Weight Lifting after head trauma (6 months on)

Hi All,

Here's my question- although not diagnosed with TBI (no brain injury detected following 2 MRIs in the last 6 months since the accident), would it be advisable for me to get back into the world of weight lifting? I feel extremely anxious about the prospects of me lifting weights after all these months. I am frightened at the prospect of fainting or of a intracranial hemorrhage being triggered as a result of the physical exercise.

Are there any medical tests that I would ideally need to do prior to touching the weights? I would highly appreciate your help (especially from men who had head trauma in the past and who successfully got back into gym training- particularly lifting- please also state how long since the accident until you were confident to go back to the gym).

Many thanks,

Alex

10 Replies

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  • Since you haven't had a brain injury, I see there being no problem with you getting back into weight lifting if you did that before your accident. Just take it easy and build up gradually for the first couple weeks more for your confidence than anything. Take the usual precautions, if you're not confident you can perform a movement with good form then stop and reduce the weight until you're able to complete a full set and make use of a spotter if you're still unsure.

    There's no need to be scared, there's no extra risk from taking exercise, but make sure you warm up properly for 10-20 mins before weight lifting as it's easier to injure cold muscles. Just take common sense and don't go overboard. See your GP if you're still unsure.

  • I would agree with Barny. As you don't have a brain injury or anything else that could cause weakness, such as an unruptured aneurysm, then you are at no more risk of danger through weightlifting than average Joe. If you were, your doctors would have advised you - I was told very early on when my aneurysm was first detected not to lift anything heavy such as heavy pans and shopping.

    If you have no risk factors such as an aneurysm, and no-one has given you such advice regarding lifting, then there is no need to be concerned about haemorrhage from physical activity. If there was a risk of spontaneous haemorrhage from lifting in healthy people, no-one would ever do any shopping or move furniture...it is clearly not an issue. You have been given the all-clear by your doctors after 2 MRIs so I think you can rest assured that after your accident you remain fully healthy. Lucky you!

    As your anxiety continues to spill out and affect areas of your life in this way a course of CBT would probably prove beneficial though. Your GP can refer you for 12 weeks therapy on the NHS. I suggest you give it a go.

  • I am currently going through CBT, the thing is two neurologists advised me since september-October sort of time to consider boxing in order to tackle my anxiety, I shall take it one step at a time and see how it goes. In the recent months I've started experiencing blood in sputum as if blood was leaking at the back of my throat-had a nasal scope in october and this didn't find any polyps, some doctors think it's from the gums whereas the ENT specialist advised another CT scan in order to see if the frontal bone fractured healed well (as this was left to heal on its own at the time). The last MRI from mid November didn't detect any current or past bleeding as far as the brain is concerned so the docs advised it may be an ENT issue, possibly sinusits? I am very concerned about this on and off post nasal drip I experience at the back of my throat, as for many weeks I ve ben under the impression it could be an intracranial bleeding and it gets triggered after I have spent 1 hour or so laying on my front in bed or when squatting.

    That's why I was a bit concerned lifting can trigger some sort of hemorrhage.

  • Not sure why you think you would suffer a random intercranial bleed? What is it that has given you the impression it could be that?

    Your ENT specialist (whose understanding of brain injury will be limited to say the least) may have advised another CT scan for something which could be sinusitis...it doesn't mean there is a skull problem, and even if you think there is a problem with the healing of the fracture it is unlikely to suddenly cause a bleed now.

    Fractures generally heal well. I had a fractured ankle as a student. That was left to heal on its own too. I was sent home with crutches and told not to put weight on it for a couple of months. That is normal for simple fractures, as to intervene would risk affecting the bone regrowth and lead to weakness or deformity. Bones are best left to mend themselves where possible.

    My husband had a skull fracture as a baby. He didn't know anything about it until he had a head CT on a cancer check recently. He has spent his life lifting heavy stuff (especially since my annie was discovered!) No adverse effects...

    My nephew had his skull taken apart by brain surgeons at the age of 2 after it fused together wrongly as a toddler, causing a misshapen head and pressure on parts of the brain. They cut the skullbone down, put the pieces back over his brain with some plating to hold them in place, sewed the skin back over and bingo. He had to wear a crash helmet for 6 months so he didn't knock the bones or plates whilst they re-joined, but that was it. There have been no warnings given to say he must not exert himself/ carry anything heavy. Just as well because now he is 6 he is into everything, always dragging boxes and bits of wood to make a den.

    I think you can rest assured your body will have done its job and grown some lovely new bone to smooth over the fracture. It probably can barely be seen now.

    On another point, if this is bleeding from the gums try Corsodyl toothpasye and mouthwash. It really does work.

    And don't lie on your front for an hour if it triggers symptoms which cause you anxiety!

  • Do you reckon that the frontal bone fracture would disappear in 12 months after the impact? The CT on the day of the accident revealed a linear crack like a thin line on the left frontal part of the skull, is this going to stay as it is or does it just "vanish" in time?

  • I suppose how long it takes depends on a range of factors including your age, general health, bone density, and what you do with the fractured part of your body. So my fractured ankle healed in a few months in my late teens, but when my mum fractured her wrist in her 60s it took the best part of a year to heal. My nephew at 2 was ok after 6 months - after doctors had sawed his skull into pieces!

    As you are young and healthy I doubt you would have too much problem healing.

    Your bones all regrow continually and repair themselves - until you get older when women especially are at risk of bone density loss and osteoporosis. I would imagine a doctor would be able to tell new bone growth on a scan, but it wouldn't make any difference to you and you probably wouldn't spot it unless it was pointed out to you.

  • I'm 29 years of age, and it was a crack along the left frontal bone of my skull where the forehead skin meets the hair line

  • And a new CT scan was recommended to determine where this blood at the back of the throat originates as the ENT couldn't see anything at the back of my nose after the nose scope investigation but I feared having another CT after 6 months considering having a 2nd CT would increase the risk of developing brain tumors

  • I would focus on checking for buses....seriously, you need to put this behind you and live for life, for today, for now. And don't worry about things like CT scans giving you cancer - the risk of cancer is supposed to be about 1 in 3 now for those in the West, and a CT scan increases risk by 0.05%. It is negligible compared to the overall risk - and whether you get cancer is a lottery anyway.

    Over the last years I've had 3 or 4 CTs, and spent an hour in X-ray for neuro-angiogram with a surgeon pushing a catheter through my brain arteries (and am about to repeat that delightful procedure tomorrow and several times more in years to come). I am not worrying about brain tumours; I am worrying about whether my husband will remember to wash my eldest's football kit whilst I am in hospital. It is not worth worrying about things you can't understand, predict or control. Or about tomorrow, because now is the only time that you can be, do, say, think and feel alive. So be more now.

  • Thank you so much for your kind words, your comment gives me hope and I feel more confident now!

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