Running after concussion has brought back my sympt... - Headway


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Running after concussion has brought back my symptoms & made me worse - have I done further damage?


I had a bad concussion at the end of January but I did everything I was supposed to & I healed quickly. I'm unemployed so I was able to completely rest, eat the right foods & research. After 4 weeks I didn't have any more symptoms so I decided to return to running (I'm usually a long distance runner & was training for a couple of marathons). I ran a mile, walked for a bit to check how I was feeling, as I felt fine I ran another mile. I felt great until later that day & all my concussion symptoms returned & seemed worse than before. I felt extreme pressure in my head, headaches & had dizzy spells. I put off a social visit for another 7 days but when I visited my group of friends I couldn't keep up with the group conversation & I found the noise level very difficult.

This is my 3rd concussion (in 10 years) & I'm female. I know that can make it worse.

I went for a couple of walks during my 4 week rest period but otherwise I didn't do any exercise or socialising.

I also injured my shoulder in the accident which meant driving & using my right arm wasn't an option until recently, meaning I could do very little activity, even cleaning.

It's now been 6 weeks & I'm still struggling. After my initial recovery I'm worried I gave myself another concussion or made everything so much worse.

Thank you for any advice

5 Replies

Running may well be causing too much movement of the brain against the skull, aggravating the area where bruising occurred. Concussion can take many months to resolve so maybe stick to walking or swimming for fitness for a few more months ?

I'm not sure that resting between bouts of running will mitigate the problem if it's an issue of impact from frequent jolting of the spine. Maybe ask your doctor or see a neuro-physio. 🤔

Hi Zeb 🤗

The simple answer, you are not recovered yet.

I gave myself a concussion Nov '18 and carried on with working and training because I didn't understand I was injured.

I've been Post Concussion for 16 months because (I believe) I wasn't recovered.

I don't believe you will have given yourself another concussion (whos to say though).

Do not return to training again until you are symptom free. I mean completely symptom free in your daily life (even symptoms present during walking down the street to social gatherings). From light sensitivity, nausea, dizziness, eye pain head pain any symptom caused by your concussion that affects your normal day, will be multiplied ten fold after training.

You could try static bike for short sessions. Start off at 5mins then GO HOME. Even if you feel awesome. Go home, your symptoms may be hiding around the corner. See how you feel the following day. If you are ok great. Recover. Go again. Work from there. Build up very, very slowly if you do.

I only started dipping my toe in the gym two weeks ago and that is sitting on a static bike doing 4x5 mins with some of my neuro physio (walking around cones) in between. When I provoke symptoms, I leave it 48 hrs before I go sit on the bike again.

It has been a horribly slow process. I tried again and again and again to go back to CrossFit last year but I was too injured. I ran not understanding my vestibular system couldn't cope with the movement, my eyes weren't processing the information they were seeing (spacial awareness, proprioception etc) which meant my brain was completely overwhelmed, so I suffered terribly daily because I was trying too hard to live my life "normally" and I didn't know how injured I was. I just kept doing it.

My GP was useless. I was referred to my local brain injury unit a year after injury. If you have a local brain injury unit get referred A.S.A.P. Vestibular therapy and vision therapy (via a behavioral optometrist) is a must (in my opinion though it's costly) and have been my life savers though I still have a long way to go yet....

I've edited this because I didn't "read" your first bit 🤭 sorry, even though I did read it... 😬 lack of processing...! 🙄

I think that’s it’s a touch too soon, I found that I couldn’t cope with one of my bikes for quite some time after my fractured skull and what not, due to the position.

I'd say too soon. I'm also a runner and has several triathlons lined up this year. My GP was completely straight with me and said no running for 6 months. This is a slow race. Even when you feel fine you will not be ready. And he was right. It's been almost 4 months and there's no way I'm ok for running yet. Even on good days I burn out and get increased symptoms.

I've been walking, playing around with distance and pace. Pilates for strength. Might start swimming soon but I need to find a swim buddy as I am super anxious about doing new things post brain injury on my own.

I'd say take it slow. Like really really baby steps. When I first started walking it was for 5 mins and that would be me done. Now I'm up to 40 mins. Slow and steady!

Also if your GP hasn't already referred you to neurology I'd ask for the possibility of that happening.

Increasing your exercises gradually to build up to running and seeing how it goes is my only non-expert advice. A Neurologist's advice would be worth a lot more than mine. The jury is still out on my advice. Also look for internet experiences of concussion sufferers.

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