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 These are custom-fitted earplugs, originally made for musicians, but they now have been adapted for individuals with traumatic brain injuries.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.

Comments (137)

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.

I have suffered from PTC, Pseudo Tumor Cerebri other wise known as IIH Idopathic Intracranial Hypertension, which is a disease that causes to much CSF and literally squeezes the brain putting increased pressure on brain, which causes brain injury, I also was in a car accident that gave me whiplash and ruptured 2 discs in my neck, so I had to have neck fusion surgery. All the syptoms you have described apply to me, I am going on 14 years with this disease and these problems. I have a VP Shunt in my head that is supposed to keep the pressure off but unfortunately they have a tendency to have a lot of problems and bread down often which requires another surgery. I have no quality of life at all, but my faith gets me through.

There's a therapy called Cranial Release Technique, CRT, that might be useful to's been a great help to me. My extremely-layperson understanding is it frees up space and mobility in your skull to give your brain half a chance to get on with healing.

Thank you so much for this article. I'm a couple of weeks shy of 2 years recovering from a head injury due to a fall during snow skiing. I've been so isolated and lonely because over-stimulation from sound, music, lights, crowds, environment. I've never been told by the neurologists or primary care doctors to see a neuro optometrist or audiologist. I made these appointments after reading this article. I know have noise dampening ear-molds made specifically for my ears (ER 9, 15, 25). They come with 3 filters depending on how much filtering I need in any social setting. I'm out of the house more enjoying music and people for the first time without being miserable and causing more pain. I still have to pace myself as to not over do it. Bouncing back is hard with pain and insomnia. With neuro optometrist testing I now have names to put with the symptoms of my vision. She can help me & that is so encouraging! I've also had cognitive testing with results coming next week. I feel like I'm finally making progress in my recovery. Thank you for this article. Sometimes you just have to be your own healthcare advocate. Research, read and do it! Thank you for pointing me in a direction I didn't even know about!!!

Suffering from mild tbi and not having the right Doctor its big question mark about your life. I have been complaint for 9 months about my fatigue, migraine, pre-syncope, and pain in my eyes etc... I end up making an appointment to a vision therapy doctors and told me i can not be able to do daily activity or my therapy due to severe post concussion. But my therapist kept saying all of this month that nothing is wrong and I could go to work. Thank God I did not have passed out during driving a car .

Thank you all for the comments and the article.  I had my fourth concussion this Memorial Day.  Was playing a softball tournament and got hit in the orbital area by a ball that took a bad bounce.  Had three prior ones when I used to snowboard - but those were over 10 years ago.  I'm 42 now and the recovery from the last concussion took way longer.  The sensitivity to light was something I never noticed before.  I had to hole up in my apartment with the lights off and blinds drawn for 10 days.  The CAT scan said I was fine but I just don't feel the same as before the accident.  I'm now four months out and am just now admitting to myself that things are different.  I am having such a hard time with work - focusing on one task is so hard.  I am a CPA and spend all day every day under florescent lighting looking at dual monitors. Just driving back and forth to work aggravates me like never before and noises frequently startle me or make me feel a bit of panic.  There has been alot of construction in around my work and home this summer and I get on edge going though every day. I dislike being in crowded restaurants now and social activities are something I no longer look forward to.  I am losing contact with people that I used to socialize and play softball with.  They don't understand why I've pulled away from things and I can't really get through to them what I am dealing with.  I will be looking into some of the resources I've found here to hopefully find my way back.  It's very hard to admit to myself that I may have some permanent loss of function after the last concussion. 

I never had a reason to think about TBI. I only heard about it in the military. Until I had a head on collision with another vehicle and then the totally hectic things begin! My whole life just went down hill! first my job,my home,my wife and then my son dies of a brain aneurism. Then my automobile crash and my girlfriend! She has been an angel and I thank GOD for her everyday! So now I see that material things are really just that material!!! But special people are a true gift! Mike

Sympathized. A lot. Especially /because/ my TBI was so minor in the scheme of things, a lot of people have been very dismissive and simply don't understand (but act like they do). Every day I'm grateful for my husband, who has never once demanded anything from me I can't provide and who's been completely understanding and compassionate at every turn.

