The world is still spinning

I found this site whilst googling effects of concussion as I fell off my horse three weeks ago whilst show jumping and was knocked unconcious for about 1 minute as well as hurting my back. I was wearing a riding hat but no body protector (stupidly).

CT scans showed no damage to brain or permanent damage to my back thankfully and I was advised I would recover from the concussion over 2 - 3 weeks (dizzyness, the world spinning, fractured memory, difficulty focusing etc.)

Today is three weeks later and I find I am still suffering bouts of dizzyness when I look up, loo down, get up quickly etc. The world seems to roll over if I lie down. I seem to be suffering minor co-ordination issues such as typing - I get the letters in the wrong order if I go too quick. I struggle to remember words I know and sometimes can't walk in a straight line. Things are definately better than they were but I am shocked that I am still so affected by this. I assumed I would be back to normal by now.

I have started riding again without any apparent side effects. I did do an exercise class a few days ago and was amazed how much it set me back. I also find I am worse when tired.

I am a 50 year old woman - am I expecting too much to be over this by now? Is it normal to still be suffering these issues and if so what should I be doing to help the process as I received no advice at all from the doctors in A&E.

Thank you in anticipation of your advice :)

13 Replies

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  • doody go back to your gp concussion is being taken very seriously these days. explain your symptoms and he should also have the result of your ct scan.

    if youre still not happy ask to be referred to a neurologist who will arrange for you to have a mri scan.

    good luck

    steve

  • Thank you for your advice. This is really appreciated x

  • Hi Doodypig

    I'm suffering from post concussion syndrome and had the same symptoms and a few more! I'm 5 months on from my fall, I hit the back of my head! I didn't pass out but I did collapse a few days later, same as you my scan was clear. I'm getting better just suffering from headaches and slight dizziness if I over do it.

    All you can do is rest, eat well and you will recover.. Headway have some good fact sheets on PCS to help you understand what your going through.

    Wishing all the best

    Louise

  • Thank you and I hope you are feeling 100% soon. It is nice to feel I am not on my own with this x

  • Hi Doody, Be interesting to know if it was frontal lobe concussion because that would explain some of the symptoms your having. I had My MX accident last May and hit the rear of my head but because the brain is in liquid it shunted the brain forward and I got bleeds on the frontal lobe. Not good. As Steve said get back to your GP or consultant and tell them whats happening. Nick

  • Thank you. I have no idea of whereI hit my head as I landed on my head but my crash helmet was cracked at the back so I assume back of my head. Unfortunately no one witnessed my fall - just found me unconcious.

  • Hi,

    So sorry to hear about your accident. The symptoms you describe are very common to the type of injury you sustained. I've had a lot of help with similar symptoms from a vestibular specialist and specialist physio. My dizziness is permanent but has been vastly improved from how it was when I couldn't walk for many months without falling over (following an accident/head injury). I still have the rolling / falling through space feeling, especially when lying down/sitting up/standing up, but it's much more manageable now - I don't fall right over any more - just a bit wobbly. Go back to the G.P. And ask for a referral to a vestibular specialist and neurologist. Hope you get sorted out soon - but time also improves PCS. Wishing you all the best. x

  • Hi and welcome,

    You have discovered one of the things as you get older - you don't bounce as well as you used to when you hit the ground :-) and sadly you don't heal as quickly as a teenager.

    One of the things that is so wrong with any head injury is setting an expectation on healing, there are so many factors to come into play - location of impact, force, immediate treatment, age etc. Your doctor should have known better.

    At the moment your brain is very sensitive almost like it is bruised, if you imagine you had a bruise on your bottom at the moment, getting on a horse bumping up and down on the saddle isn't going to make it better, the same thing is happening with your brain inside your head when you are riding. So for a while, I would strenuously suggest not getting on a horse because of the bruising and secondly for what they call "second impact syndrome". Second impact syndrome is where you get a second concussion shortly after the first one. The shorter the distance between concussions the higher the risk of more damage. Yours has been a few weeks less risk but you are risking extending your recovery time if you get another concussion.

    Your dizziness isn't necessarily related to any damage to the brain, when you roll over and the room spins, it is probably BPPV. BPPV is where the crystals within the inner ear become misaligned. It is normally a simple process to correct it with a manipulative maneuver like Epley or Semont which a physio or ENT doctor can do.

    Rest is the main way the head can recover, no shaking, no bumping no strenuous activity.

