20+ Medications Later With Post Concussion Syndrome

Post Concussion Syndrome sucks...

Post Concussion Syndrome sucks...

Here is a list of all the medications prescribed to me for my post concussion syndrome. I have included some of the more shocking side effects of each medication. For me, it became so terrible to have doctors change my medications on a weekly basis. It gets to a point where they're prescribing more medication just to combat the side effects of the medication you were initially given. One doctor told me how he was going to go about helping me; I quote " we are going to through medication at the wall, hoping something sticks." He was a Harvard med. school dr. and professor at a very respected hospital..  However, I was a 17 year old kid being dosed with many chemicals that ultimately did not improve my condition. I can't blame him for trying to help, he gave me some valuable information on post concussion syndrome, and he did as any doctor in his situation would have done in 2011. By March of 2012, I decided to stop taking all these medications I was prescribed. I was having panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and not much relief from my pain. I was so overwhelmed with these medications that I stopped taking them cold turkey... not the best idea, but I felt as if I needed to. I couldn't eat anything for 2 weeks, and what I did try to eat I threw up.. I lost 15 pounds in 14 days... I suffered through the withdrawal symptoms and found different ways to treat my pain.  By no means am I saying these medications cannot be helpful, but for me they were not able to solve my problems without drastic side effects. Thankfully, I am no longer taking any of these medications. I took an alternative approach, and became the first pediatric chronic pain medical marijuana patient in Maine. High CBD marijuana changed my life. Find out how.

1. CYMBALTA 20 MG CAPSULE

USES: DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, AND NERVE PAIN.  

Side effects: Thoughts of suicide, Symptoms of aggression, Irritability, Panic attacks, Extreme worry, Restlessness, Acting without thinking, Abnormal excitement, nausea, dry mouth, sleepiness, fatigue, constipation, loss of appetite, sweating, unusual bruising or bleeding, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, yellowing of the eyes or skin, dark-colored urine, fever with sweating, confusion, racing heart, and muscle stiffness, extreme weakness, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, swelling in other parts of the body, trouble breathing or swallowing, a blistering or peeling rash, chest pain, difficulty breathing, worsening depression...

2. AXERT 6.25 MG TABLET 

Uses: to treat migraines.

Side effects: Drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, sensation of tingling numbness or prickling, dry mouth, chest pain, jaw pain, fainting, pounding heartbeat, vision changes, weakness of one side of the body, confusion, slurred speech, serotonin syndrome, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, unusual restlessness...

3. KETOROLAC (TORADOL) 10 MG TABLET 

Uses: short term treatment of moderate to severe pain

Side effects: upset stomach, unusual tiredness, vomiting, constipation, fainting, hearing changes, pounding heartbeat, liver disease, swelling of face and throat... 

4.TROPIRAMATE 25 MG TABLET 

Uses: to control seizures(epilepsy) and prevent migraine headaches

Side effects: tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, tingling of the hands/feet, loss of appetite, bad taste in your mouth, diarrhea, weight loss, confusion, slowed thinking, trouble concentrating or paying attention, nervousness, memory problems, speech/language problems, suicidal thoughts, kidney stones...

5. MAXALT 10 MG TABLET 

Uses: to treat migraines, pain, sensitivity to light, and other symptoms of migraines

Side effects: weakness, fatigue, numbness/tingling/prickling sensation, chest/jaw/neck tightness, fainting, slurred speech, pounding heartbeat, confusion, blue fingers, hearing changes, mental/mood changes, hallucinations, loss of coordination...

6. Indomethacin 25 mg capsule 

Uses: to relieve pain, swelling, and joint stiffness caused by arthritis, gout, bursitis, and tendonitis.

Side effects: heart burn, headache, upset stomach, dizziness, drowsiness, swelling of the hands and feet, weight gain, hearing changes, extreme tiredness...

