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When does a concussion (after car crash) become TMS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Anna1, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Hi all,

    3,5 years ago I recovered from fibromyalgia quickly after reading Sarno's books. My life changed dramatically.

    Last week I was in a car accident where I was hit from behind. It was a very hard crash (both cars total loss, the guy behind me couldn't brake anymore because he was looking the other way). The ambulance personel, the police and the firemen were all over me asking me how I was, if I felt anything in my neck, telling me that I should watch out how it would develop. Also, all my friends and facebook friends were all over me, telling me about my neck. And I was laughing inside. Shocked about how TMS works. If everyone almost assumes you have a whiplash, you would almost feel obliged to feel something. But again - I am very aware of TMS in this respect.

    The first hours I felt nothing, but then my muscles (naturally) got very stiff. I was checked physically and neurologically by my doctor (who found nothing but stiffness in the muscles) and went to Body Stress Release therapy that I know from before my TMS recovery to make sure the muscles would release the tension asap as I had planned a skiing holiday for this week.

    Long story short: my muscles recovered quite fast (I am in good shape and I did yoga every day since the accident), but in my head I felt dizzy, heavy and weird. Also, I felt sick in my stomach (this comes back when I do something too strenuous). My doctor told me I have a (light) concussion, I cancelled the skiing trip. We're 8 days later now and it hasn't really improved much. I need a lot of rest, have a head ache and cannot read or watch screens very well - which is normal for a concussion.

    But my question is- after how much time should I consider this as TMS? I went to the Body Stress Release therapy again yesterday, and since then my muscles actually became worse. All my TMS alarm bells are going off, but I don't want to jeopardize my health by doing too much too soon.

    How much time should I give this?
     
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Anna, that's something that you really want to contact a TMS doctor about. Concussions can be serious and we wouldn't want you to get hurt.

    If a TMS doctor isn't possible (sometimes just an email or phone call is enough and sometimes you won't even have to pay as many TMS doctors are quite passionate about the work). In terms of talking to your own doctor, you can let them know that you want to know if your slow healing could be due to stress rather than to physical causes. Taking this approach seems to work quite well with many doctors, because unconsciously many general practice doctors know a great deal about the mind-body connection just from working with patients (something like 60% of all office visits are considered stress related). You could also possibly mention that you overcame fibromyalgia by thinking about it as stress related.

    The two questions I would focus on are:
    • Is it safe to treat this as stress related or do I need to restrict activity?
    • How strange would you consider the timing of this so far?
    Does that help?
     
  3. jcacciat

    jcacciat Peer Supporter

    My son had two football-related concussions before he stopped playing. It is not unusual for the concussive symptoms to last for 3 weeks. Also, after my son's second concussion, the physician did not recognize that his neck had been hyper-extended and the headache symptoms lasted until a therapist did one session on his neck. There is a chance your neck is still reacting.
     
  4. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm very sorry to hear about your accident, Anna. What you sustained was a physical injury to your brain however minor. It will take time to heal and unlike a broken limb professionals can only make an educated guess on timescales based on previous cases. I'm not sure if you are referring to your neck stiffness or the other symptoms but really they are all very much linked. Rest (fatigue is common to all brain injuries), try not to worry and get someone else to do the heavy housework while your concussion heals. Best wishes.
     
  5. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    So here I am again. Thanks for the replies. At the time I couldn't read at all... After 3,5 months in a dark room with increasing head aches I suddenly managed to treat the whiplash as TMS. But now some symptoms are back.

    Until the accident in February I had been mostly pain free from fibromyalgia. If any kind of pain or inconvenience like digestion problems would surface, I would treat it as TMS. Even my severe allergy I treated like this with succes. So, the first thing I thought when I got out of the car after the accident, was: I won’t have TMS again! But I did. Interesting enough I hardly had any muscle pain (which is the main complaint for most whiplash patients). Probably because I had decided this was TMS. But I had an actual concussion and there was definitely something wrong with my eyes. This was – I believe- purely physical.

