Epilepsy Talk

Concussions: Helping Your Brain Heal | May 24, 2011

It’s a conundrum. Some people get epilepsy / seizures from concussion-related accidents. And many people with epilepsy have concussions as a result of their condition.

Although I didn’t “get” my epilepsy from a fall or a concussion, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them. In fact, recently, I had a real doozy. And I’m sure you’re no stranger to concussions either.

Usually the doc’s attitude is “wait and see.” (Easy for them to say!)

But recently, I read about some wonderful research in Bottom Line’s Daily Health News (a terrific daily newsletter that I both wrote for and receive daily.)

The new line of thought is that after a concussion, the brain needs “stimulus deprivation” for a week (basically, total brain rest — no computer, no music, not even lying on the couch and watching TV) in order to recover fully.  And obviously, you need plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day.

Another surprising piece of advice is to get some food in your stomach right away. (Ugh! I was puking my brains out!)

According to research, making sure patients get at least 50% of their usual calorie intake within 24 hours — including a higher-than-usual amount of protein, should be continued for two weeks — and is vital to healing.

Other natural ways you can help yourself is with antioxidants. Some recommended sources are blueberries (BIG on natural antioxidants) and Vitamin C combined with small amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium – preferably in a powdered form to help aid absorption. Mixing it with orange juice makes it more palatable.

Also…

Keep yourself hydrated with plenty of water.

Take lots of fish oil. (As long as there’s no bleeding in your brain involved.) The recommended amount is up to 4 grams of high potency fish oil from the time of the concussion and then for a week afterwards. (I wish I had known that.) This will help decrease brain inflammation and with it the fogginess, memory loss and headaches that are often a part of concussion.

The good news is that symptoms usually go away entirely within three weeks, as long as you don’t fall again. (A very good case for helmets for those in most danger of falling.)

So the next time I hit the bricks (because I know there’s going to be a “next time”), I think I’ll try to follow this advice to the letter.

Perhaps you should too…

Resources:

www.bottomlinepublishing.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concussion

http://www.ehow.co.uk/way_5584256_natural-way-treat-seizures.html

http://sacramento.injuryboard.com/head-and-brain-injuries/how-to-heal-from-a-concussion.aspx?googleid=207198


20 Comments »

  1. Phylis, thank you for this research. I did not know a lot of these things to heal a concossion. I have had concussions in the past.

    I can use this information the next time.

    Like

    Comment by ruth brown — May 24, 2011 @ 6:10 PM

  2. My daughter and other players in soccer have had concussions from soccer. They do fine. They have broken legs and arms etc. My daughter had special dentistry to save teeth and we are praying they will stay. It is a wait and see.

    I lot of us have had concussions. It is the proceedure post-concussion that has changed!
    Thank you!

    Like

    Comment by Toni Robison — May 24, 2011 @ 6:17 PM

    • I think it depends on the impact of the hit.

      Of all the many times I’ve fallen down, I’ve rarely had a concussion…except when I fell off a horse and when I tripped / fell and hit the bricks 3 weeks ago.

      But boy, when they happen, it’s a misery for me.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 24, 2011 @ 6:48 PM

  3. I’ve not had a concussion, but have been told that it takes me a good month to return to normal (whatever that is!) after a seizure. I’m usually in the hospital for three days, but then have to do the sleep/rest thing for a solid month before I look like I did pre-seizure.

    Like

    Comment by Maggie — May 24, 2011 @ 10:27 PM

  4. Well the concussion was almost exactly a month ago…and I’ve hardly been resting, to say the least.

    Although I was in bed for 3 days, because I couldn’t move. (Not only did I hit the bricks and have a concussion, I also had a black eye, nose that was scratched on the outside and then continuously bleeding from the inside, and a fat lip. So, I guess they didn’t help much.)

    Anyway, I still feel crummy. And I also have a target on my chest. So maybe it’s Lyme’s disease? Who knows.

    I’m going for a short show-and-tell at the doc’s on Thursday. Just to see if it’s Lyme’s or the concussion that is the culprit. 😦

    Let the pity party begin!

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 24, 2011 @ 11:39 PM

  5. Phylis you need to take it easy for a few days and rest. You yourself said that is one of the musts for concussions.

    What is a target?

    I hope you get better.

    Like

    Comment by ruth brown — May 25, 2011 @ 2:04 AM

    • I can’t rest. It’s Arthur’s 60th birthday and I’m throwing a surprise party for him.

      A “target” is something that surrounds a deer tick bite, often an indication of the bite itself.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 25, 2011 @ 1:12 PM

  6. I was wondering about “target” too.

    Please take good care of yourself, and rest.

