Monthly Archives: April 2011

Stop the shaking

Sometimes when I am excited, nervous or tired; one of my extremities will shake. An example of this is when I do the leg press machine at my gym. I get off the machine and my left leg is fatigued. When I stand as I allow my body to cover my leg, especially around my knee joint will shake out of control.

It’s very annoying.  So sometimes I get off the machine and limp, grab my leg, create expressions of pain on my face to give people a reason why my leg is shaking. That way if someone looked at me and saw my leg shaking they would say to themselves “oh, he’s in pain and that’s why he is limping.”

But I remembered something that my physical therapist had told me. He told me that if my leg began to shake, to push through my heel and this would resolve the shaking.

This works when I am dealing with nervousness or when I am anxious but when I am fatigued (during a strenuous workout) nothing helps. It has gotten better over the years and as I continue to run a mile everyday, the shaking has seemed to subside.

I think that may have something to do with it. I believe that running everyday has strengthen the nerves in my body and have made the connections stronger. I also began taking longer rests in between sets. This gives my body time to recover so that I am able to focus on the task at hand.

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Trouble Sleeping? Try a trick from yoga

I assume, you or some one you know with a brain injury has a hard time sleeping. I know I did during my recovery and I still continue to struggle sleeping to this date.

In my quest to find a solution I have came to the conclusion that ONE of the main factors in finding a restful nights sleep lies in concentration.  I believe one of the biggest contributing factors to why people with brain injuries and even people with out brain injuries cannot not get a restful nights sleep is they lack the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time.

When I say “lack” the ability to concentrate, I am not saying that these people (myself included) are incompetent. I am saying it is very difficult for us to concentrate on a certain task. The task of falling asleep is a tricky one and can very easily be unobtainable.

It’s so easy to think about all the things that is happening in your life, instead of concentrating on sleeping. So what should you focus on that won’t get you excited or anxious?

I work at a health club and I had a conversation with a yoga instructor about how I am so excited about my life and the direction it is heading that I couldn’t sleep. He told me that I should try meditating. I said I had try that but I didn’t know what I should focus on to fall into that deep meditation and find peace. “How do you think about nothing?”

He told me to concentrate on my breathing. He said concentrate and the second you find yourself thinking of what you are doing, you are no longer meditating. He told me that it would take awhile but soon those breaks would become further apart.

The very first night I tried this I fell right to sleep. I listened to my breaths go in and out and I tried to control my breathing. Almost slow it down if it was too fast. It helped so much. The biggest area that it helps is that I am able to take my mind off of everything thats going on in my life and able to concentrate on nothing.

Become Spiritual

If you begin to feel stressed out or overwhelmed turn to the Lord. This was never really a big problem for me, not saying I didn’t get stressed out, but I was always spiritual in a way. When you become lonely and feel like you have no one to turn to, this is untrue!

You have and always will have God. He is there for you no matter what. Just because you cannot see him, he is there, walking beside you. He can help you in so many ways.

-help give you guidance/direction

-calm you down

-give you someone/something to lean on

-give you someone to talk to

-give you something to pray to

All of these things are things finding a faith can provide for you. I’m not saying you have to pray to the same God as I but I am saying find faith. When ever times would get hard I would remember as long as I kept my faith in God I would be okay because I knew God had my back.

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Espresso…

For the longest time, I have had difficulty staying awake enough to accomplish a task. What I mean by this is that I do not fall asleep standing up but I have trouble maintaining focus.

Initial, when I first sustained my injury, I could not find anything that worked. I tried coffee, supplements, everything! Nothing would it was like I was tired no matter what, like I had my mind already  made up that I was going to be tired the rest of the day and there was nothing that I could give my body to attain my focus or energy.

I used to take naps, often….

Now, I am 5 years removed from my accident. I can no longer take a nap when ever I get tired because I am busy (internship, personal training cert, gym, work, etc.).  I needed to find away to stay awake as I was on the go.

There is a coffee machine at my internship. I would attempt to drink a couple of capuchinos throughout the day to help me keep my day running smoothly.

But after away the effect wore off and I stopped being able to fuel my day via a capuchino. I sought something with more strength.