    The symptoms really scared me though so there was a lot of fear involved. And I had consciously repressed my anger because I feared to harm my head by getting angry. I think the concussion was healed when the dizziness stopped. And the eyes were probably healed with the light therapy. After that the letters were not “dancing” anymore. The horizon was straight again, so to say. But the light sensitivity became worse and worse. And so did the head aches and the pressure on my head. The therapies would work first, but would then make it worse or not have any effect. This was the case during the fibromyalgia as well. ***

    When I listened to the book again on a Friday end of May 2016, I decided to remove all the “Get well” cards at my bedside. I removed all the pain killers out of sight. I removed the extra side table. I decided to make the bedroom a bedroom again. And to be downstairs during the daytime. I decided to lie on my back (which I hadn’t been able to for months) and to not be intimidated by the pressure on my head that I felt, nor by the pain. I woke up the next morning at 6am, the head ache was gone. The pressure on my head as well (it did help that I had found out that the pressure was actual muscle tension of the muscle that covers the head. I found this out a week earlier when I asked the neurologist about it).

    I had hardly slept because I didn’t take a sleeping pill for the first time in months. I went to the grocery shop to get fresh croissants. I talked to my neighbor for 15 minutes, standing in the sun telling her I was recovered, haha! (by then I was still wearing a hat and sunglasses). I made breakfast for me and my husband. I made another walk. We went to the supermarket together. We invited our newly wed friends whose wedding I had missed over for dinner. I bought them flowers. I bought me flowers. We had a blast. What a celebration!!!Of course I overdid it that day in my excitement. Of course my body is still building up, after all those months in bed and in the dark, but I was off medication and basically recovered.

    The eyes were still light sensitive at first, but when I came to a chapter about the cranial nerves in Sarno’s other book the MindBody Prescription I realized that the eye problems were due to TMS as well. This was on the next Thursday. That day I removed all the darkening fabric and cycled for 7 km’s without sunglasses (OK, this was after the sun was down). Of course, again, this was a bit exaggerating, but that is simply my nature. I am grateful that I have a physical therapist that is helping me to build up and that is holding me back from going crazy ;-)

    I want to add that I don’t think that the treatments of the acupuncture, BSR, physiotherapy, regular medication are all placebo. I think everything has been a piece of the puzzle. But ultimately, the TMS approach has helped me, and for that I had to let go of the treatments in order to give my unconscious mind one message: there is nothing structurally wrong with my body.

    BUT now since two weeks the symptoms on my eyes are back. Plus an unpleasant sensation in my head. This was after some very sunny days, while the months before had been relatively grey. Plus, I overworked myself. Wanting to be fully in condition by 1st September I just pushed it, while my body (and mind) were not upto it yet. Plus, I hardly slept due to stubborn insomnia.

    Now I am very much in doubt: I know I have to take rest. But how do I treat the symptoms as TMS in a wise way? I am afraid it will get worse with too much sun... Is it simply a matter of die-hard treating it as TMS and focus on anger, or should I be more careful this time? I wasn't 3 months ago and it served me well. The symptoms had disappeared. Now that I am writing this I am inclined to treat it as TMS and I probably need to write out what I am angry about (I have plenty of anger and reasons for it too)....

    I am open to suggestions!
     
  6. BeWell

    BeWell Well known member

    Hi Anna,

    Sorry to hear your symptoms are lingering.

    Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's favorite driver if you are not a fan, has lingering concussion like symptoms from a wreck months ago and he announced he will miss the rest of the season to get rid of his symptoms and fully heal.

    It was interesting watching him do a television interview recently whereby he mentioned the purpose of the interview was twofold, to inform fans why he is not back driving yet, and that his Doctors wanted him to do things that intensified symptoms, like giving interviews with journalists. This was to strengthen his brain, in his description of his Doctor's recommendations.

    So, he was going out with people and engaging in all activities that brought on symptoms to retrain his brain to not over react.

    Dale Earnhardt, because of his media profile, can do a lot of good bringing attention to this side of medical treatment. The power of self healing.

    Best.
     
    Ellen and Anna1 like this.
  7. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much Bewell, that is a most interesting story!!! I will look it up!!!!! Love your nickname too ;-) You know, when I listen to my Inner Child, it wants to go out, play, have fun, swim in the sea and enjoy seeing friends. It doesn't want to work hard, like it has all her life.

    So, this really speaks to me. Strengthening my brain by playing, getting out. And take the time for this to heal. Because it is my inner child that needs healing. Not my head really.

    Wow, you are giving me so much courage and insight with this reply!!!
     
  8. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Anna, I don't have much to add to the already great advice you've been given. Just want to say that among the many TMS symptoms I've had in the past, light sensitivity was one of them. It came on during a time I was reading a lot at work on a computer and the light from the computer was especially painful. Through journaling I discovered that what I was reading on that computer was triggering painful, repressed emotions. Once I put that together, the light sensitivity decreased and went away. I also recovered from decades of fibromyalgia and migraines around the same time.