    Like

    Comment by Maggie — May 25, 2011 @ 4:00 AM

  7. Jeez, Lady. Ya got all this Info that you spent time Reading & can ‘Heal Thyself’ & do you Do IT? Stubborn Woman! 😉 Congrats to Hubby on his B’Day. I turn 60 in August. 🙂

    I was told about my head blow by my daughter. She witnessed it when she was 5. It wasn’t caused by a seizure. But, it did Trigger a seizure. The First Gran Mal/Tonic Clonic, since Infancy/toddler. 😦 Maybe if I had known all this 30+ Yrs ago, I could have avoided future ‘episodes’. Then, again, maybe not. It’s in the past. The damage is/was done. I know several mths after the incident, following a second T/C, a CT Scan was done & showed a ‘shadow on the brain’. I am assuming it was the ‘bruised’ spot on my brain. Future MRI’s were clear. The bruise healed, but, seizures continued.

    I am Thankful that unlike you & others’ that my seizures are under control. I dread the day my meds are no longer Effective. And I know that day is getting closer. Call it a Gut Feeling. Instinct. Awareness of the possibility. But, no matter, I will not let EP rule. And I’m not as naive as I was 30+ yrs ago. And I Will wear a Helmet, if need be. 🙂

    Love Candi

    Like

    Comment by candi — May 26, 2011 @ 2:22 PM

    • Candi, thanks for your good wishes. Arthur’s surprise party was a roaring success.

      As for your head blow, you might be interested in reading “SEIZURES AND HEAD INJURY” at

      http://www.braininjury.com/seizuresandheadinjury.html

      And just to get more depressed about drugs losing their effectiveness, you can read this article (which you’ve probably already read) from Science Daily:

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060911111533.htm

      All of that being said, when I was at the F.A.C.E.S conference in NYC last month, the doc doing the closing speech said researchers were looking at the molecular structure of some 3rd generation drugs to make them MORE effective, with fewer side effects. So there IS hope on the horizon!

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 26, 2011 @ 2:58 PM

  8. Hi Phylis, I have seen /read about the new drugs, too. Ain’t sure where. 🙂 Anyway, seems ALL the clinical trials in other Countries & ours are on the ‘ball’. 🙂 And Research is ongoing in All areas. I qualified for phone survey Ep Research. 🙂 Which gives me a clue of what Researchers are interested in concerning EP & meds. I didn’t qualify for the last survey. I have no bladder issues, so far. 🙂 Bummer! $100 would have been Well Spent. 🙂

    As for Head Blow Info & Drug Info, well, I’m well Ahead of you there. 🙂 I’ve read sooo much, Researching Mine & Others’ Head Traumas. And came across the Science Daily as a Fav site YRS ago. 🙂 Back when they First Published it in 2006. 🙂 I don’t let it Depress me. The med merrygoround, if/when need be, is just that. A Ride that will only stop after I find a Mount (med) I Like & that Likes Me. 🙂 But, Thank You for Posting them links. Our Friends Mite find the Info useful now or in the future. Definitely Recommended Reading! 🙂
    Glad you & Arthur Enjoyed His Special Day. Hugs to both of you!

    Love Candi

    Love Candi

    Like

    Comment by candi — May 26, 2011 @ 3:53 PM

  9. […] far as head injuries, you might find this article interesting: Concussions: Helping Your Brain Heal https://epilepsytalk.com/2011/05/24/c…ur-brain-heal/ As far as living in death and dying in life, I know all about it. But don't be seduced. There are […]

    Like

    Pingback by Dilantin Blues - Epilepsy Forum — July 3, 2012 @ 5:43 PM

  10. PhylisFJ: I LIVE for naps and LIVE for deep sleep. I’d rather dream, than be Queen of the May. (But not the Q of England.) (Too much work and my hats would be so hot!) The neuro has been giving me one month of the three sleep meds that exist: Ambien, Halcyon and Restoril. One month on one of them, then change, as they stop working. I also use small amounts of codeine sulfate for 5 squished vertebrae from one of the falls. I know spinal surgery exists, but the spine has way too many nerves in it that could send me to a wheel chair existence, and I’ve already been limited too many times.

    Like

    Comment by meesher — July 3, 2012 @ 6:07 PM

  11. A VERY wise (older) friend of mine said: “A nap is a brief vacation.”

    Isn’t that true!

    The number of sleep meds and then the resistance to them worries me alot.

    As for spinal surgery, it ruined my father’s life.

    And even though Arthur is incapacitated by serious neuropathy from his butt through his toes (from some idiopathic autoimmune disease that I can’t even remember, no less spell the name of) both of us agree, surgery is a no-go.