Same. Mine was minor according to the TBI symptom rubric (and the fact that I can even say things like that and know what they mean after almost a year seems like a small miracle wrapped in hope for a full recovery). But nobody seemed to really believe me, including doctors and neurologists. At work (started a new job immediately after I got this TBI) the guy who hired me accused me of lying on my resume and doing drugs in order to explain my extremely odd and antisocial behavior. I wouldn't figure out that it was due to a TBI for 3 more months...

I have hope that I can be normal soon. I have 4 children and they are so little. I'm sorry this happened to all of us. I'm praying to god for all of us to get better.

It is very difficult to sleep and to stay positive. I have to over think every sentence I write. Even still I miss words and the ability to communicate well. My family tries to understand and so do my friends. However, that is almost more frustrating. The first specialist I went to see was stuck on the fact that I had fluid on my brain. Which I did. However, refused to acknowledge a recent traumatic event I had been a highly active person. I lived in a ski resort for roughly eight years, snowboarding, jumping off cliffs, car accidents, and then I met a violent individual that had decided I wasnt worthy of my teeth or brain. He just took me out in one violent act. It was one time. I went to the authorities. He was incarcerated for two and a half months. I am living in a world I try so hard to understand. I left the first two drs. behind. Both woman and both poorly managed me and my tragic event. I did the the things I knew would help. Lose weight, exersize and managed to get the fluid off my brain after two and half years. However, I found this out after I found a new specialist that had basically said what I had originally told the original drs., that I thought I had a t.b.I that I read I should see a neurologist/ cognitive doctor. The neurologist who did my spinal tap then said," you do not need to see one of them, the pressure on your brain isnt do to a t.b.I. " I responded, " I was thrown through a three teared coffee table with thick glass and wood. I guess he didnt like that I broke his table because he repeatedly beat me in my mouth until I was almost unconscious and my teeth were loosened had to be braced and are not salvageable. My missing teeth were extracted for my braces." Then again how do you piss off a woman about to stick a huge needle in your back? I am a stubborn individual. I read alot about what was going on with me. I want to believe in the medical world. I want to believe those drs. had my best interest in mind. Except it is my mind, my brain, and my worries. I have to change my life. I am use to taking care of up to sometimes thirty tables in a restaurant. Laughing and joking with a full bar, while playing keno, and enjoying the rush of it all. Now I am happy I can sometimes catch a ball. I refuse to give up on life and my recovery. It looks like now I have damage to my visual cortex which sometimes is secondary to epilepsy. Which would explain a lot. Good luck! Keep on searching for your answers!

I just read all the posts...    i'm going through a similar experience to many here.  I was in a whiplash car accident over 3 years ago.  I've had a headache every single day.  no joke. every day.   I've had vision issues (trouble reading, focusing my eyes).  I've limited myself to low intensity activities like canoing and yoga.  I've had to quit the sports i used to do; hockey, basketball, mountain biking, hiking because they're too high intensity.   memory issues, fatigue, poor sleep.    after 3 years i've lowered my expectations and i'm just hoping for a partial recovery.  fortunately i've been able to keep my job although everything is harder and i'm exhausted by friday.   The best advice (mentioned above) is you just need to accept that you now have a lower capacity for activity, work and stress.   I've changed my sports to yoga and kayaking/canoing - they are lower intensity but still fun and engaging.  Its been tough dropping the sports i used to do and the friends that went with them... really tough.   I've also got music which for me is the guitar.  my musical abilities were unaffected by the injury (thank god).   I don't notice my symptoms while i'm doing the above activities so i try to do them frequently.   i've noticed small improvements a year year since the accident ...   its a long haul but one has to stay hopeful and do what's best for you health.  by the way this is not my first concussion...  i was in a near death car accident at age 19.  had another concussion in my late 20s snowboarding.  head injuries seem to add up and eventually you're permanently living with symptoms.   another thing that's helped me me is very controlled cardio.  I do a stairmaster 3-4 times/week for 25-30 minutes but i keep my heart rate at about 130 bpm (roughly a canoeing intensity) this seems to be good for mood and energy level; but going harder than that sets me back.    you almost have to forget your old life, accept your new limited one and then find a way to be happy.   for me it takes constant diligence to stay above water on the side of happiness and fight slipping below the surface where depression lurks.   keep fighting everyone! 

