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Concussion Symptoms

by Nicole C
(Austin, TX)


my name is Nicole. i'm 39 years old and just had what they are calling a complex migrane. i have lost my ability to talk. i can write and for the most part think clearly but can not speak without stuttering real bad which i did not do before.

Before all of this i fell and hit my head in the frount above my left eye and suffered a coccussion which led to memory lost. i remember hitting my head and waking up in the hospital. though i do not remeber passing out when i hit my head i lost about two weeks of my life one of those days was my little girls 6th birthday that i don't remeber.

no one can tell me anything they don't know why or when i;ll get my speech back and they ask if i do drugs which I DON'T... it is very frustrating to me i came to this site to figure out what was happening i had never heard of complex migranes before and these symtoms were too close to stroke but everything{CT,EEG,MRI]were all normal.

i work in a hospital on the cardiac floor so i've seen stroke pts before. when will i be able to speake again and how do i keep this from happening again.Two years ago i had a migrane which damage my eyesight, where i had 20/20 now i have to wear bifocals.i have auras bright colours of light rining in my ears the meds they have try make me real sick. PLEASE HELP ME...

Nicole,

Answer

Hi Nicole,

While the symptoms of complex migraines can be very scary, usually the symptoms return to baseline after 4-72 hours. That is the definition of migraine, all symptoms are reversible. I have never had a patient have their eyesight damaged by a migraine so it makes me wonder what that headache was a few years ago.

I cannot say why your speech has left you. At this point you might consider asking your neurologist for a PET scan. That can tell if there is any lack of perfusion to the speech area of the brain. It is very unusual for someone to loose only speech after a head injury after all other function has returned.

Finally, neuropsychiatric testing is extremely useful in pointing to areas of the brain where damage may have occurred. This was the type of testing that was done for stroke patients long before CT or MRIs were available. We use it quite often in our center for TBI (traumatic brain injury).

Good luck
Mary K. Betz MS RPA-C

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Concussion Symptoms

by Jennifer
(Toronto)

3 years ago I slipped and fell on the ice and hit my head (back) twice 'cause the first time I fell, I tried to get up n lost my balance and fell again! I hit my head hard and felt dizzy and could not move for a few seconds. A few minutes after that I felt like throwing up and my head was throbbing.

I was sent to the hospital to take some x-ray on my back n my neck. Just a small bump at the back of my skull! The doctor told me I have a concussion n gave my some Tylenol 2.

Later that day, I was in pain..so painful...I could not even get out of my bed...my headaches..lights bothers and loud sound/noise..ringing in ears.. worsen my headaches...my entire body felt is aching. I could not move my neck at all. The next day was even worse ...with my son's help..I went to see my family physician ..told me I've a severe whiplash and a concussion. He told me to see a massage therapist, chiropractor or physiotherapist.

After seeing the therapist for a few weeks, my headaches was not getting better but gotten worst, he sent me to see neurologist. The specialist sent me to take MRI/CT scan but had no findings on my headaches.

He gave me nortriptyline and topamax for my headaches and neck/shoulder pain! I'm still getting headaches n worse of all my memories are getting worse..depressed, restless, palpitations, and having suicidal thoughts! I'm on a therapy program...nerve block!...once the medication wears off, my headaches come back!!!

During the past 3 years, I went to see so physician/specialist, neurologist, psychatrist, orthopedic surgeon, general surgeon, 4 family doctors, 3 chiropractors, 2 massage therapists and 2 physiotherapists..even end up in pain clinics! I'm a healthy individual ...exercise 5-6 days/week, does not take medications at all, no history of headaches, happy n confident gal! Now, I'm a broken, lost, confuse and in constant pain!! Please help me..I'm begging for a answer or a referral!

Jennifer

Answer

Hi Jennifer

When people start to have daily headache after a head injury, usually there is a previous history of injuries, even if mild. Head injuries are cumulative and eventually the brain says "enough" and moves into headache.

Patients with post-traumatic headache usually do well on a TCA so the neurologist was on the right track with the nortryptiline. However, amitryptiline works better. I start patients at a low dose of 10mg 2 hours before bed and work up to 50-100mg which is the range for this type of headache. Topamax is a good choice too.

If these medications failed, I have combined Topamax with low dose Seroquel and work the Seroquel up to about 50-75 mg. Usually 12.5mg to start, before bed.