    So it might be useful to explore if there is something in your life that you are seeing that is triggering emotional pain or that you are conflicted about.

    Best wishes to you......
     
  9. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Ellen, that is so very helpful. Thank you! It is so important to have examples of the same complaints. Nothing points in the direction of structural problems, because the light sensitivity was as good as gone for months. So, this strengthens my feeling that I should treat it as TMS. I definitely have issues in my life that trigger emotional pain. So i should be brave enough once more to go there. The things that came up recently are probably at the base of all my TMS. So I kept fighting different symptoms not knowing something this big was underneath. And now I have to make space for that old repressed feeling and memories.
     
    Ellen likes this.
  10. Peggy

    Peggy Well known member

    Hi Anna, so sorry to hear about your concussion problems. My daughter had a concussion 3.5 years ago and has struggled with it until recently. She also re-injured it last year, so that didn't help. I tried to talk to her about it being TMS, but that just didn't sink in with her. I really think she was lacking support in the medical community with how to really recover from a concussion. Finally, she was tired of all the waiting and starting contacting some top neurologists. She called a concussion clinic in Utah, and was considering going there, but was quite expensive. A few months later her boyfriend got a concussion and went to the guy who co-founded the "Impact Test" for concussions in Pennsylvania and he got better, it didn't cost as much in comparison to the Utah neurologist and it worked. So she went in February (3 years after her first concussion) and was playing soccer again in the spring season. It was a rapid recovery at that point.

    Here is what she learned from talking to both those clinics. There is new info out there with these neurologists that the brain heals in 11 to 18 days. So it doesn't matter that much if you start to use your brain after that. People writing tests use their brain only 10% more than a concussion person laying on their bed in the dark. The brain is always working anyway. The Impact Test people say that if the brain isn't feeling better, there are six reason, you can look all of those up on their web site. But her 2 reason of the 6 were, stress, and her eyes need re-setting. To reset the eye she got assessed and got some eye exercises. She did them for a little while and was much better and then really, all better. She was not obsessive over the eye exercises and didn't do them for long. With my sore back I did physio twice a day for one hour each time and I can say it didn't get me better. It may have made me 10% better, and that didn't change over time.

    So the tms take away from all of this. Just knowing that the brain can heal after 18 days is huge information when it comes to getting better. Having neurologists support that info is huge. I tried to look up some articles on this, but didn't find any. There could easily be some, but it would take a lot of sorting to find them. And then the neurologist saying one of the prime factors is stress is also good info for the tms er.

    As far as the eyes go, I think stress can impact the eyes, vision, etc. These exercises appeared to be highly effective for her. Could it all be tms? Sure. Did this information help her heal? Yes it did. Healing truly comes from within. But it really helps to have some support, whether that's from the tms community or perhaps the newest neurological information, whatever it takes, as long as it works.
     
    BMC1995 likes this.
  11. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Thank you Peggy! How very interesting that the brain recovers in 11 to 18 days!!! I believe it! I did have a "reset" on my eyes as well, at the optometrist and I believe this was very effective.... This went very quickly, but the symptoms stayed (or came back) until I treated it as TMS. I love that in your story science and TMS come together! Thank you for taking the time to tell the story's of your own or your family's experience! Incredibly helpful!!!!
     
  12. Sarah Jacoba

    Sarah Jacoba Peer Supporter

    would love to know how Anna1 is doing now, since I'm 2.5 months out from a concussion and now having the same wrangling about TMS vs. not. I'm fine with lingering "real" concussion symptoms, which I suspect are at the very least dizziness/lightheadedness and weird dreams/insomnia. But the brutal brain fatigue and other headache like symptoms ....wonder if they are now TMS.
     
  13. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Hi Sarah, I am fully recoverd. Here a piece of what I wrote about my recovery. If you want more information, please let me know.

    RECOVERY FROM WHIPLASH


    The weekend before my mother came over I was very depressed. There were three parties I had to miss that weekend. One of those was the bachelorette of one of my best friends that I hadn’t been able to plan nor attend as her witness. Considering she is pregnant, they are renovating their new house at the same time and her (now) husband have planned and organised a lot around our wedding two years ago, this was very difficult for me. I couldn’t let the anger out because I was afraid it would hurt my head.


    At some point I felt as depressed as I’ve ever felt in my life. I forced myself to make a little walk, but I could feel no joy. I had been crying so much the weeks before and I was afraid to make my head aches worse by crying more. So I held it back. Until I decided to start crying again because it was better than the depression. My god, I feel for anyone who has to go through real depressions… Also, I had been talking less and less because by then even talking made my head ache worse. I was so afraid of the pain.