My son suffered a TBI/ concussion 4 years ago playing varsity soccer. He is still recovering. He missed his junior and senior year of high school because of it. We tried concussion clinics, near-psychologists etc. There is a great deal the medical world does not know about the brain. My son Michaels eyesight was knocked out of whack. He went to vision therapy fro 2 years and got his eyes to work together again which alleviated much of his vision issues. He still has light sensitivity, wears FL-41 lenses inside and outside, he still cannot look at a computer screen for 5 seconds without major setbacks. He can read his phone though. He could not watch TV, play video games, or look at screens of any kind - except his phone. The phone screen does not bother him and his hearing was not affected. He has had severe mood swings, constant headaches, and cognitive exercise like adding two 4-digit numbers drains the life out of him. During his first two years of down time, he learned how to play piano, bass, guitar, and drums. He now plays drums in a band with his older brother who is a guitarist. They are a two man band. This is their passion and what they both want to do for a living. Michael is 20 years old, he works during the summer as a landscaper and buses tables in the winter. He cannot read anything on "paper" and cannot look at a computer screen which limits his job opportunities a great deal. I stumbled on an old teacher of mine whose son had some issues with his hands and could not play guitar anymore. His went to a Structural Massage person who studied the "Hoshino method of massage". After 5 sessions, he got his hands back in working order. Massage? Would that help Michael? We drove 3 hours twice a week for a few months, then twice a month, now every 3 weeks. After 20 sessions now, Michael is feeling much better. He started feeling better after 2-3 sessions and says it is the best thing he has done in 4 years of searching for help with his symptoms. We continue with the massage and we have also started seeing an Orthoganist. The Orthoganist works to adjust the top vertebrae called the atlas. Michael's atlas was really out of whack and is currently on his 6th session and is showing signs of change to some of his remaining symptoms. I am sooo thankful for my chance encounters with some old friends that pointed us toward massage therapy and the orthoganist as effective alternative options that don't seem to be on the radar of the normal channels of most healthcare providers. Keep positive. Keep searching for other helpful treatments. We are optimistic that he will eventually fully recover. Time will tell... Patience, support, and understanding helps everyone involved in treating a TBI.

It worked really well with me... You have to be really well at this if you really want this to work for you.low back pain symptoms

Thank you for supporting him through this. I wish you wellness and happiness.

Be careful with supplements even Fish Oil.  My husband was hit by a truck while riding his bicycle two and a half years ago and suffered a TBI.  His neurologist recommended Fish Oil and it is good for the brain BUT he ended up with a very painful case of Gout due to the Fish Oil (Omegas).  I'd say to try it because we were told his reaction was rare but if you start having some new pain and your toes swell up - stop and get to the doctor.  With medication and lots of cherry juice, it can be cured!  It has been a long 2 1/2 years but there has been improvement.  He can talk to someone in a social atmosphere for an hour now where at first it was only 5 minutes.  He has to rest afterwards and usually has a headache from all the stimulation but he doesn't break down with shaking and crying like he did at first.  He still has trouble processing in group situations, better one on one.  He was an architect and had to retire the day he got hit.  He has a hard time figuring out "what to do next".  He has trouble counting out change.  In our conversations, he usually hears the first part, misses the middle (because he is still processing the first) and hears the end.  His brain just "makes-up" what he thinks I said in the middle which has caused a lot of misunderstandings.  We have been married 40 years.  This is the hardest thing we have ever had to go through. 

