One patient’s journey to a pain-free life
The first time Trent sustained a concussion, it was the result of a kick to the head playing rugby. Just twenty-two, Trent took three weeks off from playing while the headaches subsided, getting back on the field as soon as he could. Five months later while on a ski trip Trent suffered a fall, cracking his helmet in half. This time Trent’s symptoms were more acute; the headaches became constant, and the dizziness confused him, fogging his thoughts.
Coaching rugby, his job installing HVAC in Calgary’s downtown, spending time with his girlfriend – in no time all the activities they enjoyed together slowly began to erode as Trent’s headaches took over his life, stripping his days down to a bare minimum of interactions.
Trent saw specialist after specialist. For weeks he attended a chronic concussion clinic, undergoing trigger point injections, nerve blocks and athletic therapy. Still the headaches endured. Trent thought, when am I ever going to feel better?
When Trent was diagnosed with cervicogenic headaches at the integrated concussion clinic, he made gains with a facet joint injection for a little over a year. However, the disappointment from the second injection was all the greater when the headaches began again.
Now more than five years into his recovery journey, and feeling as though he was starting from scratch, Trent agreed to see his girlfriend’s chiropractor, Dr. Alim Kara. Dr. Kara’s approach was different than what he had experienced with the headache clinic staff, physiotherapists and general practitioners Trent had seen prior. Dr. Kara asked questions, listened carefully, he wanted to understand the pain – where it came from, and how he could help Trent reach his goal of living a pain-free life.
Together, they came up with a treatment plan including diversified chiropractic, dry needling, electrical acupuncture, soft-tissue therapy, cupping, lifestyle advice, pain management education, rehabilitation and strengthening exercises. Initially, Dr. Kara saw Trent twice a week for the first two weeks, then once per week for two weeks, then eventually twice per month for two months before transitioning into a more maintenance and preventative treatment schedule of every couple of months, as needed.
As Trent’s headaches and pains subsided, his transformation was undeniable. He began to enjoy life again, joining in on the activities he had missed out on for so long. Trent’s journey to recovery was hard fought thanks to the support of this healthcare team, composed of physiotherapists, athletic therapists and chiropractic. Pain-free at last, Trent continues to see Dr. Kara for maintenance and prevention, scheduling an appointment every couple of months. His advice for those suffering from post-concussion symptoms, including headaches?
Be strong through the hard times. It gets better.
Related article: 5 things you should know about concussions