We have also had some success with Botox for post-concussion headache syndrome as it treats the severe breakthrough migraines that accompany this condition. As always, triptans and other medications are used for the migraines.

Try to get to a headache specialist or a TBI(traumatic brain injury) clinic. Toronto has great neurologists so ask around.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz, MS RPA-C

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Headache From Concussion

by Gina
(California)

How long do headaches from a concussion last?

I'm seventeen years old and I had hit my head really hard on a piece of funiture and ended up with a concussion.

It's been a week and I still have a really, really bad headache. I haven't gone to the doctor yet, but I am considering going very soon. My question though is, how long do these headaches last? They are driving me crazy!

Answer:

Hi Gina,



I am assuming you did not lose consciousness with this head injury. If you have had a headache this long you most probably do have a concussion.

If after one week the headache is the same or getting worse you need to see your doctor. If you cannot get in to your doctor's office in the next day or so, please have your parents take you to the emergency room.

Headache after a concussion that doesn't improve in 7-10 days is a bit concerning. You may need a CT of the brain and a doctor can give you some medication that will take the pain away.

Generally speaking most people get better in a week or two.

Good luck!

Mary Kay Betz, MS RPA-C

COMMENTS:

I got a concussion 2 years ago and still get headaches that seem to be related to my concussion. I hit the back on my head really hard and sumtimes get really weird and painful "flash" headaches throughout my head that feel like they are moving. It doesnt happen as much anymore, but will I always have to deal with this?

Chare


Hello. Sounds like you do have a concussion. I would very much suggest going to the doctor first or ER if you don't have a regular doctor. Just to make sure everything is o.k. I have had 6 concussions in my life. You can have headaches off and on that last up to 9 months. This is rare though. Most likely they will last 2 months at the longest. The doctor should be able to give you something for the pain. Also a concussion can mess with your memory and coordination. Makes you forgetful and clumsy for awhile. Can affect your sleep too. All the symptoms go away after time, but depending on the person and the severity of the concussion,the symptoms can last up to 6-9 months. My last one only lasted for three months and it was a pretty severe one. Hope that helps you. Good luck!

Jenn

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Concussion Headaches

by Carol

Dear Mary Kay,

I have suffered migraines for years. I took fiorcet with codeine until 2006 when one component (I don't know which) made me very allergic with itchy hives all over and heat
rash.

Then I've been on Maxalt with great success until
September 21st, 2009 when I suffered a head concussion from large wood piece falling on my head. I got headaches immediately and nothing seems to get rid of them. Not tylenol and not maxalt.

The doctors wanted to prescribe
codeine but because of my allergy to fiorocet with I declined. I asked to be put on tramadol but they declined believing it to have too many liver side effects for someone in my age group

Meanwhile I am suffering much head pain .What do
you think would be the best medication for concussion type headaches?

thank you for your help in this matter.

Answer

Hi Carol,

If your concussion occurred very recently, you are still in the acute phase of the injury. Since you are a migraineur, you are at higher risk for
more headaches from a head concussion or even a minor head injury.

I will assume that you are over 50 if doctors are concerned about medications and your liver. You should have had a CT of the brain right after the injury to rule out a fracture or a bleed. If your headaches continue and are daily, an MRI of the brain should be done which can see smaller bleeds.

At this point, a short course of steroid (one week or two) might help break the pain. Even though you are allergic to codeine, there are other pain killers you can take so talk to your doctor again.

As mentioned in the link above, amitryptiline, low dose is far better than trazadone for this syndrome.

If you do not improve after 6 weeks, you need to see a neurologist for further evaluation and possible work up.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Stabbing headache after concussion

by michelle
(New Orleans, LA)

My 11 yr old son was involved in a bullying attack on him on 8/28/09. I never realized he had a concussion until 2 days later when he was having memory, headaches, and tiredness.

Saw our Pediatrician and he said keep him home for a week until all goes away. ok keep him home 1 week and having only memory problem so dr gets us an apt with pediatric neurologist. earliest is on 10/14/09. do an mri and ct normal. she sends us to concussion specialist and he said he needs to be on full restriction no phys ed, no recess, and 1/2 day school and tons of school work shortened.

ok now it's 2 months out and all has cleared up and his reaction time has improved on the IMPACT computer test, but now at 3 months he is having short popping, intense sharp pains that last anywhere from 3 seconds to 2 minutes. he said they appear in different areas of his head. he said the pain is bad. I have noticed that sometimes he will almost jumps as if he got a cold chill. and other times he sill grab his head in pain he can't move. sometimes they come several in a row and sometimes not. the doctor is puzzled and i am concerned.