I have been scrounging the internet to find something uplifting about PCS. All I can find are hopeless accounts of people who feel sorry for themselves. This is exactly how I am feeling right now, trying to study for a final exam but unable to focus due to my PCS and the stress and anger associated with it.
It's been five months, and all I want to hear is that I will one day recover. Is that too much to ask?? I am 24 years old and otherwise healthy as a horse.
Thank you for the tip on the Omega 3 supplements. I am heading to the store immediately to purchase some.

See what your brain thinks about avocados and garlic, too. For me at least, AVOCADOS ARE MAGIC and I've taken to just chowing down on a clove of garlic for a pick-me-up (as long as I'm not about to breathe on people;). Berries, esp. blueberries and blackberries, are great brain helpers as well.

I am about to reach the end of my second month after getting a concussion, which is short compared to many. But I just want to give you hope that everybody is different. Your own brain is on its own timetable. The fact that you are studying for exams might mean that you're overdoing it and putting pressure on yourself to "toe the line" with your education. Your brain might heal faster if you take a break from school. I hope you have a neurologist or other professional who can help you determine this. I Talked to some people that were really skeptical about my neurologist just saying, "walk and rest, walk and rest" -- but there is great wisdom in this. I rally hope you can be patient with yourself, though even after two months I can relate to your wanting to get better faster. Best of everything to you....

I've had multiple mild concussions due to skiing accidents. The most recent was about a year ago in 4 days. High DHA omega 3 fish oil has helped with my brain injuries more than anything else on this planet...spare restful sleep. I don't expect anyone to really buy into this. But it's worth a shot. I'm not even here to endorse a particular brand/product. Just want to help people figure out that they can manage their symptoms at least somewhat. Our brains are 30% DHA, it only makes sense to use that to help rebuild it! The other end of the spectrum with recovery lies with hormone insufficiency! I recently started taking Velvet Deer Antler tincture that is helping me regain my energy and testosterone levels. It may not work for all, but my research has turned up that most injured brains have problems with hormones. And you all should try to research this area of health and see if any products work for you! Good luck, I hope you all find relief soon. Just thought I'd try and brighten up all your worlds with a bit of hope that there are things that can heal the body. What those are, though, will be different for every case...

After suffering a TBI in 2007 one of my many after effects is my sensitive hearing. This device from the article above seems to be quite helpful.

Any other vets talked to the VA about having these supplied?


I as well suffer from many symptoms. I want you all to focus on the positives. It,s hard but you,ll heal much faster. Look into meditation. Butter burr for migraines. Eat healthy obviously. And focus on what you can do not what you can,t. It is such a struggle but I know many people worse off. I will be praying for you all! 

I feel like such a failure; stupid most of the time. I was in an accident over 2yrs ago and only 3 mos ago was I diagnosed. I spent months in and out of doctors offices and physical therapy and still I can't function as I did befpre. I was only a semester away from receiving my degree, after 6 yrs while being a single mom to 3 children. I sleep, boy do I sleep, what feels like ALL the time. I just know my children are disappointed with me. Now I lay awake looking to see what I can do about my newest issue, the dentist. The drill and other utensils sent me into a panic, what I felt was the beginning of a seizure. The Pain, oh Dear God In Heaven, the pain. I just pray. I prayed to get me through the 1.5 hours of dental work and now after a dental mistake must go in tomorrow. PTSD is the closest I can explain feeling after I go through the horrific pain, vibrations and noise. I cried as I read these comments and the pages because I Want to be who I was before! I was able to multi task 10 different things and survive on 6-7 hrs of sleep. Now I need at least 1.5hrs of a nap each day. I'm a failure to myself and a failure to my kids. Now I wear glasses because my eyes won't adjust correctly. I don't want to wear glasses. I'm sad. I'm scared and I'm angry. I don't say why me, but I just want me back and that woman is gone.

