Dr. Diane®‘s Post Concussion Syndrome Treatments

Do you or a loved one suffer from Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)? Are daily events hard to manage? Have you gone to numerous doctors or been through numerous Treatments for Post-Concussion Syndrome and nothing seems to help?

Using her 5 Prong Approach, Dr. Diane customizes PCS treatments based on the unique individual, as she knows that one method does not fit all.

Insurance Description of PCS Treatments

The various treatments include three types based on insurance coverage: Conventional, Complimentary, and Alternative.

PCS Related Fatigue Treatments

The time-honored approach to treating fatigue is to isolate and eliminate the cause rather than focusing on the symptom. Choosing an approach to treating Post Concussion Syndrome related fatigue is further complicated by the fact that treatments for many other PCS-related consequences can make one more tired.

Conventional Treatment for Post Concussion Syndrome Fatigue

Many doctors’ plans for managing fatigue include medication, educating the patient about the importance of regular exercise and restorative sleep, Psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and nutrition. Medications that are prescribed for fatigue include the following: Psycho-stimulants, Dopamine agonists, Amantadine, Modafinil, and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).

Your doctor may also recommend exercise to be done at the time of day when you have the most vitality. Your doctor is likely to recommend the avoidance of alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and tobacco products. High-energy foods that have undergone a minimum of processing are also likely to be helpful. These foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans, and fish. Martha Lindsay is our nutrition educator on our Brain Health Team.

Complementary Treatment for Post Concussion Syndrome Fatigue

Acupuncture, done by a licensed Acupuncturist, can help combat fatigue. William Mogan is the Acupuncturist on our Brain Health Team.

Recent studies have shown that Biofeedback, Neurofeedback, and light therapy, which Dr. Diane and Paul Soper on our Brain Health Team provide, can be effective against fatigue.

Alternative Treatment for Post Concussion Syndrome Fatigue

Reiki, QiGong, and/or Energy Tapping are very helpful in re-energizing your body. Clara Diebold is the Reiki Master on our Brain Health Team. In addition, there are numerous Homeopathic remedies and herbal preparations such as ginkgo biloba and gotu kola. Bach Flower “Olive” works to restore energy; Dr. Diane® is a Bach Flower Practitioner.

PCS Induced Headache

A single individual may experience headaches that range in intensity from mild to severe, and in quality from dull to sharp. The type of pain you experience can be a pounding, squeezing, tingling, or burning sensation; a touch-sensitive soreness; or a piercing jab.

Conventional Treatment for PCS Induced Headaches

Over-the-counter painkillers are the ideal starting, and they often bring relief to PCS headaches. Well-known examples include Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Datril, and others), Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin, and others); Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, and others); Ketoprofen (Actron and Orudis); and Naproxen Sodium (Aleve).

Since your body can develop a tolerance to a single product, you can increase the effectiveness of over-the-counter drugs by varying the types you take. It is important to be cautious about doses, since analgesic-rebound headaches are a possibility.

Drugs used for cardiovascular problems reduce headache pain because they keep the blood vessels in the head from becoming constricted. Other types of drugs, including antihistamines, anticonvulsants (anti-seizure medications), ergot derivatives, antidepressants, and steroids reduce inflammation, relax muscles, and disrupt nerve activity. (See below for Medications for Headaches.)

Arnold Sadwin, MD, a Psychiatrist, pioneered two office treatments that bring quick relief to headache patients. The first is a scalp injection of Marcaine 0.5%, 1 cc in an insulin syringe with a short needle. Another treatment is the administration of oxygen at eight liters for twenty minutes using a simple face mask, which can be helpful in preventing the onset of migraine headaches.

Drugs Used for Headaches

The following table lists the types of drugs most commonly used for headaches, plus examples of each type.

Analgesics

Use:
General pain relief and headache prevention.

Examples:

  • Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin Ecotrin, and others)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Datril, and others)
  • Combinations (Anacin, Excedrin, Fiorinal Medigesic, and others).

Anticonvulsants

Use:
Headache prevention.

Examples:

  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Valproic acid (Depakene)
  • Topiramate (Topamax)
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin).

Antidepressants

Use:
Pain relief and headache prevention

Examples:

  • Amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
  • Doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor)
  • Phenelzine (Nardil)

Beta Blockers

Use:
Headache prevention.

