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.
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.
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.
Your heart races when you stand. You hate the dizzy spells. Your head hurts, you’re exhausted, and you can’t think clearly like you used to.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
While the world wrestles with the COVID-19 pandemic, most news coverage is focused on what’s before us: death tolls, the emergence of new signs and symptoms, and the search for viable treatments. And this is as it should be. However, there’s something you should know that the news does not often emphasize: Of the many people who recover from COVID-19, a small percentage will have consequences of the disease that will outlast acute infection.
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.
[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.]
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, at least for children, permanently.
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).
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 (photophobia) can manifest in different ways for different people. For example, you might:
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.
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.
“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.”
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.