What to do when the symptoms set in…

Okay guys and gals,

We can talk until our faces are blue about how to prevent concussive symptoms. What kind of tea should I drink to get better sleep? What are the best eye masks to keep all the light out when I’m sleeping in? How can I practice gratitude through the way I eat? All of these questions are great. In fact, I believe they’re essential to combating concussive symptoms on a larger, more long-term scale. But what about when the headaches set in? What about the days when every trip up a flight up stairs or quick turn of the head gives us vertigo? These symptoms are inevitable and we need an arsenal of stratagies to counteract them.

Below are the few things I do when I’m having a concussed day:

Tried and True:

  • Sleep– If time permits (a big if, I know), sleep. REM sleep is shown to lead to trim down useless neural networks (1).
  • Spend time with calm and positive friends- I find that no matter how poorly I feel, if I spend time with friends I always leave feeling better and often my symptoms go away.
  • Meditate-wondering how to do this? Check out apps like Headspace and 10% happier. Each has free meditations that you can listen to. Just sit down with your spine straight and breath.

More Individualized

  • Take your time-the easiest thing to do when your head is acting up is panic. Usually this has to do with how I will accomplish everything I need while my world is spinning around my head (literally). This is a great reason to use your planner
  • Listen to “chill” music-similar to spending times with friends, this helps me feel more equanimity and less panic, which can sweep me down the vacuum of negativity rapidly. 
  • Go outside- go for a walk, and do it in nature. Nature sounds are some of the most peaceful to me (even better than my music). Listening to birds chirping or people having conversation really grounds me.
  • Stop with the caffeine!!!-caffeine may seem like a great drug when your tired and have a big project due the next day or the boss pushing you on a project, or you’re hosting a sleep over for your kids and finds. BUT, it will exacerbate all of the concussion symptoms.
    • Without caffeine I: sleep better, panic less, gauge my symptoms more accurately, listen better with friends, practice mindfulness easier, practice patience easier, etc.



  • Progesterone cream- according to recent studies, topical progesterone creams have decreased Glasgow coma scores IMMETDIATELY after injury. (study, study). I am not promoting this, nor saying that the data are gospel. These are just solutions to consider asking your doctor about.
  • Botox- this is specific to migraine headaches from concussions. some of my friends and people in the support groups I am involved in use botox injections around their pain areas. Here is a good WebMD article on how botox is used for migraines.


Lastly, I want to note that these are MY tips tricks and feelings towards others. The guests on Happie Heads have even more tips that might work better for you than these. I am no doctor and am not endorsing any of these or promoting them specifically. Stay disciplined, stay thoughtful, stay funny, and, of course, enjoy the process!



  1. Skolnick B., Mass A., et al. 2014. A clinical trial for progesterone for severe traumatic brain injury. New England Journal of Medicine. 371:2467-2476 URL: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1411090#t=article
  2. Cekic M., Stein D. 2010. Progesterone for Traumatic Brain Injury: An update. Future Neurology. 5(1):37-46 URL: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/715373
  3. FDA approves botox to treat chronic migraines. WebMD. URL: http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/news/20101018/fda-approves-botox-to-treat-chronic-migraines#1