Recovering from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Mary Ann Keatley, PhD, CCC and Laura L. Whittemore, Brain Injury Hope Foundation
Recovering from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI)

The Important Role of Brain Filters

Much of the brain’s energy is used to filter out irrelevant or unnecessary information. Just imagine what it would be like with no filter on your brain. All the sounds, smells, images, and feelings would come crashing in at the same time. The overstimulation would probably paralyze you and prevent you from taking any action.

After sustaining MTBI, most of the brain’s energy is diverted to basic functioning, and little is left over for filtering or censoring. Trivial or insignificant thoughts may often have the same weight in your mind as important ones. This can make decisions difficult. You may find that your brain gets stuck on an idea or phrase that keeps replaying, and this uses a great deal of brain energy.

New sensitivities can be very challenging and baffling for the injured person and their loved ones. Going into a restaurant or store where there are fluorescent lights, background music, or a great deal of visual stimuli may cause the brain to shut down. Most people say that they want to get into a quiet place and rest their brain after that experience. That is why it is so important to plan your social activities when fewer people are around and when there is less commotion.

Hearing Problems and Hypersensitivity to Sound

As mentioned above, a common symptom of traumatic brain injury is hypersensitivity to sound. This is called hyperacusis. The auditory system becomes very sensitive to environmental noise, and you may discover that you have great difficulty going to restaurants, the grocery store, or social gatherings.

Many individuals report staying at home to avoid the assault and feelings of being overwhelmed in these noisy situations, or they may go out only at times when places are less crowded and less noisy. Any noise can assault and overwhelm a person with MTBI, including a vibrating refrigerator, heating system, or humming fan, etc.

An excellent accommodation for hyperacusis is ear filters. The actual name is ER 15/25 noise-dampening ear filters. These are custom-fitted earplugs, originally made for musicians, but they now have been adapted for individuals with traumatic brain injuries. Consult an audiologist at a speech and hearing clinic to obtain filters. Current studies show that filters can reduce overstimulation to the auditory system and allow you to participate in social situations without becoming overwhelmed. An advantage of using ear filters is that you can put them in for brief periods of time and take them out when you don’t need them. They can be made with clear materials and are therefore less visible. The ear molds for these filters are made by an audiologist, or a specialist trained in testing hearing and treating hearing problems.

The ear is susceptible to blast injuries. Unique patterns of injury occur with bombs and explosions that are seldom seen outside of combat. The eardrum or tympanic membrane may be perforated in the blast and should be evaluated with an otologic evaluation and audiometry (hearing evaluation) to determine whether there is an injury to the ear.

Eardrums can be replaced, but observational studies over the years have shown a high rate of spontaneous healing of ruptured eardrums following blast injuries. Whether a perforated eardrum heals spontaneously depends on the size and placement of the perforation.

Two types of hearing loss are associated with blast-induced injuries. One type is called conductive hearing loss, and the second type is sensorineural hearing loss. The high-frequency sounds are more likely to be affected in blast injuries. Many individuals complain of tinnitus or ringing in the ears, and it is common to have balance problems, dizziness and/or vertigo associated with perforated eardrums. It is very important to keep the ear canal dry until the eardrum has healed.

Vision Problems and Sensitivity to Light

You may notice that your eyes don’t seem to be working in the same way that they did before your brain injury. Some eye doctors specialize in vision problems resulting from an acquired brain injury. They can help diagnose visual problems related to the injury and provide exercises or special glasses to help with recovery.

Because the visual changes are sometimes subtle, you may pass them off as being related to fatigue or brain fog. Aiming and focusing the eyes are linked, and that is why objects may appear to move, be seen as double, or blur in and out. Some individuals also complain that it is difficult to focus quickly from near to far or far to near.

Vision problems and cognitive deficits may compound one another. The most common complaints related to visual problems associated with brain injuries include light sensitivity, headaches, double vision, fatigue, dizziness, difficulty reading, or loss of peripheral visual fields. You may feel a heightened sensitivity to light and may even need to wear your sunglasses inside. You may have to request that fluorescent lights be turned off. Computer and reading tasks may take longer than usual, and tend to be more confusing and tiring.

A behavioral optometrist or a doctor who belongs to the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association can perform a comprehensive vision evaluation and help you determine the best course of action. Some individuals with visual deficits can benefit from specific lenses or prisms in their glasses and/or from vision therapy.

If you have vision problems associated with MTBI, this may deplete your energy and decrease your ability to perform daily living tasks. It is unrealistic to return to work
until vision problems are addressed. If your job requires a great deal of reading or moving your eyes between the desk and a computer screen, you may find that your errors increase because of difficulty tracking. It is very important to address visual problems, as they can increase the recovery time.

Dizziness and Vertigo

Feelings of dizziness and nausea are common after a head injury. You may notice that these symptoms come and go depending on the activity you are doing. Dizziness may refer to distinct symptoms, one of them being vertigo. This is when you feel as though you are spinning, and sometimes you feel nauseated or like you may lose your balance. Researchers have discovered various causes for this symptom, such as problems with your inner ear, impairments in eye movements, clenching and grinding your teeth, tightness in the neck muscles, etc.

Dizziness may also originate from cervical neck injuries. The primary symptoms with this type of dizziness include feeling off balance, lightheadedness, and the sensation of floating. If you have what is called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), you may notice that you have a sudden attack of spinning when you turn over in bed, change your head position quickly, or reach for an item above your head. This usually lasts for less than a minute, but you may be left with feelings of nausea and dizziness for a longer time.

The Mayo Clinic developed a technique called canalith repositioning (1994). where the head is maneuvered in various positions to help eliminate the dizziness. This is accomplished by moving the calciumcrystals in the inner ear. Medications that can help dizziness are also available. Be sure to consult with your doctor to see if you need a referral to an ear doctor who specializes in traumatic dizziness and/or an eye doctor who specializes in traumatic vision syndrome.

Changes in Energy Reserve After Injury

Healing takes a tremendous amount of energy. The diagram in Figure 1 illustrates functioning before and after the injury. It shows how the uninjured brain can perform many activities that are physical, cognitive, and emotional throughout the day, and still have a reserve of energy. After a brain injury, it takes more energy to deal with cognitive and emotional issues, leaving little or no reserve.