Hey. I hit a guard rail going 80+ mph. I was not wearing a seatbelt. The back right side of my head was impacted. I still have an indention. It affected how i experience sensations. Sound is intolerable at times. Loud booming voices, ect. I do wear ear plugs. I have severe and chronic pain from old sports injuries and a botched spinal tap. The TBI amplified the pain i had and it slowly broke me down physically. My mental and physical state slowly declined over a period of 10 years. Now, almost twelve years later, i still live with my folks. I am to be 32 yrs old this September. My father is 60, my mom, 52. It is very hard at times and although we love each other, we often argue and my father is very loud. He served in the Marines as a Journalist during Vietnam and has this tuff love that has kept me (us) alive. The main thing that bothers me is the headaches, my spine and neck, and severe PTSD. All i remeber about the impact is that it was loud and though i thought i had lost my head (i checked), it was not painful. The next day was. If i move too fast, or work too fast, i vomit and collapse with a booming headache. I gotta be careful not to overheat. It took 10 years for the TBI i recieved to take its toll. I also Boxed Amature before and after the wreck and was in a few other wrecks where i was almost knocked out. Theze milder concussions built up and added to the major 1. At times the pain is so much that i just want God to take this soul and mind from this body here on Earth but i pray more and think of the people who fought and died for us to be here and the others like me who are far worse. I Thank God for what i still have, and it keeps me from thinking about what i lost. This life is just a test, but we cant give up because its just a test. Even though we dont do as good as others might, in the end, everyone wins anyway. But you cant take the easy road out because thats a loss and that means a loss.

I feel the same way..I was in a car wreck when I was 18 traveling at the speed of 113 miles/per/hr. And since I have been suffering from migraines, memory loss, never used drugs, have 3 daughters and the shit thing is I can't even begin to help them with there Math. I talk talking about a subject and switch to another story and forget what the I was talking about in the 1stplace. I have had probably 6 or 7 car accidents and on terrible abusive relationship which didn't help matters.I know hate is a strong word but I'm beginning to hate life. I have no one who understands the anxiety and depression .. The pain from migraines. .i just wish i could get a prescription w/no refills of a bottle of decon, or silver bullet. ..I pray that the Good Lord, Almighty Creator, steadily holds my hand, and shines through the darkness, that we all suffer. In his name Rise Up.. Thank you!

It's Friday evening, 6:3o pm on 25 April 2014. 3 1/2 years I fell hiking down an icy clip of a mountain.  I was 49.  I fell ~ 8 feet and was stopped by my head.  So many years later, I have such ringing in my ears after a long day on the computer that I just want to cry.  But I feel stupid. I think that if I say anything to anyone, I 'll be considered a hypochondriac and whiner.

I just want my energy back. I want to feel happy. I want to not feel everyday is a chore to get through.  At times, I want to just throw in the towel.  

Guess I'm feeling sorry for myself. In fact,  I AM  feeling sorry for myself.  Maybe tomorrow I'll feel better.

Thanks for letting me leave my troubles for tonight on the shoulders of this cyberspace.  I'll make it through .

I was riding a mountain bike downhill, was launched over my handlebars, and my head is what i landed on without being able to get my arms or anything else out to soften the blow. Was out for about 15 seconds, tons of physical pain for 1.5 years, and much of the TBI was attributed by me to pain meds and physical pain. Then the pain hugely reduced and i stopped my pain meds, THEN the reality of TBI came to light and I've been really dealing with it for only about a month plus now. It is a pain in the butt process, mainly because hardly any doctor or cognitive therapist knows the details and it is hugely misdiagnosed. Also, if you are in a managed care system I have found most doctors are busy finishing with patients to get the billings to the insurance company to help justify their job, but hardly any truly try to figure it out and help. YOU must do the research and find those that specialize in this area. Of the 10 or so docs I've seen thus far, appears only 1 truly understands and has read the latest on TBI's.