7. Methlyprednisolone 4 mg dosepk 

Uses: various conditions such as allergic disorders, arthritis, blood diseases, breathing problems, certain cancers, eye diseases...

side effects: stomach upset, headache, dizziness, trouble sleeping, weight gain, severe stomach and abdominal pain, black stool, increased thirst/urination, pounding heart, shortness of breath, puffy face, mood changes 

8. BUTALB-ACETAMIN-CAF 

uses: to treat tension headaches 

side effects: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, shaking, tremors, shortness of breath, mood changes...

9. ZOFRAN

uses: to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer drug treatment and radiation. 

side effects: Headache, dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness, constipation...

10. IC AMITRIPTYLINE HCL 80 MG 

Uses: to treat mental mood problems such as depression, it may improve mood, feelings of anxiety, and help you sleep better.

Side Effects: drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vission, weight gain, mask like facial expressions, decreases sexual ability, fainting, seizures, worsened depression, suicidal thoughts...

11. DIAZEPAM 5 MG 3X A DAY VALIUM 

Uses: to treat anxiety, acute alcohol withdrawal, and seizures.

Side effects: Drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, constipation, headache, memory problems, agitation, hallucinations, slurred speech, clumsiness, trouble walking...

12. DRANABINOL 5 MG 

Uses: nausea  associated with chemotherapy.

Side effects: Dizziness, Drowsiness, feeling high, exaggerated sense of well being, slurred speech, weakness, dry mouth, mood changes...

13. AZITHROMYCIN 250 MG TABLET 

Uses: bacterial infections.

Side effects: upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, liver problems, muscel weakness, dizziness...

14. GABAPENTIN 100 MG CAPSULE 

Uses: to calm the brain 

Side effects: emotional ups and downs, slurred speech, changes in thinking clearly, feeling lightheaded, shakiness, changes in balance, problem with how one acts, swelling in the arms or legs weight gain....

15. DIHYDROERGOTAMINE 

Uses: migraines

Side effects: upset stomach, bad taste in mouth, nose irritation...

16. KETORLOLAC IV

uses: short term treatment of moderate to severe pain

Side effects: upset stomach, unusual tiredness, vomiting, constipation, fainting, hearing changes, pounding heartbeat, liver disease, swelling of face tongue and throat, 

17. DIHYDROERGOTAMINE IV 

Uses: migraines

Side effects: Heart attack, upset stomach, bad taste in mouth, nose irritation...

18. ADERALL xr 20 mg

Uses: ADHD

Side effects: trouble sleeping, easily angered, mood changes, anxiety, nervous, loss of appetite, feeling restless, anxious, head pain, low energy...

19. Aderall 10mg

Uses: ADHD

Side effects: trouble sleeping, easily angered, mood changes, anxiety, nervous, loss of appetite, feeling restless, anxious, head pain, low energy...

20. streterra 18 mg 2x a day

Uses: ADHD 

Side effects: suicidal ideation in children under the age of 18, depression, dark urine, irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms... 

21.hydrocodone

Uses: treatment of severe pain

Side effects: chills, depression, nervousness, difficult breathing, blurred vision, changes in consciousness, confusion... 

22. Oxycodone

Uses: treatment of severe pain 

Side effects: severe vomiting, chills, confusion, difficulty breathing, lightheadedness, fever, blood in the urine...

23. Providgil 

Uses: narcolepsy

Side effects: Blurred vision, mood changes, memory problems, depression...

 

Disclaimer:

This article is purely informational. I am not a doctor, though I am a patient. This is not advise. 


HOW I Didn't know I had a Broken Neck for 6 Months.

The First Of Many 

My junior year in high school I was hit in the head by the boom of a 420 sailboat while coming in from sailing practice. I suffered a massive concussion. The following weeks I did as any concussed patient would do in 2011, I removed myself from any stimuli, and got many hours of dark room rest. I had weekly visits with physicians to track my recovery and seek recommendations to improve my headaches. There was not much I could do they told me, just rest and I should recover soon. Five weeks past and I was still facing constant throbbing headaches. Summer was approaching and I wanted to start living my life like a normal kid again so I started resuming my daily activities. 