The brain uses more energy than any other organ in the body. Before you were injured, you had a pool of reserve energy available when you overextended yourself. Following your injury, nearly all of your energy is required to perform the most basic functions just to get through the day. If you are continuing to work, you may find that when you get home, you must rest and not engage in other activities as before.

Your energy reserves at this point are almost nonexistent. When you push too much you may reach overload, and the extreme fatigue may cause your brain and body to shut down. This exhaustion can also amplify all of your symptoms, and cause an emotional reaction.

Almost Immediately after an injury it becomes clear that you don’t have the same amount of energy that you previously did. It is important to emphasize the need for rest and conserving energy. For a while you may be unable to do as much as you used to and may need to take time out for rest — Brain Rest. Lay down during the day for naps. Even if you don’t sleep, resting your head and lying down may make a significant difference in your recovery.

Posted on BrainLine November 20, 2009. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

From Recovering from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A handbook of hope for our military warriors and their families by Mary Ann Keatley, PhD, CCC and Lauar L. Whittemore. Copyright © 2009 the Brain Injury Hope Foundation. Reprinted with permission. www.braininjuryhopefoundation.org.

Comments (139)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

Hi everyone, I have had 7 concussions over the past 9 years.. from various different misfortunes and sports.. the only thing that has been able to help me get rid of sensitivity to things is acupuncture!! I highly, highly recommend it!

People anguishing vertigo last for a long time have a problem with the internal ear. The internal ear has a mechanism that is responsible for orientation in space and movement. Amazing work is done by the author. Kudos!!

I wanted to say ty to everyone that shared their experiences here, now I don’t feel so alone. The article also floored me, because I felt like I could have wrote it, if I was able to stay focused right now!

It described everything so accurately, that I teared up reading it!

I have been off of work since July (got my concussion in June and tried to work through it!). I have spent the entire time in my dark bedroom and staying away from light and noise.

It has been a nightmare and I have experienced almost all of the symptoms mentioned!

I hope everyone starts to feel well soon and wish you all the best!

Ty

After reading so many comments, so many people going through some very tough times and situations, and so many feel that no one believes them which I surely get that too. Just thought I would add my own. Those who don't like to read long comment "stories", its ok if you skip this one, I don't blame you :-)

I'm 36, always been very independent, work nearly everyday but Sabbath. Had been working on my house, wanted to get water lines run to it this past spring... but a little over 6 months ago now, a guy I knew was trying to help a neighbor to mount a tractor scraper blade on another piece of equipment. But he didn't know much about steel work, so he asked me if I would go with him to the scrap yard to find what they needed make the mount. So we went, found a large heavy wall tube steel that would work. But it was about 30 feet long, and we only needed a 10 foot piece. So we got a guy from the shop at the scrap yard who was supposed to be a forklift operator. And when I say forklift, it was actually a large off road front loader which they had removed the bucket and mounted a set of forks on it, which they normally used to pick up crushed cars. Anyway, the piece of steel we needed was on a 30 foot long steel rack, with who knows how many tons of steel on that rack. Anyway, instead of just lifting the piece of steel about 6 inches and backing up, the forklift driver picked it up until it hit the shelf above it, then he picked up the entire end of the rack. The other guy I was with said that the piece of steel we were wanting was actually bowing under the weight. We yelled at him and motioned for him to put it down, he opened his window and we told him he had picked up the entire rack and needed to put it down. He closed his window, and that was the last thing I remember... But from what I'm told, instead of just lowering the rack down, he apparently tried to jerk the piece of steel out from under the rack, which was ridiculous to say the least. But because of the amount of pressure it was under from all the weight of the steel on the rack, when it came out it shot out like a spring. I was past the far end of the rack, and far over to the side, but the flat side of the steel hit me on the right side of my head. (*If I had been hit by the open end of the steel beam, I would have been dead, as it would have cut half my head off. I know without any doubt the only reason I'm here is because the Heavenly Father Yahuah didn't allow that to happen) It opened a large gash right above my right eye. Knocked me out cold and I fell back into a 3-4" deep water puddle from a shallow drainage ditch.. Even when I came too, I was not coherent at all. Somehow I apparently got back over to the guys suv that I came there with. As the first thing I really remember was I was sitting in the passenger's seat holding my head with my right hand. I lowered my hand to find I was holding a big wad of white paper towels and they were soaked with blood. This is when I saw the blood on my jeans and then on my jacket. I asked the guy I was with what had happened and why am I covered in blood. He said "don't you remember? you got hit by that steel beam, and we've been trying to stop the blood for 20 minuets." I then started thinking "where am I?" and I looked up and saw the gate to the scrap yard, and remembered we had been there. Then I kept trying to piece together the rest, and remember the forklift guy and him lifting the rack.

Not One person working at the scrapyard bothered to even call an ambulance. The only thing they did was apparently give me the paper towels... and the guy I was with was also not smart enough to drive me to a hospital nor call an ambulance... I finally was able to tell him "just get me home". My Dad, Mom, and I live on the same property out in the country. I have a little house, and try to take care of whatever needs done around the farm, as my Dad is 78 years old, has had a bad heart most of his life, had a heart valve replaced about 12 years ago. And he had to have both knees replaced about 7 or 8 years ago, as he got busted up in a couple times in different jumps in the paratroopers when his parachute malfunctioned while he was in the military.
In any case, I knew if he got me home, my Dad and Mom would know what I needed to do, as it was just hard to think at this point. In fact after we started heading home, I tried to get the guy to stop somewhere so I could pick up supper... as I was supposed to bring home dinner that night for everyone.... obviously I was not thinking straight. I don't remember much of the trip home, other than he wanted me to call my Mom and tell her I got cut but was ok, so she wouldn't freak out as bad. I didn't want to call, but he finally convinced me, but after she answered, I couldn't find the words. I finally handed him the phone in frustration. Anyway, got home approx an hour from the time of impact. As soon as they saw me they knew I had to get to the hospital. I thought I went from his suv to our car, but was told later that I had (for some reason) walked into the house and sat down in a chair for about 10 minutes. I don't remember that at all. Dad and the other guy took me to the hospital, as my Mom had the animals and other things to deal with at the house. Don't remember much of the trip, which was only about 8 miles from the house.
I do remember after getting there, the reception lady kept asking me questions that I didn't have the words to answer. She wouldn't listen to the guy telling her that I had been hit in the head by a steel beam and etc, she just kept saying that " I " had to answer her.... I finally got out my drivers license and gave it to her and sat down. It was probably 20 minuets or so before they took me back, this was probably and hour and half to two hours from the time of impact at this point. They did a CT scan, but only of my skull (at this point, I thought they did my whole head, but was wrong), which they were looking for bleeding on the brain or if the brain was swelling, which if it had of been, once again I would have probably been dead by this time. In any case, they basically told me i had a mild concussion, stitched me up, made me a pain med prescription, said I was fine and released me after being there about 5 hours or so. Even though they noted that i was in an "altered state of consciousness, and kept repeating myself" **(IS this "normal" to be released so quickly??)** I don't remember much of what the doctors said, or even their faces for that matter. Or much of anything else that night. Just remember being so tired, and I crashed when I went to bed over at my Dad and Moms house, as they didn't want me to be by myself that night.