Noticed at the bottom of this page after the comments there is a supposed definition of TBI. I disagree completely with the statement that most mild TBI's go away within weeks or a very short period of time...that is post concussion syndrome, NOT a mild TBI (and most doctors think the same wrong thing). If you truly had a mild TBI, it does not suddenly go away. You might not go back to a doctor, try to ignore treatment, get coping mechanisms, improve things over time with various exercises, change the excess stimuli with ear plugs or sunglasses/brimmed caps, etc., but a mild TBI does not go away. That is our bummer in one way, but at the same time don't forget to enjoy the present moments and stimuli right in front of you that we now seem to be able to appreciate more than before - walk along a beach or river or in a forest...nature is wonderful for TBI, so is exercise, regular sleep, very little alcohol, calendaring everything daily, a TBI Support Group (lucky to have one in my area that meets twice per month), pushing your social abilities a bit more each time (longer phone conversations, longer in person conversations, more focused for longer, etc.), reduce gluten and grains and sugars from your diet (they cause inflammation to the brain and body), drink water regularly, and find a hobby or interest. Hope those help as a TBI sucks, but since it IS permanent you need to get positive and find the things you enjoy doing in life. Most of the old friends and habits will be changed to a large degree, and that is the reality we all must accept at some point to begin getting positive and moving forward with your new brain.

Anyone that is interested I have put some info on a blog I started on Blogger called "As I Stand Dying" (came up with the name when the physical stuff was real bad too, but didn't start writing until after the pain reduced and i was aware of the TBI). I put some helpful materials there and talk about the things i've experienced and things that have helped. Not super familiar with blogs and settings, but here is my link: (copy and paste)

Keep pushing forward!


Almost 10 years ago I was in a head-on collision and my life forever changed that day.  But I still have life--a very good life!  I take medication daily that adds to the quality of my life.  It is Concerta or its generic.  It is the type of medication that is prescribed for ADHD.  The first day that I took this medication I attended an all day seminar.  I was amazed at what a difference it made.  I pray that you too will find something will assist you with the many challenges that you now face.  The sooner you accept that you will never be the same person as you were before, the better off you will be.  Cherish the life that you still have!

My personal experience I had a head injury in a car wreck about 10 years ago, to this day I still have problems with light sensitivity and balance issues. I usually only keep a single small yellow light on in a room, if there is too much light (white light seems to be worse than yellow) my head will hurt which causes headaches and depending on the brightness I'll have to look away/down or squint my eyes or if it's bad enough I'll have to close my eyes completely which makes it much harder for me to keep balance. Before the injury seems like I too the ability to keep balance for granted, now post-injury it is a constant task, feels like a lot of my enegy goes to just keeping my balance. If someone were to look at me walking I doubt that would notice anything odd with my walking, but I think that's mostly because of how long I have been dealing with this problem, unfortunately though it may look like I'm walking effortlessly but if something were to happen to my sight I would fall over and be on the ground, my sight is the only thing that helps me keep my balance. If I close my eyes I will fall over, if I have something to hold onto like the back of a couch/wall I can still walk but it is definately even more of a challege than if I was able to see.

I was lucky and on the problems with hearing mine are very minimal, I lost some hearing on the side that my head hit, other than that I can hear just fine, though I have noticed since my head injury my ears don't seem to produce wax like they used to, so the inside of my ears seem to get dry and irritate me.

Probably that last and most frustrating issue I have is my mental capacity, I used to be great at math, post-injury I'm barely able to recall the order of 4 random single digit numbers which makes doing math in my head impossible, so any simple math I have to use paper and pen or if it's more than just basic addition/subtraction I have to use a calculator. Seemed like my mind was always active before hand, now feels like I'm a bit of a meat head, the thoughts in my mind are very simplistic as opposed to before where they could be pretty complex. I also constantly get similar words mixed up, even though I think the correct word I somehow will still say the incorrect word, so it has caused me to have to think about what I'm about to say multiple times just to make sure it's correct and even then it still sometimes comes out incorrectly.

