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Headache after car accident, memory problems, muscle pain in neck and back. Is this normal?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2000
Answered : 898 Questions
On August 1st I was in a car accident. I was at a stop light and a woman in a pickup hit me from behind. She was texting. I was wearing my seat belt. My head hit the headrest and because she hit at an angle I also hit my head on the door glass. I was knocked out for a short time and when I came around I wasn't clear as to what happened. The first thing I remember was still in the car, it had been moved, and I was surrounded by firemen, police and EMS working asking me questions and holding my head and neck firmly against the headrest from the backseat. I don't remember being taken out of the car but in the ambulance I seemed to wake up. They talked to me and explained what was happening. They were extremely nice sensing I was confused telling me I'd be fine. I was in considerable pain in my shoulders neck and a severe headache. Also my left arm was numb although i could move it and my hand. My left leg was also numb but not as bad as my arm. The hospital gave me something for pain and a muscle relaxer. After that they took a CT scan and xrays and took off the neck brace when they saw no broke bones. I guess that's what the were looking for anyway.

I was given prescriptions for pain and muscle relaxers and released later. They never actually talked to me about the results or conclusions they reached from the tests. Since then I been taking physical therapy for my neck, shoulders and lower back (that showed up later). I still have bouts of severe pain. When my muscles tighten up my arm goes numb and I have sharp pains in the arm and also in my heel.

I know the physical therapy will take care of the neck and shoulder problems. I understand how the nerves are being pinched by the tightness of the muscles. I'm not particularly worried about that. The part that I'm worried about is the head injury. I've had a headache continuously since the accident. It has waked me at night and I've needed to take tylenol and a muscle relaxer to get some relief. Other things are occurring. I'm having memory problems. My concentration is horrible. I'll start to do something and forget what I'm trying to do before I start. I can be talking about something and suddenly don't know what i was talking about or lose the point I was trying to make. This has never happened. I have or had an excellent memory and almost never forgot anything. My work depends on it.

You should know this is the second head injury I've had in a couple of months. I hit my head hard on the overhead bin when I was bending to get in my seat on an airplane. I was knocked cold. After a few hours I was okay although the got a doctor to observe me until we landed. I didn't go to the hospital.

My psychiatrist said I had? have? a concussion. She's given me a drug called gabapentin 300mg to help with the effects. I've not noticed a any change yet. It seems like a long time to still be having symptoms and I'm worried. She and my therapist have told me it will heal and to distract myself when I start to worry.

Does this sound like a normal reaction to you? Are these effects normal for a minor concussion? Is there anything you can tell me that might help me in any way?
Posted Wed, 12 Sep 2012 in Head Injuries
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 7 hours later
Hello there,

Thanks for writing in.

Your doctor might be right. It does seem like a normal reaction , but however it is coupled with anxiety.

I would advise you to sign up for yoga classes. You might not see results immediately. However, regular and daily yoga practice is very good and beneficial for you in the long run.

Yoga is helpful to reduce your headache,poor concentration,cholesterol levels, high blood pressure , depression. It is like saying, one solution for most of your problems.

Since your CT scan of head is normal, you can be reassured that there is no major problem.

Are you getting any exercise done? It would be better if you could exercise 30-45 minutes a day ,5 days a week. Exercise releases endorphins which might make you feel good.Exercise helps reduce depression, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

Other measures that will help most of your health problems are

1. Avoid smoking and alcohol.
2. Avoid egg yolks and red meat like mutton(high in cholesterol).
You can have lean chicken meat, egg whites.
3. Have plenty of fruits and vegetables which your body doesn't have a problem with.
4. Use extra virgin olive oil in your salads as well as in cooking .
5. Reduce salt intake in your diet.

I hope I have answered your queries .I will be happy to answer any further queries you might have.

In case you don't have any further queries, please accept my answer. Any reviews are welcome.

Have a great day.

Dr.Divya Kuttikrishnan
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