After 4 days, I had to go back to the ER, due to severe pain on the left side of my head and jaw. I thought my jaw was fractured and they missed it on the CT scan. Thats when I found out that they didn't even bother to scan my face at all the first time. So they did a 2nd CT scan, and found I had multiple facial fractures, but not my jaw. Again, they gave me some pain meds, muscle relaxers, and released me.

I did not feel like... "myself" for over a week. I can't really describe it, but some days I just thought "what the heck is wrong with me". I wasn't supposed to do any work or much of anything at all for at least 2 months, wasn't even supposed to be on the computer much.

A week or so after the head injury, I started having neck pain that would radiate up the back of my head and all the way right behind my eyes. Just such a severe headache that when at its worse, I just couldn't function. I'd go lay in a dark room, but couldn't sleep. Nothing helped to relive it, excedrin migraine helped take the edge off sometimes, but not always. And even then it only lasted an hour or so before it come back full force. Many days these migraines have lasted 24 hours, and even sometimes 48 hours.

A few weeks after the head injury, I started having what I called "music spells" where I would hear something that sounded like a radio playing, but there was no radio and I couldn't make out what was being said. Sometimes, its just a mixture of sounds and "voices".
One night, when I was by myself, I woke up to my dog whining and hovering around my head. I was laying face down on the concrete floor. I pulled myself up into my chair, finally turned on the light on my desk. Eventually got up, holding onto the door and etc made it across the hall to the bathroom. Saw blood running down my beard, rinsed my face with some cold water. Felt my tongue hurting, I had bitten it pretty bad. I had had a seizure.

Since then, the "music spells" (which were "lighter" seizures) have continued, as well as other "feelings" that are hard to describe, often happen anywhere from hours to days before I have one. I've had at least 4 tonic clonic seizures, that I know of at least. Two of which my Dad and Mom witnessed.
The neck pain and migraine headaches have also continued. As well as numbness in my left arm especially, but also sometimes in my left leg, and once in a while in my right arm.
I get angry sometimes over little things, or even nothing at all. Sometimes irritated really easily. I have to stop myself and try to calm down.
Loss of appetite (nothing really sounds appetizing anymore), as well as nausea, especially when ever I ride in a vehicle. I hate going anywhere anymore, especially the long trips to the doctors office thats in another city about 125 miles away.
A lot of days I'm really fatigued, just don't feel like standing, let alone working.

Then on top of all this, a few weeks after it happened, I started noticing I was forgetting things a lot. Like I would walk into a room, forget why I went in there. Be talking and forget what I was talking about. Forget things that I needed to do and etc. I started using an old smart phone just to use the notepad app to write things down, as if I waited until I got a piece of paper and pen, I would have already forgotten what I needed to write down.

Anyway, because of my memory lapses, back just over 3 weeks ago, almost 6 months to the day from my head injury, my Dad wanted to take down a deer stand that was in our woods which was actually my cousins stand that he had left there for over the last 2 years, because he doesn't clean up anything including all his trash.... Anyway. recently people moved in on the property next to ours, and they are nothing but big mouth alcoholic liers, and think they can bully the neighborhood... which they are finding out different after we got restraining orders against them. Anyway, my Dad was afraid they would come over our fence in the woods and steal the stand. Well I didn't really feel like messing with it that day, but I certainly didn't want my Dad on it. So I went with him in our old military farm truck, we could only get within about 50 feet of the stand because everything had grown up so much. I got a few hand tools out of the truck, and was thinking to myself "I got to take the top strap off first, then get the bottom"... well, by the time I turned around walked over to the stand, I completely forgot that. So I instead took off the strap I as looking at, which was the bottom one. Then I climbed up, took off the top one, but of course there was some stupid rope woven through the stand for some reason. I pulled it out, and about that time the stand started to move. I yelled at my Dad to move out of the way, and I rode it to the ground. Dislocated my ankle, broke both bones in my right leg at the ankle joint and just above it, and fractured the heel bone as well. (didn't know the details until later, pretty bad break according to the surgeons) My Dad started to try to help me up, but I didn't want him pulling on me. Told him to get the truck as close as he could to me. He did, after backing into a tree and messing up the open tailgate, because he was worried about me and not watching. He got it close, I got turned over on my knees and crawled over to, pulled myself up on the steel brush guard on the front. Got up on my left leg, and was able to make it around to the door, and sat on the edge of the seat enough to turn and pull my leg up inside. After we got back to the house, I nearly blacked out when trying to get from our truck to our car. Sunk about half way to the ground before I regained enough to stop myself and started pulling myself back up. Made it in the car, went the local hospital, they took x rays and told me I needed surgery and they couldn't do it. But they did try to "realign" the bones by pulling on my foot..... (later the surgeon was obviously irritated about this, as they hadn't done any good to say the least) Got transferred to another larger hospital via ambulance about 125 miles away (the one I go to now), MUCH better hospital to say the least. Ended up being in there for 6 days, had to have two surgeries, but they initially thought I would be in there for weeks and have to have at least 3 surgeries. In any case, that was about 4 weeks ago and I still can't put any weight on my right leg for at least another 5 weeks. Stuck in bed or a recliner for the most part... But it could have been worse. Just glad it was me and not my Dad on that stand...