My head injury happened when I was 18 so I have been dealing with this for a while, just try to not take everything so seriously, if you mess up just try to laugh it off, I know it's easier said than done but it's real easy to get down on yourself and get into a bad place, so just keep trying. I still get upset with my issues from the injury if I think too much about it can bring me to tears, but it is do-able to deal with this, you just can't expect life to go back to the way it was, you hae to re-adjust to have life is now and as you get better at coping with your issues the more you know what to expect and you'll be able to do a lot more.

my boyfriend was a passenger of a terrible motorbike accident one year ago. he suffered multiple injuries including a broken back and was in a coma for some time, although he had a good physical recovery i noticed he was coping well in certain situations concerning hes cognitive thinking. i thought i was going mad, but then i heard about tbi and found this site. weve seen a doctor and he is now having to have more ct scans. thankyou
I cried when I found this sight and began to read it. You see, I had a whiplash 2 years ago. I was sent for physical therapy, chiropractor, massage therapy, optometrist and now am left with profuse ringing in my ears, pain in the back of my head, with weird lacy light sensitivity. NO one ever told me I had a brain injury. It saddens my heart that I had to find this out on my own. My doctor told me it is a chronic soft tissue injury.
to the july 27th post about noise sensitivity, try earplugs or get special ear filters. I have been dealing with the same for almost 10 yrs and they help take some of the edge off sounds. They are not as sharp and jarring. I wear in public places - especially crowded store. Otherwise I still get dizzy and sick to my stomach. Also sleep as you can and rest frequently in quiet settings even for just a few minutes helps
i suffered a TBI in 2002 when i went thru a windshield in a head on collission, i had to learn how to talk right and think straight, i have short term memory loss and repeat things all the time,i have lost more friends because people can get annoyed with me, in november of 2012 i fell down the stairs and hit the back of my head and neck, that day i suffered a seizure in a grocery store and have never been the same, my left ear buzzes all the time and i can barely walk a straight line, i cant focus my eyes on anything and going to the grocery store is almost impossible, i get dizzy just reading the words i am typing and my vision is blurred terribly, i have had more tests then i count and seen so many doctors and noone knows what is wrong other then i have a massive brain injury from 11 years ago and i reaggrevated it recently, my hearing is fine, too good in my left ear, everything seems amplfied and the last time i went into a resturant it sounded like everyone was banging their silverware aganist glassware it was horrible, i am giving up hope to ever live normally again :(
I was in a car accident and got a concussion, I've been dealing w/severe sensitivity to sounds. . My MRI and ENT test were good- I am so angry, I can't do anything it seems. I was just prescribed risperidone- which I briefly read it was for antipsychotic! Ugh! I'm not losing my mind I'm just so angry that I can't tolerate sound. Has anyone been prescribed something that can help?
My TBI in2005 ruined so many things mainly because of loss of energy which makes me mad and depressed. I galloped race horses for a living. It was my job, my pleasure and my life! When I have energy, I can deal with my problems and my meds help a lot...but not enough! Energy loss has ruined my life and my daughter's also...she just turned 10 one week before my accident. This article is the first I have seen about energy post TBI. THX
healing wishes
May you heal I sustained a MTBI after slipping off the edge of my bathtub, hitting my head twice on the bowl...The tub is about 12, 13 or 14 inches above the floor. I stood on the edge like a fool while showering to fix a shower caddie that I nudged out of place...I had two bumps above my ear, meaning I hit my head twice..I only remember the second one. My husband and friends say I hit my head twice, since there were two separate bumps but I do not remember the first hit, nor how I got a very large bruise/hematoma on my left arm... This article is the most detailed description of all I have been experiencing for the past 3 and 1/2 months. Thank you so much.
amazing reading