Examples:

  • Atenolol (Tenormin)
  • Nadolol (Corgard)
  • Propranolol (Inderal)
  • Timolol (Blocadren)

Calcium Channel Blockers

Use:
Headache prevention

Examples:

  • Diltiazem (Cardizem)
  • Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia)
  • Nimodipine (Nimotop)
  • Verapamil (Calan, Isoptin)

Ergot Derivatives

Use:
Pain relief and headache prevention, especially for migraine and cluster headaches

Examples:

  • Dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45)
  • Ergotamine (Ergostat)
  • Ergotamine combinations (Bellergal-S [also contains phenobarbital, belladonna alkaloids], Cafergot [also contains caffeine])
  • Methylergonovine (Methergine)
  • Methysergide (Sansert)

Narcotics

Use:
Treatment of intense, persistent pain

Examples:

  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Oxycodone combinations (Percocet, Roxicet, Tylox [also contain acetaminophen], Percodan [also contains aspirin])

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)

Use:
General pain relief and headache prevention

Examples:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, and others)
  • Indomethacin (Indocin)
  • Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis)
  • Naproxen (Naprosyn)
  • Naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox)

Steroids

Use:
Treatment of intense, persistent pain

Examples:

  • Dexamethasone (Decadron, Hexadrol, and others)
  • Prednisone (Deltasone, Sterapred, and others)

Tranquilizers

Use:
Treatment of intense, persistent pain

Examples:

  • Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
  • Haloperidol (Haldol)
  • Thiothixene (Navane)

It may be necessary for your doctor to try several different prescriptions before finding the one that works best for you.

Headache drugs have numerous side effects, and some can worsen pre-existing health problems or have serious, even deadly, consequences if taken in improper doses. If you are taking medication for headaches, follow your doctor’s usage instructions carefully.

Psychotherapy can help to pinpoint and alleviate depression, which can precede or accompany chronic headaches. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps you cope with the changes in your life and find ways of dealing with headaches. Dr. Diane® is a licensed Psychologist and is a provider of these services.

The hands-on techniques of physical therapy, including Cranial Sacral therapy, massage, and stretching exercises, can be effective against headaches. Joan Flynn is our Physical Therapist on the Brain Health Expert Team. She is also trained in Cranial Sacral therapy.

Water therapy and ultrasound techniques are similarly helpful. Dr. Igor Burdneko, Ph. D is on our Brain Health Team of Experts. He revolutionized water therapy with his Burdenko Method.

Other methods that control headache pain include aerobic exercise, maintaining consistent sleep patterns, and dietary monitoring. Martha Lindsay, our nutrition educator, can help you.

Complementary Treatment for PCS Induced Headaches

Acupuncture helps control headache pain by stimulating the release of endorphins. An Acupuncturist inserts hair-like needles into specific points on your body. Acupressure involves pressing and rotating the fingertips firmly against certain points on the body.

Behavioral Medicine (Health Psychology), a branch of Psychotherapy, has been helpful for some with PCS. Research shows that Biofeedback can be very effective against chronic headache pain.

Hypnosis is similar to Biofeedback in that it can help you control bodily sensations. Dr. Diane® is published in the field of Hypnosis. Through Hypnosis, you learn to monitor your body through intense focusing. However, the effective use of Hypnosis requires concentration, which is often a consequence of PCS.

Developing a relaxation response is a good way to reduce stress, release tensed muscles, and combat hormonal changes that can result in headaches. Proficiency at yoga, meditation, visualization, and other relaxation techniques, can give you a natural defense against pain.

Chiropractic treatment has been effective in treating post traumatic, tension-type, and some migraine headaches. Chiropractic manipulation by a licensed Chiropractor reduces abnormal motion and irritation to the neck muscles, nerves, and other tissues. Dr. Paul Schoonman is the team Chiropractor.

Alternative Treatment for PCS Induced Headaches

Non-Drug treatments may reduce the frequency and intensity of your headaches. It is advisable to consider and experiment non-drug approaches to headache pain under your doctor’s supervision.

You may also want to consider using Homeopathic remedies and herbal preparations for headaches. Herbs such as arnica, feverfew, peppermint, skullcap, and white willow bark have long been used to relieve headache pain. Homeopathic remedies that may be recommended for headaches include Bryonia, Ferrum phosphoricum, Gelsemium, and Natrum muriaticum. Combining a specific Bach Flowers therapy may be helpful. To gain the best results, consult a professional Herbalist, Homeopath, Bach Flower practitioner; Dr. Diane® is a Bach Flower Practitioner.

Reiki (Clara Diebold is our Reiki Master), Polarity, QiGong, and Kyusho are all passive approaches in which another party is doing something to you to relieve the consequences of PCS. On the other hand, meditation is an active method that depends on your ability to concentrate.

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Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

If you're suffering from a concussion, or any other form of mild traumatic brain injury, pick up Dr. Diane's book Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and start healing today!


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Dr. Diane® Roberts Stoler, Ed.D.
7 Hodges Street
N. Andover, MA 01845
Phone: (800) 500-9971

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Image Credit Elaine Boucher

Within each person shines an inner light that illuminates our path and is the source of hope. Illness, trauma, suffering and grief can diminish the light and shroud hope. I am a catalyst for hope and change, offering a way to rekindle this inner light.

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