Anyway, while I was in the hospital, several of the doctors also asked me about my head injury and etc. I told them about it, and that I had tried to get into their neurology department there, but had been told that it would be 6 months before I could get an appointment, so i had seen a "private" neurologist who I felt like didn't believe me (or didn't really care) and that he was only worried about how many appointments he get through per hour... He had also given me a prescription for "topomax", which after 5 days I couldn't deal with anymore due to the mental side effects, mostly a "flood" of "negative thoughts".... So I stopped taking them and I think that made him mad, there was some other issues to... He did order an MRI and EEG, both of which came back with "no abnormalities".... but I only found out the results from the doctors at the hospital, because the first neurologist would only say "we'll talk about it at your next appointment"....

Anyway, one of the doctors at the hospital told me she could get me into their neurology center. About a week after I got home, on that friday I found that I had multiple voicemails from their neurology clinic. I called them back the following monday, and apparently I had been moved up in priority as they got me an appointment that following friday when i had to also see the orthopedic surgeon in a follow up about my leg, so I didn't have to make a second trip.

I saw the neurologist for about an hour and half, we talked about a lot of things, she explained a lot and told me that all the symptoms I was having was consistent with Post Concussion Syndrome. She wanted me to try a different prescription for the seizures, and gave me a prescription for the muscle relaxers to see if it would help with my neck pain and migraines. I have been taking the one for about 5 days now, and it hasn't helped with the seizures so far, just had a "light" one yesterday. But the other one did help with a migraine. I emailed her about it, and she said if the one didn't begin helping with the seizures I may have to try something else. Supposed to see her again at my next appointment in about 5 weeks when I go back to see the orthopedic surgeon, to see if I will be allowed to walk yet.

Like I said earlier, its been over 6 months now... actually now that I think about it, its almost 7 months now... since my head injury. All the symptoms have continued thus far, some even seemingly getting worse. Like many other commenters here, I really feel that many people don't believe me... I know my Dad and Mom does... but some of the doctors, the first "neurologist", and honestly I'm not even really sure if my attorney's office believes me or not. But not much I can do about it. I just want all of these problems to go away so I can go back to being "me". At this point, I'll just be glad when I am allowed to walk again... and I just hope the meds stop these seizures. I'm most worried that if I have a bad seizure, I could re injury my leg at this point. Just pray that doesn't happen, as I can't hardly stand to sit here as is, I certainly don't want it to take longer... I know the only reason I'm still here is because the Heavenly Father Yahuah didn't allow me to die, not only on that day but in other times before this, even when I was a child. I pray that He will heal those who serve Him soon, but until then I'll do whatever I can to help myself. I know I'll get through it, just got to take it day-by-day, do what I can when I feel like working, and let the rest go. All we can do is take one day at a time.

** I had to go back through this comment multiple times just to fix words that I had "skipped" and other stuff.... Also if I'm on the computer to long, it gets hard to read or focus on the screen as well. I found this site last night and was reading the comments, but had to stop and close the computer. Anyway, I pray for the other people here and for anyone who has suffered a TBI, as "mild" or not, its definitely something to go through that no one else can understand unless they have been through it too.

You may want to look at a condition called functional neurological disorder
FND
Doctors don’t know about it Nuerologist do it’s as common as MS

You are brave and inspiring, I hope you are feeling better and soon to be recovered

I it’ll be 3 yrs sept 19 since I had my hard slammed into a tire rim it busted my head at hair line an around my down by my eye. I had to have stitches an staples. There were places they couldn’t numb as well . I would think I’d be healed from it bu I keep losing my Parethal vision vision it’s always temporary an looks like a string of light blocks it an my ears they start ringing out of no where an sometimes it gets so load it like paralyzes me could this be happening cause of my injury

Almost 20 years ago when I was 19 years old, I was punched very hard on the side of my head behind my ear by an abusive boyfriend. The punch was so hard that it left the back of my ear and ear completely black. He used all of his strength to punch me and he was much bigger than me. I felt very sick for days. I never went to the hospital or to a doctor. Since then, I have had so many things happen to me which I know is caused by that injury. I have a lot of trouble finding the right words to use when I want to speak or describe something. The same line of a song will play over and over in my head constantly. If I try to make a decision about something, all of these other thoughts will come rushing in and will just overwhelm me and I cannot make a decision on the smallest of things. I have outbursts and rages over small things. Loud noises or too much noise makes me angry. So many other things that I experience that are just too much to list. Another weird thing that happens to me is when I am in the shower, I will hear commotion going on outside of the bathroom, almost like people screaming and fighting. It happens so often that I know now that it's nothing and there's no reason to get out of the shower and check to see what is going on. I really hope that this does not affect me for the rest of my life, but it has already been close to two decades and still experiencing these things. I don't know if I can be helped.

I feel the same way. I have been abused by my husband and I’m going through the same symptoms. I don’t know what to do either and haven’t gone to the hospital. I can’t think right, I’m always upset with yelling and screaming, I feel like I can’t communicate right, like make decisions at many things, I can’t handle pain, I have been having migraines a lot, I’m always fatigued, weak, and always end up going to hospital with uti’s kidney infection and migraines. My stomach hurts a lot I think I might have Endometriosis I am lost and over to much with being a wife who is mistreated and disrespected. To many bows to head and brusis. That I can’t forget! Shattered heart!

I'm so sorry you've been going through this. I know how hard tough relationships can be. I would consider getting a different doctor than the one your hubby goes to do that you can feel free to talk about what's going on with your symptoms. ❤

Reading all the comments is reassuring that I’m not going mad. Have had 3 cycling crashes, all with broken bones, all with head impacts and black eyes etc. and one with loss of consciousness. But I don’t recall concussion like the symptoms since being hit on the side of my head by a the structural part of collapsing caravan awning bent full of rainwater. I felt no pain. Vision was ‘not right’ and I was generally not with it. Left hospital with a fact sheet on what to expect. Since then condition has been up and down, but always, mind fog, surreal feeling, 2/10 headache, shocking memory of things since incident, and inability to listen to anything complex. Vision weird on the left at night. If I recharge and do nothing I improve, then start doing stuff and go downhill. Had a bad day last week where the night before I had walked headfirst into a glass sliding door. Next morning woke up and the tinnitus in my right ear turned back on like a light switch. Then, after trying to be normal and do too much I swung a golf club in my backyard, and at finishing the swing, instant, overwhelming double vision and dizziness, nausea. This got me a doctors visit and mri. I was also tested and told some thing I knew; balance is off. I now rock backwards when my eyes are closed so the balance is also on the fritz. I did do ok on what resembled a sobriety test with eyes open.

