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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Brain Injury - is there anything I can do to relieve the pain and reduce symptoms?

    I was involved in a MVA 3 years ago and suffered from severe neck and head pain. I have headaches that last weeks. My head feels sore in general. I take naproxen and panidene forte for my neck pain which helps with the head pain but it only takes the edge off the pain. I have problems sleeping for more than 3 hrs. When moving my neck I get stabbing pain in my neck and head and bright flashes of light in my vision. I have difficulty in concentrating whilst driving and forget things all the time. I have lost my sex drive and become angry easily, which is abnormal. I have had problems with my vision being blurred and unfocused. I have had an MRI scan which indicated small narrowing (2-3mm) around c3-c4. The doctors do not think this is a concern. My back and shoulders are tight and regularly give me a pinching pain when moving. I've tried physio, massage, acupuncture and swim, walk, exercise regularly. The doctors said give it a month or two it will improve. Is there anything I can do?
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  • 1


    Brian Lee


    I graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2004 and have worked in various healthcare settings, including primary care, private practice and community health services, … View Profile

    From your description, I would think physio should be sufficient to address the issue, coz blurred vision, headache, neck pain, tight shoulder are all common presentation of neck injury that an experienced physio sees. I also agree what you were told by your GP as that small narrowing without signs or symptoms of spinal nerve/cord being compressed is really not a concern. Maybe see another physio for a second opinion. I hope this helps

  • Tim Witford

    HealthShare Member

    Thanks for your reply.  I have tried 3 physio's and they just give me exercises which I do on a regular basis.  At the end of the day paying 12k for phsyio over two years is far from fixing the problem and have found a free physio I see monthly that helps with giving me different exercises.  My doctor has just tried medication for miragranes and that has failed.   I cant bend over or move my head suddenly as the pain gets so bad.  I find the muscles in my neck are really tender to touch and are always tight.  I just get the feeling that the problem is to hard to solve for some people  there has to be some solution.  Does anyone have any ideas that can help?

  • 2


    Brian Lee


    I graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2004 and have worked in various healthcare settings, including primary care, private practice and community health services, … View Profile

    Headache can be referred from traps +/- levator scap, unless the exercises were given targeting these two muscles at correct dosage, I prob wouldn't expect any changes, for tough to ease problem, I often use dry needling as well, its effectiveness were well documented in research studies. Joint dysfunction in neck can cause referred pain as well, so I would expect they have done some mobilization. The point is when they performed treatments on you, whether it made any changes? even better or worse is much better than no change, coz that would signal they have targeted the right area. The main reason I suggest physio is because given that you have already gone to the most accurate diagnostic image, ie MRI, and nothing significant was found, that means that we can almost be certain that there is nothing permanently damaged. This leaves the rest to the physio related. 

    If you have seen well experienced physio and surely didn't work, then of course there are things you can try to 'manage' rather than cure the pain, that will be use of TENS machine to numb the pain without actual treating the cause of problem. I however don't advise you go down to this path unless your condition is well investigated, because once you go down to this path, it's going to be a disabling problem that you can't get rid of, and I've seen many ended up in unemployment and on disability pension. 

    If you have spent that much money and wouldn't mind to spend another couple of sessions in physio with me (if you are in Melbourne), I will be keen to have a look. Part of my background is community health which 90% of patients I saw in this area got chronic and complex medical issues, and I was praised for fixing pain that others can't. There was no miracle I can promise, if something can be fixed, it will be fixed with right person, if it can't be fixed, then no matter who you see, it just won't. I will be upfront and tell you what I think after assessment, instead of getting you coming back repetatively. Don't give up yet, coz it eventually ends up worse, ie not only the pain, but also involve work and family.

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