There was a button for espresso. At first I thought it maybe too strong because of the amount of caffeine that were in them. But when I feel myself growing tired I reach for some espresso. IT WORKS FOR ME, EXTREMELY WELL.

I suggest it, give it a try!

Email about mother with a BI

Hi Zack,

 

My name is {I removed the persons name for confidentiality} and I currently live in San Diego,CA. I came across your blog while researching online for available Brain Injury Survivor Help/Support groups. I would like to start by saying that its a great thought and act to share your experiences with other survivors so that they benefit from it. I am also extremely glad to see where you are post this incident and its truly inspiring. I also have a close family member who suffered a brain injury recently and can totally relate to what you must have gone through. I am writing to see if you can provide recommendations or share your personal experiences regarding rehabilitation therapies that can be used at home. (Apologize for the long email but trying to provide as much detail as i can).

 

My mother met with an accident on 08/24/2010 in India and suffered an internal brain injury. She is 69 yrs old.

 

She was admitted to the hospital within a few hours of injury(4 hrs) and her initial CT Scan reported an acute sub-dural and sub-arachnoid haematoma. Craniotomy was performed to remove the blood clot within approximately 5 hours of the injury. She was treated in the hospital for 2 months. While in hospital she was also operated for the following: tracheotomy & gastrostomy.  She had her tracheostomy tube removed in November.


She is home now, her health is stable and we are seeing some extremely slow but steady progress. She has mainly gained most of her consciousness back. Though she still has issues with her right side. She shows extremely rear or no movement in right hand & leg. Right hand/leg reacts to pain/extreme temprature (like when something very cold touches her leg). She tries to talk occasionally but her speech is mostly slurred.

 

Upon release from the hospital she was only recommended physiotherapy. Since she cannot move by herself she is on a passive physiotherapy program. A physiotherapist visits her once a day and provides passive therapy for about 1 hour, mainly focusing on right hand/leg and partial speech therapy. Looking at her progress, it seems like just physiotherapy is not enough. Post TBI rehabilitation services are not that great in India and thus we are struggling to try as much as we can at home.

We have not been able to find any other post brain trauma treatments/therapies available in India and thus I am contacting you. Would like to find out from you what kind of at home treatments would be beneficial for the following :
Improving movement in the right side of the body.
Improving Speech
Could using devices like BioMove/NueroMove be beneficial in retraining the brain ? Any guidance or sharing your personal experience/learning method would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again,


Your message has been sent.
Reply

Zachary Gauvin

show details 9:35 PM (0 minutes ago)
Hello,

I hope you are well regarding your mother, I do not have any
experience with the Biomove/Nueromove devices so I am unable to
support any theories on how well they work.

But things I did to get my speech back is hum a lot to exercise the
vocal cords.I would also do a lot of tongue exercises to strengthen my
tongue. What I mean by this is that I would point my tongue in
different directions to the point I could feel it stretching (up,
down, etc.) This may sound weird but I sang a lot. I love singing in
the car especially and I would really hit the high notes (the best I
could anyway) or any parts of the song that they would hold the note
for an extended period of time. I would try to hold it for the same
because a lot of people don’t realize that it is fatigue which plays a
major factor in our slurred speech. We almost get tired of trying to
form the correct words with our mouths/tongues. At least this is how I
felt.

Regarding the right side of the body. Make her use her right hand for
everything. The only way she is going to get use of the right hand
again is to use. The doctors in rehab used to joke and say it would be
better if they tied my right hand behind my back and only use my left
hand to get use of it back. Some examples of this are brushing her
teeth with her right hand, picking up a cup of water and bringing it
to her mouth or directing your arm/hand to things. Make her walk,
constantly. She may feel lazy and want to but make her any ways. You
have to retrain your body the correct movements so that your brain can
establish the new connections.

From personal experiences, I was a very hard worker and also loved to
go to the gym. These are all things your mother should embrace as she
is attempting to recover. I also was young (17), which is a luxury you
mother does not have. I am not saying that she cannot make significant
gains but I am saying its going to take more time and a lot of hard
work.

I hope this will help you and your mother on your quest to recovery.
best,
Zachary Gauvin