On the bright side this is quite funny. I recently asked my wife, “can I please have some ginger coated peanuts”. Also find myself at the wrong end of supermarket wondering why. Running a cold bath instead of hot. My new word for all this ‘dammit’.
My work is understanding-I am not allowed back until I get a medical clearance. I am certain I will not cope with the full job managing many staff etc, as it’s hard enough with a functioning mind..... so we shall see.
Otherwise my family is great support including driving me everywhere in case the vision plays up and enforcing rest when I get too goofy. Good luck to all of you with your own unique and often far more serious circumstances - it’s great ppl can support each other here.

"Since then condition has been up and down, but always, mind fog, surreal feeling, 2/10 headache, shocking memory of things since incident, and inability to listen to anything complex. Vision weird on the left at night. "

This sounds like me! My vision issues seem more random but also my left eye.

That surreal feeling I get is like I've fallen out of the back of myself slightly and I'm observing outside of my body slightly but using my body to see, hear and feel. Like I'm out of align with it just an inch. And watching life around me is kind of like watching TV. Really hard to explain.

Strange stuff!

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

this is a logbook of me almost to a "T" a long long misery of a living nightmare. As I sit here with a left eye blurry with pain behind eye, headache, dizzy, with brain pauses, hate light, nausea, FATIGUE.......but would anyone even help me except to psych drugs??

I was hit on the back of my head very hard when a passenger on the plane dropped his metal luggage on my head as I was seated. I suffered a TBI 1 1/2 years ago and am still recovering. I am writing this because I saw an excellent neurologist but he was clueless. So many of the symptoms that each of you are mentioning were and are the same as mine. The back of the head is the parietal lobe which is responsible for vision. I could see but I could not recognize faces or people. I am writing this to provide comfort, compassion and hope for those of you with a newly diagnosed TBI. One of the scariest and most frustrating aspects was the unknown and not knowing how long this would last. I have suffered for almost two years but I am finally getting better. You must pay attention to your instincts. If it is too noisy outside, stay inside. Protect yourself and cocoon as long as you need to. You will help your brain heal if you let it rest. I recently discovered a small monthly group for people with TBI's. It is amazing in that everyone pretty much experiences the same things, but everyone thought it was just them. The rehab specialist who leads the group recommended ear buds and many people wear them as needed. The other big thing is to use your phone or a timer to remind you to do basic things. If you are cooking, use the timer to remind you to turn off the stove or oven. Set the timer to remind yourself to shower. I was a graduate school professor but after the TBI, I kept forgetting to shower! It will get better but give yourself a year. Your brain will heal. I am almost two years post injury and I never thought I could even be looking at a computer screen and typing this. Baby steps. Some days are harder than others. But you will heal. Be kind to yourself.

OMG; this is me!! Thanks for the advice. But I work for myself and can't take much time off. But I do set up the reminder timers and have scaled my work way back. Infortunately this is not seen a disability and so I suffer immensely income wise and have made serious mistakes that I never would have made pre injury which aso jeapordizes my any orders/income. And apparently, I cannot spell for the life of me :)

Thank you.
very inspiring.

I suffered a TBI on April 8, 2019. I thought I had recovered. But my sensitivity to sound and this emotional roller coaster are exhausting. I feel like I'm losing my mind. Has anyone else experienced this?

I understand. My accident was May 2019, I had most of the symptoms mentioned. My doc says it will all heal on its own and that I do not need to see a specialist because he feels my ear issues are allergies and some of my symptoms are somatic, which means in your head. All I could do is cry. They referred me to Intensive Outpatient Therapy, everyone involved is trying to throw bipolar at me and stuff me with antiphychotics because I have outburst of anger towards the V.A. After reading this, it now makes more sense as to why my anxiety is so bad in this group therapy. I have to wear earplugs.

Yes, I developed noise sensitivity and hearing impairment after a head injury 10 odd years ago. Noise sensitivity had a big impact on my social life and still have trouble with expresso machines in cafes etc.

My kid had a concussion over a year ago and still has symptoms that they had when diagnosed with getting upset when there is loud noise being one of the many. So what is the most uncompforting is being reminded that most people's symptoms are resolved within a year by both the uneducated and educated and then being sent off to be isolated further in every aspect and blame on another cause. I am not sure why some use this to treat a kid badly or isolate further because they feel my young child must be using their brain injury as an excuse which in turn perpetuates longer healing time and not getting to the right people. Don't give up and thank you for sharing and don't stop reporting to medical professionals etc. until people take note that everyone DOES NOT recover athe same rate.

Totally and it is scaring the life out of me

I suffered a TBI at work in 2018. Its been a roller coaster of pain, migraines, therapies and treatments. I suddenly found myself with vision issues as well as hyper sensitive to sound. I finally went to the ENT and he diagnosed me with a damaged ear cochlea. I will be having surgery to repair in November.
I must wear ear plugs almost every where I go. Work has been less than accommodating or caring. I have worked here 34 years. They refuse to pay medical bills since April of 2019. So I'm on my own here, trying to recover from the scariest injury I've ever had...

is there a y or some kind of treatment that you can get to correct the pressure on the brain and the inner ear symptoms with this illness is there a way to get that dead nerve alive is there any kind of procedure that could have this condition are any kind of treatments. Please help.

I was in a bad accident in August of 2014 where our car flipped 4 times and we landed in a drainage ditch that actually saved our lives. Unfortunately, the rough of the car cracked my left side of my head cause my TBI. I was unconscious for about 5 minutes eorh my eyes and mouth wide opened. My son thought I was dead. Now almost 5 years later I still have memory loss and very sensitive to noise and even the sun. However, getting rest is the most important factor. When I don't get my proper rest it's like the day of the wreck because I have PTSD along with my TBI. I can relate to everyone in this page and prayer has kept me going on. I still have my bad and good days but I never give up on me.

Mary, you are not losing your mind. I thought the exact same thing. Truck vs. pole 1/2017. Have been a nurse for 30 years. Happy, good nature, could multitask, no memory issues, etc. then the accident. Look up neuropsychology, best, really helped a huge amount. Good luck

Ahh!! I’ve seen a neuropsychologist but all she wanted to do was talk about my past life trauma. I’d love help, and have seen so many medical professionals, yet here I am, doing this all alone. I’m dealing with so much, so many symptoms, but once my past comes up everyone just focuses on that. They want to treat the old me, the one without the TBI. I hate medical professionals.

