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Turn out the lights and turn off the music!

What does it mean when you’re sensitive to light and sound?

Light and sound sensitivity often seem like such strange symptoms. You can’t be around loud noises or they’ll set you off, or headaches start with flashes of bright light. Why? How does this happen?

brain and brain stem headacheLight and Sound sensitivities are very common in headaches, migraines, and post concussion injuries as well as traumatic brain injuries and strokes. They’re typically a result of dysfunction or injury to the cerebellum, frontal lobe, midbrain, or a result of excessive inflammation or infection.

I want to help explain to you WHY some people experience light and sound sensitivity. The brain is a fantastic organism. It has hundreds of thousands connections that either activate or inhibit the next neuron down the line to create the desired output. The MIDBRAIN is where the two areas that deal with light and sound live, and they’re both constantly receiving information from our environment.

Think about it. Unless you’re sleeping, you’re receiving information through your retina or eardrum that is processed from noise or light into meaningful information that helps you to make decisions about where to set your drink, when to turn the steering wheel, when to respond to a question, or when to run from an attacking lion. Once we receive this information, our brains detect whether or not this is a threat to our survival and it launches an autonomic and muscular response to it.light and sound sensitivity

In the case of light or sound sensitivity, the signals sent by the inferior and superior colliculi are not being inhibited by their neurological counterparts the basal ganglia and the cerebellum.

Let me explain.

Let’s say someone experiences a severe headache after turning their head, or turning their whole body (like in a car, in a chair, or on the tea-cup ride at the county fair). The origin of this headache is going to be of vestibular/cerebellar or autonomic origin. These parts are not integrating together properly and are making the brain essentially freak out. The result is too much information being sent to the SC or the IC from the cerebellum (which isn’t being inhibited) which activates the head pain centers.

If someone experiences a headache after having excessive light in their eye, then the midbrain itself is the unstable region. If movement or standing up creates a headache, it’s often the cerebellum.

Once we review a full case history with a patient, we are able to determine most of what is causing the problem, then we help to zone in and identify the exact pieces that are unstable and causing your problems. Once identified, we are able to effectively rehabilitate these regions which help to improve your quality of life, decrease your symptoms, and get back to living the life you were meant to live.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms talked about this this post, please contact our office and we will lead you down the road to recovery.

Call now for a neurological evaluation and to begin your healing today 480-756-2600