    Over the next few months you may symptoms come and go, things get better and things get worse - that is sadly the way it is

    All the best

  • I fell off my husband's horse backwards aged 26 (I probably blacked out) and cracked the back of my jockey crash cap. Like you no-one saw what happened. I was out for three days but did not have your dizziness. Every head injury is unique and scans are only really useful if they identify major things like bleeds, tumours or shrinkage. But this is early days for you and your brain will still be very busy repairing and the point made above about avoiding secondary injury is very important!

    I did get back in the saddle 12 months later and had one fall landing on my feet but quite heavily and saw double for two days! After that I decided not to risk riding again - we now have lots of horses but my husband and young people do the riding... I would urge you to take it slowly and listen to what your brain wants and comply. It is amazing what it can do but after a major injury some things will not return to how they were pre trauma and life takes a different direction. Do keep in touch with others who have experience - the internet is fantastic and I wish I had had this 25 years ago! All the best.

  • I too fell off my horse and managed to hit the back of my head and split my hat (I'm not convinced the horse didn't stand on me) Anyway I wasn't unconscious, but very confused so was taken to hospital, had a ct scan, which showed a small bleed to the back of my head. You mentioned a ct scan but to your back, I presume they scanned your head too. I thought I'd be back to normal quickly after being discharged from hospital after 5 days with a 2 week sick note and little advice. It took me 2 months to get back to work the first time, then I ended up off again for another 2 months and a much slower phased return. As people have said symptoms are different for different people, I still struggle with sleep, fatigue and concentration. If I'm tired too much noise still bothers me. But of course I got back on my horse :-)

    Sue

  • Also meant to say, check out the headway publications, they give great advice and if you feel the need ring the helpline.

    Sue

  • Hi Doody. I agree with Sospan about giving your injury time to fully heal.

    Concussion has been underestimated as a prolonged issue 'til fairly recently ; even riding safely might exacerbate the bruising of your brain owing to the rocking movement of your brain inside your skull (Contra-coup when rocked back and forth against the bone of the skull).

    So please consider the possible long term damage before re-mounting ; a break from riding of a few months might be what your brain needs for a safe return to normality.

    Best wishes, Cat x

  • Can't help with the PCS (sorry!) although dizziness is a frequent companion at times and you have my sympathy. Physio, as another has said, will help. Anyway, a warm welcome here.👋

    I smiled wryly as I read your post. That was me some years ago after I first collapsed at work with a sudden onset brain condition (later labelled as ME- perhaps...but that's another story) - getting up, going back to work within weeks, even though nothing in my body would work right at all, just keeping on keeping on - until eventually i found myself being barred at the office door by a concerned colleague...

    Fast forward 6 years and when I had my brain surgery 2 months ago everyone around me was full of warnings about how I was not to do too much, how I needed to take time to recover, how I needed to look after myself...they looked at me in disbelief when I agreed with them, and have been almost shellshocked as I have minimised my activity, restricted what I have been doing, said 'no' politely but firmly when necessary, rested when I need to, gone to bed early when I need to over these last 8 weeks...

    It has been a long time coming, my learning of that lesson, but the truth is that when your brain is hurt it needs rest, it needs time; it is an unseen injury with unknown consequences that are hard to second guess. There is only one solid fact: that pushing it will not help to fix it.

    And because it is the control panel for the whole of you, if you don't give it that rest and time you will find all sorts of other systems in your body (including your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems that regulate key and autonomous functions such as balance, breathing, blood pressure) going a bit heywire. Don't underestimate how many different parts of your body your brain can make go wobbly!

    So please, please spare yourself the time that will be wasted by fighting against it and being set back. Imagine (if it helps) that when you fell off your horse you didn't bump your head (sounds so minor, doesn't it?), you broke your thigh bone. Had that been the case you would not be running off to an exercise class and leaping around all over the place. You would not be getting back on the horse and bumping along, either literally or metaphorically - and there is a good reason for that: you would want your visible injury to have the optimum chance of healing. (Plus there is the obvious reason that you would find it rather hard to do 😀).

    It is really hard, when you feel relatively OK, but it is so important to try and accord this invisible injury - for you have broken your brain - the same respect you would that broken bone. Bones are simple things and they fix themselves pretty well usually. Your brain is the most complex and precious organ you have. It will try very hard to fix itself, working to overcome even the most serious damage. Best thing you can do though is give it a hand....

    And this might just be me, not being a great fan of the noble beasts tbh since one decided to take a chunk out of me as a child, but I can't imagine a worse place to be when the world is spinning, I am dizzy and have lost my visual focus than on top of a horse. As I say I wouldn't be all that delighted to be atop a horse in any event, but dizzy, spinning and unfocussed - and with an already bruised brain to boot...Sorry my dear but....are you quite bonkers?!!

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