Not sure if anyone has had this. oh i forgot he said sometimes he has the same pain in other parts of his body like his neck, legs, arms, fingers. any help?

Answer:

Hi Michelle,

I am glad that your son received what sounds like very appropriate and outstanding care for this head injury.

At times, 11 year olds do have difficulty telling us what exactly is wrong with them. They may confuse pain with tingling or "funny feelings". Symptoms like this that tend to come and go and are all over the body tend to be related to anxiety.

After having a bully attack him, then having a head injury and now to be pulled out of school may have caused some anxiety and self esteem problems. Only you as his mother can say whether or not you think this is true. Try to look at it from his point of view...being pulled from full school work and PE (although TOTALLY appropriate) just makes him stand out more and perhaps be subjected to more ridicule. He may think he did something wrong, even though he hasn't said this to you.

I must emphasize that the physicians did exactly what I would have recommended and have done for children in our practice. It is important to talk to your son about how he feels about what is going on.

If you feel this is the problem, please talk to the pediatrician or the headache specialist.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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I hit my head a month ago

by ashley
(pennsylvania)

hi

i hit my head a month ago hard on the concrete on my right side. and lately ive been having alot of headaches my head feels heavy and like its getting bigger, i feel light headed and tired, could this have anything to do with the fall? or just stress and anxiety?

Ashley

Answer:

Hi Ashley,

It is quite possible that you had a mild concussion when you hit your head. Unfortunately, with a head injury, the brain has no where to go but hit the skull.

Many times symptoms may come out days later. It is a little concerning that you are having symptoms weeks later. Although this may be post-traumatic headache syndrome you still need to be seen by a doctor. Any neurological symptoms that show up weeks after an injury requires either a CT or preferably an MRI of the brain.

I would like you to talk to your parents and show them what I have recommended. They will call your pediatrician.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Concussion or Sinus infection?

by Nathan C
(Virginia, Stafford)

Hello I'm Nathan C.

A few days ago I hit my head on a metal chandelier by standing up real fast. It hurt for a few seconds. That's it. That's the only symptoms I had. But through out the days, I am getting this dull headache around my face and top of my head.

My parents won't take me to the doctors because they think I'm a hypochondriac. I now have sensitivity to sound, and my arm went numb while sleeping. Is the pressure from a sinus infection because my snot was neon green and pressure behind my eyes. I keep getting a dull headache that lasts a few seconds and last night my whole face got warm and my ears got red. Thank you for taking your time

Thank you!!! :D
Nathan

Answer:

Hi Nathan,

Any new onset of headache after a head injury should be checked out by a doctor. If you are still having head pain, I would ask that your parents take you to your pediatrician.

Although it is a bit rare to have constant headaches after hitting your head, you could have a mild concussion, leading to headache that can last a week or two.

The other symptoms need to be addressed separately.

Good luck.
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Still get Migraines since I fell

by Marie
(Glen Lyon, PA)

I am a female of 51 and I do not smoke.
On March 9th of this year I fell on my back at a job I was doing at a high school in NY. I had a compressed fracture of my thoracic vertebrae, T3. I did hit my head but I had a clasp in my hair but it did break when my head hit the floor.

Ever since my fall I keep getting very bad migraines. They start from the middle of my back to the front of my eyes. And I don't even have to be doing anything. I told the Drs, I have taken Tylenol, Ibprophin, Aleeve, Rx meds and nothing helps. The Ortho pedic Dr is only treating my FX and said he can't treat migraines.

My family Dr sent me for a Open Stand Up MRI, but I haven't heard anything. so can my migraines still be due to my fall and could something else be going on the Drs are not seeing or what?

Thank you
Marie R
Glen Lyon PA

Answer:

Hi Marie,

You do not mention whether or not you have a previous history of migraine or if you have a previous history of head injuries. Both of these could contribute to your current problems.

It does sound as if you have some aspect of post traumatic headache syndrome influencing your headaches.

Your primary care can put you on a low dose of amitryptiline before bed. We recommend 10mg 2 hours before bedtime and give it at least 90 days. If that doesn't help, then you need to see a neurologist for further treatment. There are headache centers in PA, located in Pittsburgh and in Philadelphia.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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