Advice when told your symptoms are psychological - Headway


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Advice when told your symptoms are psychological


Hi I am wondering if anyone has any advice / guidance.

Following car accident I have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury. I have been to an independent expert neurologist who has concluded that my symptoms are likely now a result of psychological impact and from soft tissue damage in my neck.

This doesn’t fit my experience. I appreciate that there are psychological impacts and deferred pain from neck injury but I don’t feel that this conclusion explains why after a period of concentration or computer use or LED light exposure or exposure to noise and stimuli that I experience a significant head pain and related dizziness and fatigue.

If anyone can offer any guidance from experience that would be really helpful.

All the best x

11 Replies

Hi, I was knocked over by a bike and concussed nearly 6 months ago and have struggled with anything requiring concentration or reading ever since. After a short while I feel headachy, nauseous and sleepy. I have been off work almost all this time. Initially I was being investigated for eye problems, but an ophthalmologist said I ought to see a neurologist instead.

Finally last week I saw a neurologist privately and his view is that this is likely to be migraine (I had a history of migraine already but hadn’t linked the two). He ordered an MRI scan just in case anything has been missed but has also started to treat me with daily prophylactic migraine treatment and will see whether things have improved in a few weeks’ time.

It sounds quite similar, so I wondered whether migraine has been considered for you? You certainly have my sympathy! It’s horrible feeling like this and also frustrating not being able to get on with normal life.

ClaraJ in reply to ClaraJ

You will see I posted about this a few months ago and there is a thread with a number of replies which might be helpful for you.


I also suffered afall, initially I had Post concussion syndrome but a private neurologist diagnosed Functional Neurological disorder (FND) FND Hope is a good web site, i think it has a symptom checker but can't remember - memory/concentration fatigue etc as well as things you maybe hadn't linked...good luck with your recovery x

firstly was the Neurologist a specialist in Head injury ? Many Neurologists have a working knowledge of head injuries but lack the depth of knowledge or experience in dealing with them.

Secondly, without seeing the report, it could be down to interpretation. Whilst some symptoms can be pinpointed to an exact injury point, many cannot. This is why many Neurologists refer to them as psychological. Whilst it may sound that they infer that you "have made them up", it isn't necessarily so.

There is a condition where injured people look up the symptoms of a specific injury and then develop those symptoms to suit the injury. I don't believe they are suggesting this in your case.

Many of the things you are probably experiencing pain, discomfort, lack of sleep, memory problems, concentration, mood swings are all interrelated and don't necessarily have a point in the brain that can be identified with an injury like yours. However, things like neck pain, can stop you sleeping well, which in turn affect your memory, mood swings etc. These they then call "psychological" symptoms developed from the injury.

I broke a bone in my neck. Then visited a Neurologist, all he did was get me to march up and down on the spot, grip his hands and touch my nose. His initial diagnosis was psychological symptoms. When we later found out, I had a broken bone in my neck and a disk was pressing on my spinal cord, I went to a more specialist Neurologist whom explained the mechanics and wrote a more detailed report which whilst not dismissing the original report added content to put it into context.

Hello there. I also suffered a tbi just over 5 years ago and have been seen by 3 neurologists and 4 neuropsychologists (as a result of my legal action). In short, their conclusion was that I have cognitive impairment and psychological factors as a result of the injury. Also, extreme fatigue caused by external stimuli ( including what you describe).

If you were to see a neuropsychologist, tests would be carried out to determine your pre accident cognitive ability and how that has been impaired as a result of the injury.

Fatigue is real and is extremely debilitating.

Don’t despair - and try to find a way of stopping before you’ve done too much. Easier said than done sometimes but you will find a way of conserving your energy levels and avoiding certain situations.

Best of luck



This video on the front website page will be helpful to you

The Functional Neurology Center,

13911 Ridgedale Drive, Suite 490

Minnetonka, MN 55305

I strongly recommend you go to the Functional Neurology Centre YouTube page and watch some of their videos to hear testimonials to provide hope and to understand the types of interventions that can make a difference.

These links I found when researching necks.

If a nerve is damaged, these are the functions in the body that are impacted:


Hi. I would suggest trying to get a referral to see a neuropsychologist. I had a neurologist who tried to convince me that I was having migraines. I didn't even have any headaches, with or without the aura. A neuropsychologist will do lots of different tests and an interview to see how you are functioning.

All the best. 🙄🌸

5 Ways Functional Neurology Helped Me Gain Back a Quality of Life - 25 mins

Join Amy Zellmer as she chats with Dr. Jeremy Schmoe DC about how his functional neurology clinic has helped her gain back a quality of life.

They discuss some of her symptoms, including:

1. Dizzy and balance

2. Headaches

3. Auditory and Visual reaction times

4. Autonomic nervous system

5. Anxiety/PTSD

Visit Jeremy's website:

Visit Amy's website:

Purchase Amy's book:

Hi. You say an expert neurologist, is this to do with insurance? If so who's side is the expert from.

I only ask because you use the term expert. If they are acting as an expert witness, it is important that you have your own expert witness.

Usually expert witnesses have a biased depending on who is paying for the report and their time.

If I have misunderstood, then just ignore me.


Was the independent expert neurologist you saw appointed by your own car insurance company, or if another vehicle was involved, was the neurologist appointed by the other driver’s insurance company? This can make a difference.

Thanks so much for reply’s. Expert was from my insurance. The process is taking such a long time !

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