Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel.

Post by Pierre1 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:16 pm

"If you're going through hell....KEEP GOING!!!"

I'll try and keep this brief.


I was diagnosed with Whiplash and Post Concussion Syndrome after hitting the back of my head in a snowboarding accident within months of a couple of bad martial arts concussions. I saw my GP as well as a Neurologist who both diagnosed the same. I wasn't given very much information, but just that it would improve in a few weeks. This was a year ago and I am finally seeing some improvements after a couple of major set backs.


Rest. This goes without saying but the truth is nothing has helped as much as complete rest. I recently had a week away where I spent a lot of time doing absolutely nothing. The best thing I did was to put on some gentle music on my headphones, stick my sunglasses on, and just lie there for a couple of hours. When I first researched PCS someone recommended lying in a dark room wearing ear plugs. I wish I had followed this advice then.

Craniosacral therapy. I have absolutely no idea how this works but it seems to be helping. I was very skeptical when I went but I noticed a big improvement after the second session.

Acceptance. I spent a lot of time worrying about the condition. I worried that I would never be the same again (and still don't know if I will) but I've come to accept that this is a big deal like any serious injury and you can't help but be affected. Knowing what helps and having a way to monitor progress are key. It is also worth mentioning that when I do have a bad day (which still happens regularly) I accept it as part of the recovery and look forward to the next good day (these are becoming more and more common).

Control. I do find that keeping notes help. I have planned a healthy diet aimed at providing the brain with extra nutrition, a routine of gentle stretching to assist my neck and back. I also find it useful to focus on the things I enjoy. I have struggled with this as I haven't enjoyed any of my usual things since the accident but I have been able to find some simple pleasures which are an escape from the anxiety, fogginess, over-sensitivity, and low moods (did I mention sleep deprivation?).

Massage. I have benefited greatly from back, neck, and head massages. However I have probably benefited just as much from massaging my own head and neck as well as ice packing. I can't emphasize this enough.

Medication. I refused to take anti depressants as I didn't appreciate the link between PCS and depression (doc never told me). In hindsight they may have helped. Likewise I avoided sleeping tablets as I felt drowsy enough as it was. Paracetamol seemed to work for some headaches. For others a cold damp flannel was all that helped. Later I realised that ice packing my head and neck helped.


Alcohol. The single biggest mistake I made. About six weeks after I was diagnosed I went for a drink after work. I didn't even think about the concussion but found that the alcohol was having no effect on me and just kept drinking. Then suddenly I couldn't see or stand. I woke at 4am the following morning with my heart pounding and my breathing very shallow. My fogginess was even worse that it had been straight after the fall. This event triggered a period of two months of sleep problems, headaches, anxiety attacks and a deep depression (along with the pounding heart and shallow breathing). It was a couple of weeks after when I discovered I shouldn't have been drinking with PCS, although it is obvious now.

Exercise. I have always made a point of staying as fit as I can and was enjoying a different physical activity every day of the week before the accident. I had been through a huge break up a few months before the accident and also learn't that my father had an incurable cancer shortly after so relied on my exercise to get through things. Not being able to exercise was impossible so I carried on. I realised later that this was just prolonging the symptoms and making me worse. In fact I am sure that I made myself far worse as I just wouldn't stop until my body forced me to. I wish I had rested completely from the start. I am now gradually extending my long walks and look forward to the day I can run again without struggling to sleep after (or heart/breathing issues!). I am also going to give Yoga a try.

Stress. I was told that you have to rest your mind in order for your brain to recover but didn't really pay much attention to this. I didn't have much choice due to work. However I realise now in retrospect how much difference it makes. I wish I had taken two weeks off work straight after the accident to just sit in the garden with my headphones and sunnies on.

Chiropractor. Whilst this treatment has subsequently helped I know now that I went for treatment far too soon after the accident. The head adjustments were giving me additional concussions each time and my eyesight was terrible after. I stopped going after three weeks. When I finally went back to discuss this with him he started a course of accupressure which helped a lot.

Light and noise. I only really noticed this when I went on holiday to Las Vegas in October. I know this wasn't the best idea but it was arranged a long time before and paid for. I really needed a break from work (and life) and thought it would be a good idea. Wrong! The noise, lights, and smell of the casinos was unbearable and I developed terrible migraines. I ended up spending a few days sitting by the pool with my sunglasses on. I couldn't read but listening to some gentle music helped.

I've probably missed loads but I'm just gonna blame that on the PCS!!!

I hope this helps. I have read enough similar accounts now to have hope for a full recovery soon. 18 months seems common in cases far worse than mine. Hannah Andrusky's book is very helpful if you get a chance to read it.

Hope this helps.


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