe you haven’t. Either way, you are experiencing grief, due to a recent brain injury, concussion, TBI, or trauma. Learning about the stages of grief gives validation and understanding. But, know that there is no wrong way to grieve. There is only your way. Grief is unique.
You may experience all of the stages, or you may not. In what order, for what length of time, or how severe it will be is unpredictable. Stages may last minutes, or months. Not knowing is the irritating part!
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler developed the Five Stages of Grief as a framework to deal with death, dying, and loss of a loved one. More information can be found at grief.com. I believe these stages apply to all loss, including brain injury.
Out of all of the injuries a person can suffer in an automobile accident, brain injuries are probably one of the worst. The consequences of a brain injury are often severe and long-term. Brain injuries can be as minor as concussions, headaches, and dizziness or involve more serious conditions like memory loss or physical damage to brain tissue. Brain injuries can be difficult to detect and should be treated immediately by a medical professional.
Everyone’s experience is different. Anyone experiencing a concussion or TBI has a different story, different outlook on life, and different symptoms, their experience of EPIC Treatment is going to be different as well. With that said, here’s my experience. I was injured 17 years before I received treatment, and you can read more about how I got my injury in another post here if you are interested. Hopefully, my story validates some of your experience, gives hope, and provides direction.
To begin with, I was surprised my schedule wasn’t more packed with activities. I questioned if this would work. I received over 25 hours of treatment during the week when I was expecting a 40 hour week. By the end of the week, I appreciated that I didn’t have a 40-hour schedule because I don’t think my brain could have handled it.
I walked into the office on Monday morning. I was handed the check-in questionnaire. I filled out the Post Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS) check-in and check-out questionnaire each day of treatment. CFX uses the questionnaires to monitor symptoms throughout the week, and is used as a measurement in their research.
As I sat down to complete the simple form, I started to cry. I’m not against crying, but it takes a lot to push me to tears. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I called my husband. He said a quick “Focus, give it your best, and I love you.” Then I met Porter. Porter is one of the Patient Care Coordinators and I really felt support from him while I was at Cognitive FX. I didn’t have any idea what to expect. I was nervous. He gave me a tour, and we got started.
*Sometimes you might also have an fNCI on your first day. I got my first scan done before I started treatment for my brain injury.
I was in an auto accident on January 2, 2001. I received a severe TBI, broke my back, pelvis, jaw, ribs, and pretty much every bone in my body. I was grateful to be alive, but after a few years I had accepted the fact that I was going to be deficient for the rest of my life.
A concussion is defined as “the result of the forceful motion of the head or impact causing a brief change in mental status (confusion, disorientation, or memory loss), with or without a loss of consciousness.”
During the holidays it gets hectic and extremely stressful, particularly for those who already are trying to cope with everyday life with post-concussion syndrome or a concussion.
As Susan A. Connors said, “No brain injury is too mild to ignore or too severe to lose hope, but all brain injuries – including concussion – should be taken seriously.” Yes. a concussion is considered a brain injury.
Many may not realize a concussion is a brain injury because it is called "mild," but it is vital that we recognize that ANY damage to the brain is a brain injury. We take concussions very seriously here at Cognitive FX and we specialize in concussion treatment along with treatment for other neurological diseases.
No matter how normal a person with a concussion may appear, a concussion can have significant impact on an individual’s life and their ability to function. We are finding that the right treatment protocols can bring improvement, even for individuals who have been diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome.
Drowsy driving prevention focuses on "Stay alert, arrive alive." The national sleep foundation is helping to raise awareness of drowsy driving and the risks of driving when you are tired.
It’s getting to be that time when children’s obsession with all things strange and maybe slightly scary is reaching an all-time high. They are picking out costumes, eagerly awaiting the sugar high they’ll inevitably have, followed no doubt by a SERIOUS sugar crash.
It’s an exciting time; they get to be somebody else for just one night. Let’s go over some safety tips and tricks to ensure that the worst parts about Halloween are sugar crashes and an increased chance of cavities.
When it comes to multitasking, we all think we’re great at it, but really only about 2% of people can successfully multitask, according to Psychology Today. Even if you think you MIGHT be one of these people, chances are, you’re probably not. Yet it seems that we all like to test out that theory in inappropriate places, specifically when we’re on the road.
Most of us have sent a text or talked on the phone while driving, but we also all have been in or know someone who has been in an accident involving distracted driving. You’d think we would have gotten the hint by now, especially with driving laws being the way that they are. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, “ 15 states prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones while driving”, and “all states except 2 include at least one category for distraction on police crash report forms.”
Amber received her Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training from Brigham Young University in December of 2016. She is a certified and licensed athletic trainer. She also works at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, where she responds to and helps rehabilitate missionaries in training who hurt themselves during their recreation time. While she was a student at BYU, she participated in clinical rotations with local sites, including BYU’s football team, BYU’s softball team, and Provo High School’s athletics.
This presentation explores important topics related to concussion research and development which leads to better concussion treatment, and treatment outcomes.
According to the CDC, “there are around 2.8 million TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths each year in the United States. TBI contributed to the deaths of almost 50,000 people. TBI was a diagnosis in more than 282,000 hospitalizations and 2.5 million ER visits. These consisted of TBI alone or TBI in combination with other injuries.”