Yes Mary, unfortunately many TBI patients probably deal with the same issues. I still have great difficulty with sound/hyperacusis after 4 1/2 years. Before we got hurt we could push, it often got us results, now sometimes it seems the harder a person pushes/tries, it often causes issues with various symptoms and the ups and downs you mentioned. Often the complete opposite to our 'normal' prior to the injury. Don't lose hope, you will experience those setbacks. As hard as it is, try to stay positive.
Search and find a very experienced concussion specialist. Someone that is honest, that will tell you that they don't know everything, and that it is a very difficult medical condition to deal with for both patients and practitioners. And tells you that it's a condition that often requires a coordinated, multi practitioner approach. Preferably someone in the trenches with patients, that doesn't just talk the talk, that is well connected, that people really trust, and are getting exemplary results from. Do exactly what they tell you to do, and try your best to just keep moving forward...it can be a very difficult process, but you will make progress. I hope you start to see changes soon.

I suffered a brain injury 3 years ago. No medical people even try to get it. I have so many symptoms along with visual snow I'm now seeking medical care out of state. Some antiseizure meds help but even with insurance they're very expensive. I used to be super athletic and independent now if I could get help for the ridiculous fatigue I could deal. I wish all out there for hope and having better luck than I

I suffered a concussion on April 1st... and also thought I was all better. But I’m still having a lot of symptoms. Today my brain got so overloaded I had the most severe panic attack I have ever had & could hardly remember my own name. It’s even scarier when I tell my doctor these things & she won’t send me to a neurologist for an MRI. :(

Yeah I too find it frustrating that I haven't had scans. If I see a new doctor, they always assume I had one or more and I have to correct them.

I was sent back to the ER by a doctor the day of my injury. He was surprised they hadn't done scans and concerned about my emerging symptoms. ER doc told me initial scans would be to determine immediate life threatening traumatic brain bleed and that I was likely beyond that but to watch overnight for certain symptoms. Later scans would look for slow bleed which generally heals on its own without interference. Very rarely do they intervene. Also, most damage at this point doesn't always present on scans.

I remember I found it really hard to concentrate on or remember anything the doctors said and was frustrated no one wrote anything down for me. Luckily I had someone with me who remembered for me. I felt like there should be a pamphlet lol.

So instead, I've been playing a waiting game with symptoms. But I wonder about other damages, spinal, ear, sinus cavity. I just want to know what's going on. Even if there's nothing to do but wait. I go through times of feeling crazy, like I'm doing this to myself somehow or not trying hard enough or not concentrating hard enough. Like it"s in my control when it actually isn't. I want to push myself, sometimes I have to, but when I do, I suffer. The confusion really gets annoying for me. The anxiety. All the physical problems and pains too.

I can't blame people for not understanding. I didn't understand. I had no idea this was what it was like for someone.

I'm so glad for everyone's comments. All my symptoms had me thinking I had another disease. It just didn't make sense the strange array of persistent symptoms. Helps me know I'm not alone and this is normal for the injury.

Wish you all the best and hope we all find the support and medical care we need. ❤

Hi All,

It's been comforting and saddening at the same time reading everyone's experiences with tbi. I was a passenger (wearing my seat belt) in a car crash over 2 months ago. Not to be ungrateful but my frustrations over lack of communication and respect with the medical field is just Grr! After confronting a doctor in the hospital for information, I was told there were cerebral contusions (bleeding and bruising), a mild concussion and musculoskeletal injury. I'm basically bed bound right now, am trying to build up my walking again starting with 5 minutes a day with my sun glasses and ear plugs (I used to be able to do high intensity cardio 5 days a week). I have chronic headaches, tinnitus seeing eye floaters and black spots, blurry vision and have pains in my eyes and ears. And I have pain from the top of my head to the tips of my toes just all over really (soft tissue and nerve damage it seems). I feel dizzy, have presyncope, balance problems, memory focus and attention problems. Thank god my family have been amazing and one brilliant friend but I've found that times like this you find out who your real friends are. And I agree with a lot of people on this page, its so frustrating how people just don't understand what you're going through. And you even begin to doubt it yourself until you realise making dinner is like an Olympic sport! I've been given amitriptyline for my pain and sleep problems but I had horrific vivid hallucinations and tramadol made me feel like a non functioning zombie with a swollen tongue. At the moment I can't watch TV, listen to music and read properly. I'm sensitive to light and noise and social interaction so I'm looking at the four walls in my room feeling isolated so you know what I think I'm allowed to feel sorry for myself, anyone who's being through this will understand. But over thinking has made lead to me feeling mentally worse, so focusing on gratitude and getting better needs to be priority in getting better and not giving an F what anyone else thinks. The one good thing I can say is that this has been a very reflective time and it's made me see how time flies by. Even though I have read so many people say that you will never get the old you back, I'm adamant and determined on making a full recovery to the best of my ability. Thank god for another day and thank god for my blessings. It can always be worse, let's be thankful for what we have, because it is only going to get better.

My boyfriend was in a bad car accident where he suffered a brain contusion in his frontal lobe. He did not go to the hospital and this has been left untreated. He has been experiencing symptoms of post-concussive syndrome but having a really hard time believe it & accepting that as the problem. Instead, he thinks it’s always me messing with him like talking to someone else on the phone but I’m not saying anything at all. Because he hears my voice so clearly, he thinks I’m lying when I tell him “I didn’t say anything” after he says, “what?” Another problem that’s probably the biggest issue is a vibrating he says he hears and feels sometimes. It is making him crazy and again he’s blaming me for it saying that I have some vibrating device and am messing with him or lying to him about having something that vibrates. It has created the biggest fights. He tells me that he believes me after a huge fight of me in tears and pulling my hair out trying to prove to him that I am not creating the vibrations. He’s convinced it’s me because he says he only feels and hears it when I’m around. Could this be apart of his brain injury? Or is this something else? Whatever it is, I’m in desperate search of some kind of answer so we can put this to rest and repair our relationship. I love him so much and leaving him is not an option. I will not give up on him or ever leave him no matter how exhausting and emotionally draining this has been. But I’ll be dammed if I lose the love of my life over something I am not doing!! Please help. I hope someone can give me some clarity or solution or some damn answers at least because “it is not me!” has been the slogan of my life for the past few months.

