The results of a car accident, fall, or other injury often involves chronic headaches, neck pain, back pain, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, ringing in the ears, balance difficulties, dizziness, and disturbed sleep. Headaches are the most common symptom complaint of people who are suffering from post-concussion syndrome. The important thing to remember is that headaches are very rarely caused by a brain injury. The majority of all headaches are due to muscle tension. As your muscles become tighter, they squeeze the vessels which send blood to the head, resulting in headaches. One of the most effective treatments for chronic headaches is to learn relaxation techniques. When you learn how to relax yourself, your muscles loosen, resulting in the blood flow to your head being increased and your headache going away. Although it is possible that headaches are the result of something wrong with your brain, this is a very rare condition and is usually accompanied by a number of other symptoms. Your neuropsychologist or your physician have likely already evaluated you for these other symptoms and determined that they do not exist. In all cases, however, if you experience very severe headaches which don’t go away, even after you have practiced your relaxation techniques, you should go to an emergency room to get checked out. Again, however, this is a very rare condition and almost never happens to people involved in minor injury accidents.
Headaches can also be caused by muscle tension in your shoulders and neck. The muscles tightness inflames the nerve cells in your shoulders and neck. Those nerve cells look like trees which have branches that extend into other areas of your body, including your head. If you are receiving massage therapy or some other type of physical therapy, that treatment is designed to reduce the inflammation of those nerves which, with time, will make your headaches diminish. Finally, headaches can be caused by an injury to your temporal mandibular joint. This joint is the hinge which is located just in front of your ear which allows your jaw to move up and down. Sometimes in minor accidents this joint can be injured, resulting in you experiencing headaches. There are specific treatments for temporal mandibular joint dysfunction and if those treatments are effective, your headaches will likely be reduced.
Back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and a general feeling of physical discomfort are all the common effects of a minor injury accident. With time, and treatment, these injuries do go away and you begin to feel better. You may be receiving physical therapy treatment, chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, Pilates Treatment, or orthopedic manipulations, all designed to reduce your physical pain symptoms. It is important that you give feedback to your therapist or doctor about how that treatment is working. Be an active participant in your health care and be sure to clearly tell your treating provider what is working and what is not working. The more active and involved you are in your treatment, the faster you will get better.
Finally, sleep disturbance is one of the most complicating and destructive factors you may be experiencing. If you are having difficulty falling asleep and/or are experiencing problems staying asleep throughout the night this will have a profound effect upon your ability to function during the day. People with sleep disturbances often report problems with memory and concentration and feel irritable, stressed, and fatigued. You may be experiencing nightmares or disturbing dreams about feeling out of control, being chased, or being in danger. Your sleeping difficulties may be caused by physical discomfort but are more likely the result of worry, stress, anxiety, and depression.
There are two effective treatments for sleep disturbance. The quickest solution is to take some medication specifically designed to reduce your level of tension, to control your racing thoughts, and to help you feel relaxed. This medication often has an additional benefit of reducing your headache pain. These types of medication are called sedating antidepressants. They are non-addicting and are prescribed in a very low dose for a short period of time. There are also herbs and natural remedies which you may take to improve your sleep if you do not wish to take prescribed medication. Your neuropsychologist or physician can discuss these treatments with you.
The other very effective treatment for sleep disturbance is to learn relaxation techniques. Your psychologist can teach you very effective techniques which can help reduce your anxiety and worry, stop your racing thoughts, and help you feel more relaxed. By learning how to take control of your mind, your body, and your life in this manner you will be able to reduce your stress and sleep more soundly.