Repeated Head Trauma

Unfortunately over that summer I hit my head 4 more times.  The biggest of which I slammed my head on the dashboard of my boat as I  was going over a wave. This caused tremendous pain to my brain. After this blow I assumed it might be another 5 weeks to recover, but after 5 weeks my symptoms were getting progressively worse. I developed allodynia (hypersensitivity of the nerves), which quickly moved to my whole body, causing tremendous headache with just a simple touch. My headaches were always present, and my mood was awful. I started seeing neurologists, pain management doctors, Sports medicine doctors, and many other specialists to see if they could help. I was told that because of my repeated head trauma I had developed allodynia, and they were looking for medications that could alleviate my symptoms. It had been months from my last head injury and I was in more pain than the initial blow, these doctors were prescribing me all kinds of medication to combat the nerve pain and headaches. I was put on a total of 20+ medications ranging from Valium to Prednisone to anti seizure drugs. One Harvard doctor told me that the only thing he can do is through medications at the wall hoping something sticks. The same doctor was very unsure why I was in so much pain without the mental dysfunctions of a concussion. He told me that I have post concussion syndrome, and it's very possible I might never get better from it. Quite an awful thing to hear as 17 year old senior in high school. I couldn't go out, I could barely go to school, the bumps on the road were so painful from my allodynia that most days I would arrive in so much pain that I could only stay for an hour.  I remember days when I arrived at school just to turn back around because a friend of mine patted me on the back to say hello (this caused shocking pain to rush to my head). It's hard to believe looking back at it, just how restricted my life once was.  I missed 80 days of school my senior year in high school and had to get a 504 plan just so I could graduate. 

Finding My neck Injury 

About 6 months into the whole ordeal, my doctor told me we should X-ray my neck because it could have some relation to my headaches. Well, it turned out that I had suffered a compression fracture on my C6 vertebrae. My neck went up and to the right because of this injury, pressing hard on my occiput and C2 vertebrae. The occiput and C2 vertebrae are strongly associated with headaches and nerve pain if they are misaligned. I would think that doctors specialized in treating concussions would X-ray your neck, especially if you have prolonged symptoms. It took them 6 months to figure this out. By this time my pain levels had progressed so much that it was unbearable. I was prescribed Oxycodone and other strong narcotics to relieve myself from the pain. Thankfully, I was able to find other ways to relieve my pain, avoiding the dark trap that too many pills can bring. 

LESSONS FROM JON

If you are having prolonged symptoms from a concussion, or if you are having headaches all the time, check to see if your neck  is injured. This is becoming common practice for doctors to check, but not every doctor does it. There was a strong connection found recently with neck injuries and post concussion syndrome. The neck can be responsible for all sorts of pain and discomfort in your head, so PLEASE consult with your doctor about your neck if you are still in pain.

Disclaimer:

This article is purely informational. I am not a doctor, though I am a patient. This is not advise. 

Why I took the SAT's Concussed, and why you shouldn't.

First, A Bit Of Background

Growing up on the coast of Maine I was surrounded by the sailing community. Its culture of perseverance had engrained itself in me since I was young. I pushed through the freezing weather and battled heavy winds just to compete in the sport that I grew to love so much. I was uneducated on the subject of concussions, I knew they could have a strong effect, seeing some of my closest friends take a hit by the boom. I remember thinking, what my friends went through would never happen to me. (My Naive 16 year old self)

How I Got The Concussion 

 During the spring of my junior year, I was ending practice, and sailing into the dock with my best friend. As I approached an average upwind landing, I prepared  for the glide zone(an area where you have enough momentum to let your sails out and "glide" into the dock). I had done a less than stellar landing, but I expected my crew to hop off the boat and catch us on the dock. It was certainly my fault,  I hadn't gotten us close enough. We had missed the opportunity and our boat was swiftly drifting away from the dock. I stood up, and out of frustration pushed the tiller hard to port...  the boom whipped over and smashed my brain's left hemisphere with 15 kts of power. Imagine a baseball bat hitting you in the head at 17.4 miles per hour. I fell to the bottom of the boat, staying conscious, and instantly knew I had sustained a concussion. Feeling really drunk without the buzz, topped off with a splitting headache, I went to lie down on the ground. I rested while everyone else was de-rigging. Honestly I had know idea what I was in for on, I just pushed through the practice debrief in the spirit of no pain no game.