    When my mum came on Monday I noticed we had so much to talk about. I just couldn’t hold back from it. So we talked and talked and talked…. I decided I’d rather have a head ache than get so depressed again. Then the head aches actually stopped! I had been more active than the weeks before and I had been talking way more as well. And still I felt much better!

    I went to the acupuncturist the Wednesday after and was exhausted afterwards. The next day the head aches were back and I felt awful again. I was puzzled by that. Upto that day the acupuncture had made it better. On Friday our best friends got married. My husband arrived early in the morning from the States and was home later than expected. There was a lot to do, he was exhausted (and jet lagged) and I felt terrible. I had decided though, that I would go to this wedding.

    I felt a voice inside saying: you should stay home. Choose for YOU. But my ratio didn’t think this was an option. I showered, dressed, packed – feeling awful and dreading this day. My eyes were killing me. And the wedding would be in open air. It was a very sunny day. We were already on our way when I was breaking out in sweat. I felt horrible. Sick in my stomach, pounding head ache. I had taken many pain killers, and more sleep medication than was good for me and still hadn’t slept well.

    Then the moment came that I asked my husband to turn around and bring me home. I felt so strongly: this is the moment you have to say yes to yourself. I felt so much peace. I went back to bed. I was so relieved. Also very sad… I listened to the ceremony on the phone. This was beautiful and tough at the same time.

    I spoke to my mum on the phone. She had a message for me. Her best friend had been in touch with her to give me some advice around “whiplash” that came from her sister in law. One of the things she said was: don’t be afraid of moving, don’t be afraid that moving will make it worse. For her this had been key in her recovery. On the one hand, I thought, not the movement, but the light makes it worse and this made it impossible to move, to go outside. I was wearing sunglasses even inside the darkened room. On the other hand, this advice sounded familiar as I recovered completely from severe chronic pain (fibromyalgia) 4 years ago by a method by the American physician John E. Sarno.


    ***He has healed thousands of patients with chronic pain (including whiplash, IBS, etc etc). Patients who show no structural abnormalities in x-rays and MRI and after thorough medical research, but suffer from (mild to severe) health issues nonetheless probably suffer from TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome) His TMS - theory in short:


    The unconcious mind is aware of suppressed anger that wants to surface. At the moment the repressed rage is – for some reason - close to erupting out, the unconscious mind experiences this as a life-threat and creates severe pain by minor oxygen deprivation. (In one Swedish and one German published medical research it’s shown that at the place of pain in a fibromyalgia patient, there is indeed reduced oxygen. This is why movement and massage can give temporary relief from the pain. The reason for the oxygen dept however has not been found in the regular western medical world so far). Mild oxygen deprivation is not dangerous, but can cause extreme pain, and even weakness and other symptoms (read the book for details).

    The pain is created as a defense mechanism – it is a distraction from the seemingly dangerous (culturally unaccepted) emotion. The patient will focus on the pain / weakness / other symptoms, the fear of movement and the fear of the pain and this very effectively distracts the patient from the emotion. ***

    That Friday evening of the wedding I called my husband because I wanted to congratulate my friends. They were at dinner and were obviously having a good time. Somehow the rage came up because of some silly thing my husband said (I don’t even remember what). I became so fucking angry. And afraid of the anger because I didn’t want it to increase the head ache.


    The anger that came up reminded me once more of John E. Sarno’s method and books. I decided to listen to his audio book “Healing Back Pain” once more. During listening I realized that once more I had developed serious TMS.



    Until the accident in February I had been mostly pain free. If any kind of pain or inconvenience like digestion problems would surface, I would treat it as TMS. Even my severe allergy I treated like this with succes. So, the first thing I thought when I got out of the car after the accident, was: I won’t have TMS again! But I did. Interesting enough I hardly had any muscle pain (which is the main complaint for most whiplash patients). Probably because I had decided this was TMS. But I had an actual concussion and there was definitely something wrong with my eyes. This was – I believe- purely physical.