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 3, 2012 @ 6:57 PM

  12. Well, this my shock a few of you, but a lot of my concussions were as a result of banging my own head (the back of it) against walls, in frustration at my psychiatrist back in the 70’s and 80’s’ constantly telling me that I had to “deal with my issues in therapy” as the only way I could “get better” when I so d–n depresssed that I couldn’t bear to live anymore. As the years rolled by and I kept working at my computer job (logic in programming and solving users’ problems with reports (no online stuff back then) and the logic was the fun part for me), I had 6 full months of paid sick leave a year and needed most of it every year in those years. Until they insisted that I stop working and go into “long term hospitalization” either back east in MacLeans (where Girl, Interrupted was filmed, or a hospital in L.A. or stay at home where my daughter could viisit everuy day. I chose staying where I was living, but in the hospital — for a YEAR!! And I was never given anti-depressants even though many other patients got them and got better. I trusted my doctor, believing in his judgement always, even though there were even some staff people who quietly advised me to get another doctor. He could do no wrong, to me. … Finally was transferred to a locked unit in another town, and another doctor who put me on anti-depressants right away. I weighed 95 lbs. when I went there (I didn’t think I even deserved to eat). Suddenly the trees were green! and nature was so terribly beautiful, and the food there was so delicious, and people so friendly. Well then I was finally able to use the theray. …. Many years went by with me steadily getting well and enjoying life as much as I could. … Leaping to the present, after the hospitalization in July for six days in the 24/7 seizure observation unit and being taken off the toxic anti-seizure med (Keppra) and the Trileptal which has never given me any side effects, ,and all the stress of that six days; I had some wonderful spiritual experiences during that time, but still had to get rid of the Keppra in my system for another month…. Now I am more whole and well than I’ve ever been in my life. I am free from the medicinal cloud I was in with a coupleof my meds I had taken for decades, and am now not even on anti-depressants anymore!! I am WELL, except of course for NES (No, not PNES, Just NES) . Now there was that one seizure last summer that was recorded on the EEG in the ER while I was having a seizure, that did have electrographic recording while it was happening, so they are calling me NES with possible co-morbid epilepsy. But I feel great!! Still taking the trileptal, and the Klonipin (0.75 BID) for anxiety but am going to get off that too someday, very slowly and with my psychiatrist. So wonderful. And after the abuse of my childhood and going through the DID and coming out the other side of that after 60 years, now 72 and finally able to really live my life, with gratitude and able to use my mind and heart to help myself and others. So much to learn, and be and do. Life is so good. God is so good. I am so grateful.,, Oh, the MRI’s all show a lot of hemosiderrosis on my brain which is old blood, perhaps from all the head banging. I also had 50 electro shock treatments, 47 of which I was not put to sleep for (I was 18 and not about to go along with that torture so fought them so hard they had to hold me down for them), plus 82 insulin comas (given back then, no idea what if any, lasting effect they had on me, certainly didn’t help me then. I just had to live until I could trust a therapist and be mature enough to let go enough to let the “littles” out to express what they knew about my past and to heal from all the painful memories (via excellent therapy with EMDR done by someone who had gotten advanced training in it with Dr. Shapiro and was then supervised in using it with me, and it worked!! So much to be thankful for, and I am. … Love to you all!!

    Like

    Comment by MaryBeth — August 26, 2013 @ 6:33 AM

  13. Well MaryBeth,

    I think some of your horror story has to do with the dark ages.

    I’m even surprised you had a psychiatrist back then. Was he/she Freudian?

    If so, I wouldn’t have even bothered with banging my head against the wall.

    I think I would have just ended my own misery, myself, thank you very much. (My step mother was a Freudian.)

    What happened between then and work and the recommended lock-down?

    What were the insulin comas all about? Were you deprived meds?

    I’ve heard too many stores — past and present — about lock-downs and electroshock therapy (it’s back in style) and “treatments” that just lead to suicide in the lockdowns.

    Of course, your doctor(s) were part of the problem. I want to scream: “WHY DIDN’T YOU GET ANOTHER DOC?”

    But there were so many places, too many docs. It was more like luck of the draw. And you weren’t very lucky.

    And I don’t know if you had enough independence at the time to be that resourceful.

    I’m glad you found EDMR. It did a world of good for a friend of mine who had TBI after brain surgery.

    (And had a past you’d rather forget.)

    WELCOME TO THE WORLD MARYBETH!

    You’re obviously a survivor and deserve all the beauty and happiness the world can offer.

    Embrace it and stay happy.

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 26, 2013 @ 8:29 AM

  14. You don’t have to be hit in the head to have a concussion. A jerk of the head back and forth will cause a concussion. My daughter hit her chin on concrete bouncing her head and received a concussion.

    Like

    Comment by Melissa Bryan — June 16, 2017 @ 6:39 PM


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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