Brain injury rose my heart rate to 130. My hypothalamus fix, brain biofeedback, particularly gamma brainwave training, began to drop it. It was a miracle when I first saw my heart rate drop into the double digits during a 3-minute gamma training screen. But it was low-intensity laser therapy (LILT) that dramatically improved my heart health.
My morning heart rate dropped from the 90s to 80s to, unbelievably, the 70s. And since before the pandemic, the 60s. Heart rate and blood pressure are supposed to drop during sleep, even if daytime stress vaults it into the stratosphere. Specialists claimed mine did after brain injury, based on Holter monitors and 24-hour blood pressure and sleep study results (image at the top). But I found my regular morning wake up usually got it to ascend pretty quickly.
I’ve become used to my heart rate being a healthy mid-60s to maybe 70s (or 80s after a very stressful day) that I forgot about how it used to be in the 90s and 100s. I got a rude reminder Monday morning.
Heart rate 92 first thing, climbing to 116. Chest tight again. Head feeling stuffed with headache without headache pain.
This has happened to me before because…
I’ve run into the problem of managing my own health many times. It’s not of my own choosing I don’t have any specialist overseeing the big picture of my health care, my use of all my medical home devices. Unfortunately, no physician or health care professional desires to learn outside their box even though brain injury care demands a collaborative, continually learning, and specialist-directed home health care. So I was forced to become my own expert. Doctors have said to me: you’re the expert in integrating neurostimulation treatments. Quite frankly, I get sick of all the health management. My new LILT unit has significantly cut down the time I must spend treating myself because it’s more effective and treatment lasts longer, but I still must use it regularly.
I kind of lost track of that.
Between managing a new problem, adjusting to the new unit, running out of batteries for my cranioelectrical stimulation device that lead to halving my use of it, and being tired of the whole health-care thing, I lost track of my neck session schedule.
I’m supposed to use my prescribed LILT neck (concussion) session every other day. When I received the new unit, I used the red lights only because the new unit’s power was like starting laser therapy fresh. I added infrared at the start of March and forgot to ask if I needed to adjust the schedule. I’m just so used to not getting answers that when I can, I find it hard to believe and forget to ask after my initial flurry of questions. Just one more result of how seriously bad brain injury care is. Imagine a cancer or heart patient believing that they won’t get answers or good help from their physicians? Well, I didn’t from my cardiologists (my GPs were unimpressed) because my heart problems stem from my brain and we know how little doctors want to learn about the brain beyond the effing obvious! But I digress…
Anyway, I somehow managed to do only one neck session last week. Yikes! That on top of halving my CES, a part of my hypothalamus fix, and well, my heart rate shot back up. Reading helped drop it a little (reading and writing calm my brain). But it didn’t stick.
Doing the LILT concussion session, decreased my heart rate from 101 to 81 and over the rest of the day, it decreased further into the mid-70s ending at 79 by bedtime. Unfortunately, the chest tightness, the shortness of breath feeling, that comes along with high heart rate didn’t ease. So I also restored my nightly 100Hz CES.
The next morning, my heart rate was back down to 65. Phew. But chest still uncomfortable. Tuesday, my heart rate climbed back into the 90s from a stressful discussion. But it dropped back to 78. My Wednesday morning heart rate was 66, and my chest felt normal. But it climbed back up to 98, and my chest began to get tight again. Clearly, the LILT lasts no more than 48 hours. After today’s neck session, it dropped back down to 80. I still have a tight chest, probably because I’m tried and from the stressors of the day. Plus it’ll take more than a couple of LILT sessions and restoring evening CES to restore me back to where I was.
Meanwhile, my neurodoc said he’ll monitor me. (He’s the only one who talks with me regularly, frequently.) I’m not sure how that’ll help me when he doesn’t understand the neurostimulations I use or at least how they intersect, unless he’s remembering what I occasionally teach him in between venting about the abysmal state of standard brain injury care. But perhaps he’ll notice if I’m forgetting.
I called the clinic up Tuesday, and they advised I use my prescription neck session every other day. This session comprises four placements. The first vertical one extends up the cervical spine to the occipital bone, covering the brain stem. The others cover the sides and base of the neck. This LILT session has a whole-body effect. It regulates heart rate, sleep, digestion, calms the nervous system.
For improving heart rate, LILT works by regulating the autonomic nervous system. Back in 2013, I learned that research shows concussion impairs the autonomic reflex, that is, the brain’s automatic control of heart rate and blood pressure. Since my brain cannot self-regulate, — it can’t control heart rate and blood pressure — I need to use LILT every other day so it can regulate them. The clinic felt that my brain will learn to self-regulate; over time, I’ll be able to drop my LILT use down to every two days and so on.
I’m not so sure.
One thing I learned from this: LILT did not permanently completely fix my heart rate variability and heart rate problems. I ascribe this to trying to fix a knee after it’s been allowed to deteriorate. Some of it is good as new; some not so much. I think, too, the ridiculous amount of stress I’ve lived under for 20 years directly affects my heart, which unfortunately means I need regular countermeasures. So I guess cognitive abilities like my conversational skills are permanently back while my heart rate is not.
The personal home LILT unit is a medical device rated for musculoskeletal and arthritis. It’s still under investigation for concussion. BioFlex Laser personal home units are available currently for 10% off with jeejeebhoyflex10. You can read more here. Well worth it!