I had a tbi in July and I'm curious if you still have tinnitus and vision problems. I'm a bit worried that both are life long symptoms. My ear dr appointment is in 3 days and my eye Dr appointment is in a month. Please tell me they at least got better over time.

My tbi was 8-6-16 and the vision issues were treated with prism lenses 3 different level. The hearing issues get somewhat better, still use noise canceling earbuds.

How are you doing now?

As a RN, who suffered a TBI while at work, I was lucky and was referred to a TBI expert at the University hospital downtown from my hospital. I also saw a neurologist, and a speech therapist. I love this article, it has helped me so much with my PCS, symptoms that I'm left with. I have printed this article and given it to my family members, so they can better understand my "Spells". That is what I call the days when I have a hard time with lights and sound, and spend the days in my office where it is dark and quiet. The best thing, I have found for me is meditation. The music calms me.

Thank you Noonie for sharing....I just found this and I'm feeling so grateful right now. I get so down because I just want my life back. I was in a car accident 2 1/2 years ago, doctors telling me it will get better. On July 4th I had a TGA. My family was all around for a wonderful day and I have no memory of the day whatsoever. My mind evidently had gone into overload.

I had 3 concussions in the last 5 years. I healed but the last one..any loud impact noises trigger symptoms and I'm done for the day. A young guy below me keeps slamming the door in the apartment below me. The door is made of steel and when he slams it the whole apartment shakes. I approached him and he said it's because the door's broken but it feels like he is doing it on purpose. I spoke to family but they think I should find a more suitable place. Everyone is exposed to it. It brings on foggiest irrationality. It feels like you have gone a few days with no sleep. It is frustrating because I seem to get better and then a loud door slam or his truck which is directly below me. Why would a loud impact like a truck or car door being shut bring on symptoms?

Hi Mike, I experience something very similar with certain sounds causing my symptoms to flare up, and I also have a problem with noise from a neighbor. I've found out that you can ask your landlord for reasonable accommodations for a disability. Fixing the neighbor's door would fall into that category. Hope something in that might be helpful for you.

Because after 3 concussions your nervous system is really overly sensitized - to many things. Pressure, touch, sounds, memories. Think of it, that slam does create a sound wave that your highly sensitive body feels in so many ways you don't even notice. A loud enough noise blast can literally kill people. Also your brain remembers the pain and the crashes. They had sounds too - metal slam i would think. Triggering sounds for an over protective brain. Parts of your brain are also literally gone. They broke and then died in the aftermath of the concussions. Its one of the things drs kind of neglect to talk about. But that's why we're have so many memory gaps, and problems doing things we used to. And it takes a while to relearn things. Cuz we are having to form new learning paths in our brain. But sometimes the parts that died arent just paths they're important. But you can get brain over load now because of it. And certain sounds or tones or frequencies are more triggering than others. Diets higher in good fats, nuts, fish oils, avacados- spread throughout the day and supplements like magnesium l-threonate really help your brain to cope and heal better.

So thankful to find this and read it and all of these comments. Told my hubby it's like finding my species (or community). Nice to know I'm not alone. I have a mild tbi from a car accident, just passed the 1 year mark. Still not able to work. All the same symptoms, headache, d iui zzy fatigue, sensitivity to sound, light, motion, stimuli. Tinnitus. Plan to look into that Choline someone mentioned. I know I've made progress but it feels like I still have far to go. I get a random day here or there where i still have symptoms but my head feels clearer and I'm hopeful that I'm almost over it but then I always seem to slide back a bit. One step at a time I guess. Progress not perfection. Be well everyone.

About 4 months back i fell and hit my head off my bathroom sink ( i was an idiot and was drunk ), and a year before that i hit my head hard off of a marble counter at work ( after the marble counter encounter i almost knocked myself out , blurred vision ect ) i just shook it off and went back to work , after a day or so all i got was a goose egg. after the last incident i noticed major issues with my memory - forgetting what day it is , even what year, getting lost in grocery stores , having a hard time learning new information, anxiety is also so much worse ( ive always had anxiety but i managed it with keeping busy , diet ) . can you get issues like this months after hitting your head? I just got a new doctor shes a physicians assistant ( its hard organizing doctors ect when you have severe brain fog, no energy ) . I told her about these two incidents and she said * most doctors would ask why you didn't * black out *after each incident , - i did kind of pass out after hitting my head off my sink but i dont know if it was because i was drunk or ..from hitting my head. ... another symptom i noticed is when i try to sign my name i feel like im going to have a seizure, my entire body tenses up, face ect..i told her this and she said * your thyroid will be checked and to see if your anemic , see you in two weeks * Im like ..what the hell? why wouldnt she order an MRI or CAT Scan...her reasoning was * could cause cancer, lol! i dont understand why after me telling her all my symptoms and what occurred why shed think im anemic ...simply because i said im fatigued..but than she ignored every other symptom. I know its partly my fault because i didn't go to a doctor directly after these incidents but its because all i had was a mild headache that went away and a goose egg. Should i go through all the blood work or just got find another doctor that will scan me or do other neurological testing ? Its a nightmare trying to find a doctor . the odd thing is she even admitted i could have a concussion but not be brain injured....if im not injured than why all the symptoms i asked . Im barely keeping it together, and i feel like a burden ...i got a simple job just doing janitorial but its in a busy place- may be to much for me right now but i refuse to not work atm .I dont want to make it worse if it is a concussion ..... sadly my diet is also garbage i skip meals daily ..... so its hard to pin point exactly what it is . The human body is a mysterious thing . Any advice /tips would be appreciated...i feel like im mentally handicapped .

If you are able to find a group of concussion experts, you should do that... for example Barrows Neurological Center in Phx has a group of people that make up their Concussion Team - Neurologist, Neuro-Opthamologist, Speech Pathologist, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist.

The latest research in concussion tells us that you do not need to black out to have a concussion. Concussion can happen over a period of months and it is a metabolic response to your brains healing. Your body sends an abundance of the already existing proteins that are necessary in your brain, but the over abundance causes a negative response and is toxic.

If the doctor says you should have blacked out or need to exhibit these three symptoms w/in 24 hours they are likely operating under old concussion research. It's likely not their focus or interest. So, if you do not have access to concussion experts and then find a doctor that is willing to except that they may not have the most recent information on concussion, but are willing to learn so that they can better assist you.

