Recovering from a Concussion: What to Expect

Recovering from a Concussion: What to Expect

If you recently experienced a concussion, you are probably going through a lot of the same things that Stephen went through. Understanding what to expect during the recovery process from this kind of traumatic brain injury can help. In this video, Stephen shares his wisdom as someone who is well into his recovery from a vestibular concussion.

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Stephen Haslam 

So you have a concussion, and maybe you’re dizzy. Let me tell you a few things you might expect.

Hi, my name is Steven Haslam, I am not a health care provider, I am a concussion patient. And I’m going to talk with you about some of the things you might be expecting while recovering from a concussion. If you have a concussion, and you’re like me, you will probably want your doctors and therapists to tell you exactly what your injury is. What is causing your symptoms, what you need to do to get well, of course, how long this will take. And by the way, you’re supposed to understand all of this while you have a concussion, and not be thinking straight all the time. I’m sorry to tell you, that’s not all going to happen right away. doctors and therapists will probably tell you, each person’s brain is unique. That should make you feel good, you’re unique. They’ll say each concussion is unique. They may tell you, Other symptoms may emerge later. And you may start to wonder how bad could this get? And at a certain point, you may start to wonder why are they not being clear with you or you may think they’re not really sure what they’re doing. Actually, they do do what they’re doing. But toward the beginning of the process, they do not have enough information yet, to give you the certainty that you want. In my experience, I expected to go through a series of examinations, get a diagnosis, have a treatment plan laid out and then make progress according to the plan. But I learned that this examination and diagnosis and treatment plan is actually an ongoing process. It’s not an event. My health care professionals had to work together with me over a period of time to observe my body and my behaviors and how they responded to certain activities and therapies. So that they would know how much to give me that would not be too much, but would challenge my brain to heal at a rate that it could handle, not at a rate my conscious mind would prefer. And there was a difference between those two. Here’s an example, when asked how much on a scale of zero to 10, I was triggered by noise I checked zero. So we can decide, I didn’t notice anything about noise. But later, I became aware that in group situations when lots of people were talking and there was background noise, or someone would not stop talking at me, my symptoms would flare, and I would just shut down. And I realized that 1.0 That was noise. When I told this to my concussion vestibular balance therapist, while she was having me do a balance and cognitive exercise, she turned on loud music. I wasn’t expecting that and my whole body reacted violently. We had to stop and check my blood pressure, the blood pressure rose to 182 over 111. That confirmed I was triggered by noise. But the good thing was that she was then able to outline a series of activities that I could go through out my regular day to simulate this challenge, but measured in ways that would help me improve rather than exacerbating the problem. So I had to learn to be more aware of my reactions to situations that I had ever been. I had to learn to be able to communicate my reactions and symptoms to my therapist and doctor. And they had to use that information to develop activities that I could practice to make progress at the pace my brain could handle is an ongoing process. The whole evaluation, diagnosis, treatment plan and progress is an ongoing process but that’s a good thing. I mean, you will get there. It will just take its own time if you work with your health care providers and I wish you good luck with your healing process.