Broken #brain symptoms, brain repair, #concussion and balance, healing the vagus nerve… and sleep

retrain-brainMore search queries… more ideas…

  • broken brain symptoms – First, let me say that a brain doesn’t necessarily stay broken. Brains are naturally built to recover and change and heal. They don’t always lose functionality 100% (though sometimes they do), but they actually recruit other areas of the brain to take over, when a portion is damaged. Take, for example, the elderly gentleman discussed in The Brain that Changes Itself – 97% of the nerves that controlled movement were destroyed by a stroke. And yet, he relearned how to not only move, but be fully functional with normal activities. He died 7 years after his stroke of a heart attack while mountain climbing at 9,000 feet. When he had a stroke, his brain was broken. When he was climbing in the mountains, his brain was technically still broken, but it had learned how to do the things it “wasn’t supposed to know” how to do — using its own power. That’s a power we all have. Symptoms of a concussion or TBI are many and varied. I counted 84 of them once upon a time. Knowing what the symptoms are is a first step — but it should never be the last. It’s just a place to start learning and growing, so you can overcome them.
  • does the brain repair itself after drug use – It can, and it does. I have a number of friends who were into some pretty heavy drug use, back in the day. Unless you know what to look for, you’d never guess they have that history. Of course, there are some neurological issues they have, and some of them don’t seem too bright, but they’re no worse off than a lot of regular people walking around. Like everyone else, they have their strengths and weaknesses. The bottom line is, although some of them really messed themselves up, their brains recovered. And they got their lives back.
  • concussion and dysequilibriumBalance issues after concussion are common. The nerves in the neck can be impacted by a concussion. Remember, you can get a concussion from a body contact that quickly rotates or accelerates/decelerates the skull, and that will involve the neck. You can also injure your cerebellum, which is the part of the brain at the base that controls movement. Or you can have problems with your inner ear. I’ve had balance/dysequilibrium problems for many years. They get worse when I’m tired. One of the problems is that balance issues can make you more susceptible to another fall or injury. I can see two reasons for this:
    • First, it’s literally more difficult to keep upright. So, you’re off balance and at higher risk for falling or crashing into something.
    • Second, it’s exhausting to constantly deal with balance problems, and fatigue makes everything worse, hence making you even more vulnerable.

Balance issues are The Big Issue I’m dealing with, these days. It’s why I’m seeing a new neurologist — to get help with balance problems. Who knows what they’ll find, but my focus is on my dysequilibrium and lightheadedness. The last fall nearly took me out. If I can prevent that — or at least mitigate the dangers — I’m all in.

  • how i healed my vagus nerve – A friend of mine had their vagus nerve severed in a medical procedure that was performed many years ago. I think perhaps we know better now, and that doesn’t happen. But maybe it still does. The enteric nervous system — the “gut brain” — has its own neurons, and it’s closely tied in with the vagus nerve. So, an injury to the vagus nerve is another sort of brain injury. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and it does a bunch of very cool things, including stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system — the rest-and-digest part of our system that calms us down after fight-flight and helps us feel normal and human again. Working well with your vagus nerve is important. It’s a helpful ally that I’ve written about here: Love your vagus nerve and here What happens in vagus never stays in vagus
  • sleepmasks are brilliant – Why yes, they certainly are. I use one when I take naps during the day, because my light-blocking curtains aren’t able to cover every angle and corner of my windows. I didn’t read the instructions carefully enough, when I hung them, so the curtain rods are not wide enough. That’ll learn me… impulse control issues strike again. I also use sleep masks when I fly and need to sleep. They tell the world that I’m checking out, and the flight attendants don’t wake me up to feed me peanuts. The more tired I am, the more sensitive to light and noise I am, so a sleep mask and earplugs are indispensable helpers. They keep me sane. And that’s good for everyone.
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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

4 thoughts on “Broken #brain symptoms, brain repair, #concussion and balance, healing the vagus nerve… and sleep”

  1. Balance issues can also be due to visual perception issues. Visual perception is more than seeing clearly in a 20/20 manner as it requires integration of the senses to process and organize input, and also includes movement and not just balance within a stationary position.

    In our experience, proprioceptivrnabd balance therapy and retraining from a physical therapist (for months) did not have the same impact on keeping my kid safe from misspelling off a curve, walking into a door frame, or being aware that an incoming object was flying toward her as vision therapy did. It is so expensive though and it wasn’t covered by insurance. By following twitter searches about vision therapy and concussion or brain injury or TBi, I am seeing it start to gain momentum and recognition as an important part of the healing and recovery process. Maybe insurance will be more likely to cover it in the future if there are studies that show it is more likely to help a person return to school or work and lessens lost productivity (due to less migraines and less sensory processing problems). In the meantime, those who are interested in trying to pursue some home VT activities might want to look up visual therapy on YouTube videos or even on Pinterest, where whole boards are dedicated to information gathered from the Internet (even some VT providers promote the activities there so it is not just laypeople collecting what interests them, but providers trying to organize and provide relevant info for consumers).

    Vision therapy and neurofeedback contributed to some of the most profound changes in my daughter’s comfort as well as retraining to successfully complete tasks. She’s able to interact with others and her desired tasks she wants to complete more successfully and fully when her symptoms aren’t flared and the VT especially made a difference in changing the symptom response and the duration she can participate and engage with over stimulating environments before approaching her limits and a forced rest.

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