TAKING THE SAT'S THE NEXT DAY 

Somehow I was able to drive myself home without getting in a crash, something I strongly urge against. I told my parents what happened, and they were pretty much just as in the dark on concussions as I was. They told me to get some rest, as I had a big day ahead of me. I told them I could go through with it. I took the SAT's with a full blown concussion. I suffered through 6 hours of testing with a throbbing headache, and a huge feeling of what the hell am I doing here.. As each hour passed, my headache grew stronger and stronger. Of course, If I had a time machine I would not go through with taking this test with a concussion. It really set my recovery back. The weekend passed and I was still in throbbing pain. I went to school on monday just to take the famous concussion test. No surprise here, it was very clear I had a concussion. The school nurse, who actually ended up being a huge savior of mine, told me to go home and shut off all stimuli. When she found out I had taken the SAT's on Saturday, she FREAKED out. What the hell was I thinking... I missed 3 weeks of school immediately after the test because I was in such severe pain and disorientation.  Words of advice, If you ever get a concussion make sure you don't take the SAT's the day after.  

You're Probably wondering what my score was??

I got a 1580 out of 2400... not the best score by any means, but hey... I had a concussion 

Let me know what you think... 

 

Disclaimer:

This article is purely informational. I am not a doctor, though I am a patient. This is not advise. 

 

 

Saunas, Ice Baths, and Post Concussion Syndrome.

I come from a strongly Finish and Italian family. I have 3 middle names Toivo Olavi Maki, all of which are Finish. I traveled to Finland when I was 13 to spend time with family and experience my homeland. What I found very interesting about Finnish culture is how integrated Saunas are in society. 99% of Finns sauna at least once a week. There are 3 million saunas for a country with only 5.3 million people. Finns believe that saunas are a key part of staying healthy and removing toxins from the body. Using a sauna for 15 minutes can increase your white blood cell count; which can boost your immune system, alleviate chronic pain, and increase joint mobility. A traditional Finnish sauna routine consists of getting in the sauna for 15-20 minutes then jumping into a ice cold body of water for 2 minutes. Ultimately, this fluctuation of hot and cold temperatures has a great neurological effect on the body. Ice cold temperature on injuries have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect allowing for faster recovery times and pain reduction. Getting back to my roots was especially helpful after sustaining a massive concussion and neck injury when I was 17.

1 Sauna for every 1.76 people in Finland

 
Shroom TECH Sport by Onnit
 

Months after the initial injury I was still facing severe nerve pain on an hourly basis. I had hit my head more than 5 times and suffered a compression fracture to my neck. I developed something called allodynia (hypersensitivity of the nerves). This is a terrible condition to have especially when it's associated with a head injury. Imagine a simple pat on the back feeling like nails exploding in your brain. It's something that is very hard to explain to people because unless you are going through it, it seems as if you are exaggerating.

After many failed prescriptions and medications, one of my doctors recommended treating my pain with hot and cold therapy. I used this fluctuation between hot and cold just like the Finns do, but to treat my allodynia and nerve pain from my post concussion syndrome. The effects were incredible, giving me relief from my headaches and toned down my allodynia. I used this treatment of about twice a day for six months with great success. Not only was I reducing my pain levels, but I was becoming much more energized. In addition to this hot and cold therapy, I take daily cold showers.  I find many of the same benefits come from this, and it's much easier to integrate into your daily routine. Cold showers have shown to Increase your bodies circulation, immune system, mood, and alertness.

If you don't have access to a sauna dont worry. You can get similar results from a hot shower and an ice bath. For me I would put my head and or body into a tub of water and ice. Sometimes I will just use a sink, submerging my head for headache relief.  Generally I will hold myself under for 30 seconds - 2 minutes (you may get a brain freeze, but trust me its worth it) and jump into a hot shower. I would repeat this process until my pain resided.