    The symptoms really scared me though so there was a lot of fear involved. And I had consciously repressed my anger because I feared to harm my head by getting angry. I think the concussion was healed when the dizziness stopped. And the eyes were probably healed with the light therapy. After that the letters were not “dancing” anymore. The horizon was straight again, so to say. But the light sensitivity became worse and worse. And so did the head aches and the pressure on my head. The therapies would work first, but would then make it worse or not have any effect. This was the case during the fibromyalgia as well. ***

    When I listened to the book again on that Friday, I decided to remove all the “Get well” cards at my bedside. I removed all the pain killers out of sight. I removed the extra side table. I decided to make the bedroom a bedroom again. And to be downstairs during the daytime. I decided to lie on my back (which I hadn’t been able to for months) and to not be intimidated by the pressure on my head that I felt, nor by the pain. I woke up the next morning at 6am, the head ache was gone. The pressure on my head as well (it did help that I had found out that the pressure was actual muscle tension of the muscle that covers the head. I found this out a week earlier when I asked the neurologist about it).

    I had hardly slept because I didn’t take a sleeping pill for the first time in months. I went to the grocery shop to get fresh croissants. I talked to my neighbour for 15 minutes, standing in the sun telling her I was recovered, haha! (by then I was still wearing a hat and sunglasses). I made breakfast for me and my husband. I made another walk. We went to the supermarket together. We invited our newly wed friends over for dinner. I bought them flowers. I bought me flowers. We had a blast. What a celebration!!!Of course I overdid it that day in my excitement. Of course my body is still building up even now, after all those months in bed and in the dark, but I am off medication now and am basically recovered.

    The eyes were still light sensitive at first, but when I came to a chapter about the cranial nerves in Sarno’s other book the MindBody Prescription I realized that the eye problems were due to TMS as well. This was on the next Thursday. That day I removed all the darkening fabric and cycled for 7 km’s without sunglasses (OK, this was after the sun was down). Of course, again, this was a bit exaggerating, but that is simply my nature. I am grateful that I have a physical therapist that is helping me to build up and that is holding me back from going crazy ;-)

    I want to add that I don’t think that the treatments of the acupuncture, BSR, physiotherapy, regular medication are all placebo. I think everything has been a piece of the puzzle. But ultimately, the TMS approach has helped me, and for that I had to let go of the treatments in order to give my unconscious mind one message: there is nothing structurally wrong with my body.


    I hope this will help some of you dealing with your own physical problems.
     
  14. Sarah Jacoba

    Sarah Jacoba Peer Supporter

    thanks for writing me back so fast, very encouraging to know that you are heard, and this is an active dialogue of people helping each other!!
     
  15. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Sarah, I really hope this will help you!! Please, let us know what happens for you!
     
  16. Sarah Jacoba

    Sarah Jacoba Peer Supporter

    what is tough in this situation is I did have an actual injury (staples in my scalp are proof of that). I think I may have true lingering concussion symptoms, like a slight sense of dizziness. but what's interesting is that dizziness doesnt by itself cause me pain or ruin my days. just makes me feel funny. similarly I'm having very vivid dreams and insomnia which are known concussion recovery symptoms.

    What is ruining my days is a massive sense of mental fatigue. for a time it was following a somewhat more logical pattern... long days at work causing increasing pain. however, yesterday, after two relaxing days at home, I felt that way in the first 10 minutes of work. that sent up an alarm in my head. I've been doing everything I can to recover...eat well, exercise daily, minimize medication, yoga stretches. I felt bad last Friday at work so spent the weekend "doing everything right." but couldnt make it a half hour into my work day. when I went back to work 2 months ago, I felt light headed when I talked, and a lot of forehead pressure after work, but I actually didnt feel this same constant scary brain fatigue that I now feel.

    I didnt lose consciousness when I hit my head and had a clear CAT scan 9 days after. but now of course I'm worrying that something dramatic has changed since then to explain my brain's increasing seeming lack of resiliency.

    I also lost my medical insurance through a bureaucratic technicality last week, so am stressed about medical bills and options.
     
  17. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Sarah, I definitely had an actual injury as well. What really gave me courage to believe that it turned into TMS was the realization that the biggest bone of your body heals completely within 6 weeks and actually is stronger afterwards. This gave me courage to believe that my brain and nerves should have been healed after all that time... and that the symptoms, however severe they were, had to be TMS. The fact that one by one they disappeared when I radically started to live normally again, was proof.
     
  18. Sarah Jacoba

    Sarah Jacoba Peer Supporter

    can you lay out for me all the symptoms you had post concussion, and how long they took to fade with the TMS approach once you applied it? I know from above they included photo sensitivity, and that you had some reoccurrences that made you doubt....

    currently I have some mild lightheaded / dizziness most of the time, mild headaches, but alot of burning kind of mental fatigue...hard to describe. plus difficulty staying asleep at night.
     

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