Read one patient’s road to recovery, with all the ups and downs, after sustaining a serious concussion.
“Having a role in what I needed to do and to be given exercises to aid and quicken the recovery was important to me.”
1. How did you sustain your concussion?
I was playing hockey and had a mid-ice collision where my head hit the other player first and then the ice.
2. What were the initial side affects or symptoms you experienced and what led you to see Dr. Fisher at Ascent for treatment?
Initially I was dealing with headaches, dizziness, nausea, light and noise sensitivity, and feeling unbalanced. Even looking at the screen on my cell phone would make me dizzy. A friend of mine works at Ascent and she told me about Dr Fisher, and the Shift concussion management protocols, so I gave it a try.
3. Can you tell us a bit about the treatment process for you? When did you know it was making a difference?
The treatment was initially really slow and almost frustrating for me because I’m used to injuries that have a more clear set recovery time, like a broken wrist, and I was having a really tough time sitting still and feeling impatient being told not to physically push myself right away.
I would see Dr Fisher for treatment every week, and he would do acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and active release technique on my neck. I was also initially given homework exercises such as focusing drills where I would look at popsicle sticks, changing my point of focus and moving my head back and fourth trying to keep the sticks in focus. I was getting frustrated with it because I’d still get headaches really quickly when doing such simple exercises. Being stuck at home, not being active, and still having symptoms come back doing these simple exercises was a really frustrating period of time for me. However, after about 5 weeks, I was able to do a lot of the exercises without triggering symptoms, and when they did come they’d often only last a few minutes at at time. To me, even though it was still really basic drills, having the headaches go away really quickly instead of the hours it initially took was finally a promising sign.
After about 6 weeks and I could objectively see a progression from where I was, and I could tell I was (finally) actually improving. I would feel really good and start to push myself with the exercises we would practice and I’d be okay and feel really good for a few days, then by the end of the week or so before going back to see Dr Fisher again the headaches and symptoms would start coming back. He was always really positive but also very real and honest about how things progressed during the week away and though he could tell I was getting pretty impatient he did assure me things were still moving forward.
The coolest thing for me was when I would go in for treatment and tell Dr Fisher where my headaches were that week (they moved around to different parts of my head through out the process), he could trigger the exact headache I was getting by pressure points on my neck and through acupuncture. after he would do this they would go away from that part of my head or be really mild for the next week. Though I could see the purpose of doing the focus, balance and the other exercises we were doing, having him actually be able to trigger the exact pain I was getting and relieve it was really cool, and a noticeable sign that was he was doing was what was helping more than just “time” and “rest” like my medical doctor was telling me.
The biggest milestone for me was between 6-8 weeks when I was told I could start doing some (mild) activity again. Even though I was no where near ready to start pushing how I was used too, just being told I could go for a bike ride again was the most positive thing for me to hear. Even though there were still days I was still dealing with some headaches and other symptoms being able to start being active again made me for the first time truly objectively see that things were improving.
4.What has been the most significant aspect of your recovery?
Having a roll in what I needed to do and to be given exercises (although seeming very basic) to aid and quicken the recovery was important to me.
Resting my brain is a lot more difficult than just resting tired legs or a tired body which is what rest has always meant to me before this. I felt like that other practitioners had told me that I should sit in a dark room not doing anything to aid my recovery. If that is what I had to actually do I would have gone crazy. So with Dr Fisher giving me exercises to focus on every week and explaining what the goals for each exercise were, it made things a lot more clear and gave me a path of progress I could understand. I think that’s what kept me positive about the process and actually made me want to stick with it through to the end, and I’ve got a real positive view of how it all worked out now that I’m back to my normal life again.