Recruit a friend, family member, librarian, college student, etc to help you find more recent data so that you can go to your doctor office prepared.

Hi Sherry, My advice would be to get a second opinion!

I normally wouldn't comment but I think I should in hopes that perhaps I can be of encouragement to someone else.

In July 2016 I hit my head while long boarding with my Husky. (It looked easy enough when my 18 year old did it).

Because I already had earplugs becauae of one of my clients I found I had to use them all the time if I was in a group of people of more then 3 or 4. I also use my prescription safety classes even inside. These are dark with dark side panels too.

I will add one other symptom to the above list in addition to the buzzing with was not in the article but someone else mentioned.

I found through observation and documentation that I am heat sensitive too. If the room is 21c then I am fine. But if the temperature goes up I don't notice I am starting to fatigue at 22 c but by 23c I realise why I am fatigued.

The clincher for me on the temp issue was the following.

I often fatigue while driving for about a half hour. This one day I had to drive 400km because we had to be home for the next morning And I knew I couldn't do the drive at night. I put the temp on 16c and remained clear headed the entire time. Yes I was super freezing and my wife had to sit in the sun and warm up for 2 hours after we got home but I realized definitively at that time I was truly heat sensitive also and this was a major factor in my symptoms in addition to the light a sound etc.

Here is my encouragement to all of you. Keep pushing forward. I don't notice improvements on a daily or weekly or even monthly basis. But looking back yes I am improving. I have had a half day without a headache I didn't realize this till it started raising in the afternoon that I had been headache free for that morning.

When I first started to do walkabouts. I could only walk 200 m at about 1.6km/hour it took a long time to improve and it has been slow. Some days I regress and like I said the progress isn't noticeable daily. By September 2018 I was walking every day averaging 6km in one continuous walk without breaks. And I was walking about 6.5km/hour.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Yes it is a constant battle. Yes I have to take breaks especially from the computer screen. And yes there are relapses. But keep walking. That seems to be one of the things that has really helped me push through the fog.

I alao believe it really helped I had a friend I was taking to on the phone while I was walking. It was wonderful to hear her voice in my ear and she seemed to encourage me on. Simply by speaking with me and being there

So walking with someone helps. You aren't alone Even if that person is virtually walking beside you. It was when I was talking with her that my walks jumped up dramatically as I seemed to have platoed at 2km and couldn't seem to push past that for many months. From April 2018 to September 2018 was when I really started to improve in my walks while talking with her on the phone.

My point. Keep doing the little things to heal. Don't give up. You might not notice the progress right then. But don't give up. I even can speak Spanish fluidly now again. That also took a long time.

This is heart inspring advice; thank you

I somehow acquired a TBI in April '18 without hitting my head. I was at a party in Mexico when I noticed something was suddenly wrong with me. The music there was catastrophically loud. I had been the life of the party, but the music had been bothering me all night, and at some point around 10 pm someone asked me a question, and my answer was gibberish. I knew it was gibberish, so I tried to explain my answer, and that answer was also gibberish. The rest of my time in Mexico I was antisocial and had a really difficult time talking to other people. But with two consecutive rounds of food poisoning, until I finally left a week later, I just kept to myself.

When I got back to the States, I immediately started a new job. The guy that hired me accused me of lying on my resume and later of doing drugs to explain my odd, stupid, antisocial behavior. I initially thought I had meningitis because it felt like my brain was swelling. I was hypersensitive to everything, I had very poor balance (felt like I was drunk), had very low awareness of everything that was going on around me, I couldn't hold a conversation, and I couldn't form any thoughts. I honestly thought I was dying.

I went to urgent care and she sent me home with ibuprofen. The symptoms persisted and a few weeks later I went to a different doctor, who did the same thing.

By the 2.5 month mark, I started doing research. It took almost a week to narrow down that my symptoms were probably related to a TBI. It took so long because I never hit my head.

I went back to that doctor and told him what I'd found. He asked if I thought I needed to see a psychologist or a neurologist. The insinuation that I might be out of touch with reality vs. experiencing serious medical issues destroyed my faith in him.

I saw a neurologist who was far more interested in regaling me with stories of his medical residency 30 years ago than in helping me out. He also didn't believe me and said I seemed fine, but said he'd order an MRI if I wanted. I did, and I had it immediately after his stupid visit. I wish someone would have warned me that the machine sounded like a jack hammer, but I grit my teeth and bared with it.

The results came back with a big white splotch in the prefrontal cortex in front of my left ventricle. Brain damage for which they couldn't determine the cause.

EVEN AFTER getting these results back, he was skeptical, "Well that could've happened to you during birth...." He didn't offer me any guidelines, suggestion, or support about how to recover. He spent the rest of the 90-minute meeting telling me about his trip to London and France. Thanks.

It's taking me a very long time through trial, error, and research to come up with things to avoid and things to engage in to, at least for my recovery, improve and recover from the symptoms. I still worry that there'll be some permanency to some of the symptoms.

I've already come to terms with the fact that even when I recover and feel normal for a while, it's not permanent. Too much stimulation suddenly causes relapse and then I'm dull and stupid again and it's like no one's home, and I can't handle social situations or complexity.

Things I've found to avoid: electronic screens of any kind, noisy places or situations where there's too much going on, too much sensory stimulation of any kind, anything bumpy or jostling, heart rate going too high/intense exercise, focusing or having to focus or concentrate...

Things I've found that helped: CDP choline (a supplement in the US, a prescription for brain injuries everywhere else); regular, low-impact mild-to-moderate physical exercise like walking, hiking, kayaking (running and sports probably have too much bounce); sitting quietly, doing nothing; and spending periods of time throughout the day being mindfully aware of bodily sensations, feelings, and thoughts. That one really seems to help. Getting out of my head seems to be when most of my progress has been made.

Sounds to me like you had an ischemic stroke, a transient ischemic stroke to be more precise. The abrupt loss of speech is very telling. You might want to investigate stroke recovery, albeit it probably looks very similar to TBI recovery at this point. Best of luck to you, keep pushing forward, the system will recover as best it can.

I hope you have gotten further in your recovery by now. My friend has TBI and is yet to see a neurologist. He’s been put on all kinds of antipsychotic medications and antidepressants. I’m trying to help him. He’s been denied ssdi twice and now I’ve hired an attorney. Good luck with your recovery.

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