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Concussion Frustration: 7 Reasons Your Doctor Doesn’t Listen to You (And, What to Do About It)

As the Old Saying Goes…

…If I had a dime for every time someone with concussion said “my doctor doesn’t listen to me”. Nearly every day in clinical practice patients report to me one way or another this very real concern. While this is true across all areas of specialty at our center, it is far more prevalent in those suffering the effects of concussion and post-concussion syndrome.

There are several theories as to why many doctors don’t take the time to listen. These can be explored at length with a simple internet search. Here, I will briefly explore some of these more accepted views and, more importantly, what I have come to see is the real truth behind why so many are being ignored, and in many cases dismissed, by their ‘trusted’ health care providers.

The Usual Suspects

  • Time. Most primary care physicians are pressured by the demands of heavy patient loads and declining insurance reimbursements. That leaves you as the patient at the mercy of a provider that may only give you one minute or less to voice your concerns; which for those of you with concussion are often too many to list.
  • Distraction. Electronic records, insurance forms, mobile devices, and excessive patient volume can cause doctors to get caught up in things that are not right in front of them. That is you, the patient. If a doctor is distracted, they will not do a great job at listening.
  • Bias. It has been established that many doctors will spend less time with individuals based on race, gender, and other factors such as socio-economic status. Also, patients that come in with recurring complaints are more likely to be dismissed or ignored.

While I believe these are accurate (although unacceptable) reasons for many being short-changed when it comes to their health care provider’s attention; there are more specific reasons doctors don’t listen when it comes to the laundry list of life struggles that can accompany concussion and post-concussion syndrome.

 The Real Story Doctors Don’t Listen to Those With Concussion

  • Ignorance. This may seem like a harsh term to many (particularly the doctors), although it simply means that most primary care providers lack the knowledge and information necessary to properly question and screen for these types of conditions.
  • Invisible. Concussions are not seen on CT scans or found in blood work. They are silent injuries that result in functional problems with balance, vision, cognitive abilities, and more. Conventional medical approaches are not well suited for these conditions; therefore, doctors are less inclined to listen to problems they cannot treat.  
  • Overwhelming. The number of symptoms and conditions that can result from a hit to the head are staggering (we’ve compiled a list of over 50!). Most doctors when presented with 5, 10, or more complaints may focus only on 1 or 2 as this is what they are accustomed to.
  • Unknown. Even with all the attention given to concussion over the past several years in sports, the media, and movies, this is still uncharted territory for most providers in mainstream medicine. This is also true for many of the doctors those with concussion are being referred to.

So, What’s the Answer?

The internet is full of strategies to get your provider to listen better. This, however, is not the focus of this article. And, it will not serve you well to try and get those that don’t understand concussion to listen to you! What you need to do is seek out the services of a qualified functional neurologist who is well versed in the art of listening. And, who understands the multitude of symptoms those with concussion and post-concussion syndrome experience. Only then will you be able to get answers as to what the best method of treatment will be for you. Concussions are real, and so are the symptoms and solutions!


For more information please call us at 828.708.5274, or visit any of the following resources:

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  • Avatar

    Patricia Woods


    Hello I am scard of what has happen sents july 17 2016 and march 2 2017 I have had many surgerys and pain managment also bipolar all have been managed i moved to SC from PA where it took 6 yrs and good team of doctors to get health and quality of life I raised 2 kids and worked sents 15 well sents getting to SC lost all hard work from start of getting here lack of good doctors i sent records 4 months in advance came here to be near kids went to PA with job sents they july thing i have fallen and been out of mind for real i remember some which told not real but they have put me in acoma 2 times saying they could not sedate me i have had five eposides in theses months 1 i fell all over body brusid i hit my head and i have been knocked out due to abusive marrages sents 16 i know at least possitive 15 times in my life the most recent was 2 months ago i live alone they said someone is hurting yu no im the only one here have not even dated my kids and i dont talk anymore because this happen im scard because i never know what happen or if it will happen again all they do is cat scan well i want brain test pet or what ever it takes im not physcotic i think my brain has injury but no one will do anything but cat scan i have had cat scan miss total obstuction in lg intestant till trama surgen found an my bowles came up from mouth and hemotoma from head stomp 10 days latter and i could not turn head surgen had to cut and put tube to drain blood i had black eyes cat scan missed it it is a money test that is why im sending this i will be 57 and now i am in fear of what if this happens again and what has happened do you think you could do real braininjery test my memory is worse my vison my fear of what happen is most ,they blamed on meds i had been on for years and now all have been taken but a few and it happened 2 times after so they dont show to much med in blood work or i never failed drug test or count and bipolar meds same for 14 yr they never gave me a reason or would talk to me about what happen or my kids dont talk about it i dont know truth and I have lost the only reason I came to SC
    was to be near my kids and be a grandmother we are not even talking and I am lost at what to do know the hospital got all my doctors to kind of not see me and put me on some sort of abuse site even though i never failed drug or count test in my life i did 2 spinal cord stimulatortrils all sorts of non med things in PA with my pain mangement doctor who had real concernfor his profesion and went to hershy
    medical to try and inlarge what is left i have had colectomy and badly done on third abdominal surgey 81 % lg colon dorment removed still live on laxatives because of a loop left instead of tight ,i went in 30 due to colon cancer family history first 1 24 polp 3 pre cancer so many year everytime more of them so lot of burning on removal first surgen was o just shorten colon but when i woke up he said i had cyest on ovary (i had no ovary) and he took out siqmoid and reconstucted rectum it was a nitemare he did wrong surgery and staff infection and complete obstuction to follow also 3 back surgerys last one fushion did not go well but i made it threw my life is never been same but this what is going on is more then that it is my sanity i know it has to be in the brain my fear of what and if and when it will happen has me alone and no doctors who will test me for brain injury can you help I have atena medicare but it is threw my retiree mack truck plan so is better then reg,please let me know if there are test you can do to see if i have or dont have brain injury the hospital has tainted my records and i dont know how to fix this o i am telling you the truth there is no pain management rug test failed and they count every moth so meds are not the problem i am off all but a couple and no pain meds because i just gave up fighting for truth now need to get the test i have begged all doctors to do on brain but none would
    thank you inadvance if you can not help just let me know nothing shooks me in the medical field anymore I know i have to get new doctors in NC due to all mine in contract with hospial who has made a mess of my life i dont even hardly remember the /2 stay or leaving i took a taxi home 30 miles something wrong they sent me home like that my sister told me most of it and bank reflex the charges i have tryed primary doctor and he is also with hospital and so i have to get all new doctors i lived in SC 22 yrs before moving with job to PA I only wish i never moved back if i new the medical down fall i would not i have lost myself threw this last 2 and half yrs here
    Thank you


    • Avatar

      Dr. Michael Trayford



      The short answer is yes, we have many tests to measure brain function. This link will give you an idea of many of the tests we offer that can help to determine how well you brain is functioning and the relationship between head injuries you’ve had and your current level of function.

      It would be best for you to call us at 828.708.5274 for a free brief consultation to discuss options for you and when you can get in for testing.

      Take care and we hope to hear from you soon.

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