Concussions

Could Stress Be Causing Your Symptoms?

Post-Concussion Syndrome is a tricky thing. This is when your concussion symptoms last for weeks, months, or years after your injury. You can feel like you’re on the road to recovery and then the oddest thing can set you back.

There have been times when I’ve wondered whether it is my symptoms flaring, I’m getting sick, or something else is going on? Most of the time I chalk it up to my concussion and ride the wave. But what if it isn’t always your concussion that’s bugging you?

There’s been some things I’ve been dealing with the last few weeks. I thought I was fine. I had the good report from the doctor that things were moving along nicely with my therapy. For a while there, I was feeling really good. I had energy and was impressed with all that I could do in a day. 

Then it all hit me. The dizziness and brain swelling feelings were all back. I was taking a couple naps a day. I felt exhausted, emotional, apathetic, and sluggish. My balance was off as I had fallen twice and was walking funny again. Why on earth did all of this happen? 

Was it my cycle? Was it the falls?

I had received the news that I was going to lose my job. I was working through a relational struggle with someone I love. I was feeling the fear creep in on my financial security (even though I knew we were fine). I was stressing and striving to make everything work. 

After Michael and I talked on the weekend, we realized that it was stress that was affecting me. I was trying to take on too much and do things that I didn’t need to be doing. My body usually reveals stress before my mind does. It was reacting because I was carrying burdens I didn’t need to carry. 

Everyone’s body has a weakness. Sometimes people get headaches, neck, shoulder, or back pain when they are stressed. Some people feel exhausted all the time. Others feel nauseous and anxious. 

Our bodies all react in different ways to stress. But wherever your weak spot is, that’s where your trigger will show. Since I’ve had a brain injury, mine shows up in my concussion symptoms. 

When you can identify what is causing the stress, you can work at reducing your symptoms. It may take a bit of time to recover. Keep taking the naps or easing back on the activities until you can get your body in a more peaceful state again. Find ways to work through the stress. 

This can also happen when you first have your accident. Your body can go into shock as it tries to deal with the injury. The doctors couldn’t explain mine, nor could I at the time. 

I had been physically fit before my accident, working out more in the day than I ever had before. Then when my accident occurred, I shut right down. When my body realized that I wouldn’t be exercising for a while, my muscles went into a state of shock. Literally my entire body severely ached from head to toe. My muscles and joints were painful. Doctors checked me for Arthritis, Fibro Myalgia, etc. After a few months, as my body began to realize its new normal, it eased up on its own. 

Now that I haven’t really worked out in a few years, my muscles hurt when I start to exercise them again. I can tell when I’ve pushed it that day. It hurts for the moment but I know it’ll fade. That “good hurt” is borderline too much. But I know that it’s the slight shock of my body adjusting to being used again. It is a good stress on my muscles and something that is controlled. 

You have to be in tune with your body and understand what’s causing symptoms when you have them. Did you do too many activities? Push yourself too hard? Are you stressed about something? Coming off the high of an exciting moment or season? By asking yourself these questions, you can find a pattern to help recover quicker. It’ll be a tool to your success.

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