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Recovery progress after stroke and vertebral artery dissection

This is an update about my recovery at 8 weeks after a vertebral artery dissection and stroke with images from my latest MRA.

I have been meaning to provide an update on my recovery progress after suffering the vertebral artery dissection and stroke. I had another MRA (magnetic resonance angiogram) scan of my head and neck vasculature on January 30th, about eight weeks after the stroke and six weeks after beginning the anticoagulant therapy.

MRA results

The report I received from the radiologist who read/interpreted the MRA images stated that my vertebral artery had an “essentially normal appearing lumen” with no signs of the dissection from before. This is simply amazing to me that the dissected vertebral artery has healed completely.

While I’m overjoyed, I do need to await the consult with my neurologist to discuss the MRA report and determine what happens next in my treatment plan. That appointment is in about 10 days from today. My expectation is that I’ll still need one or more follow-up MRAs to watch for any potential issues with my vertebral arteries or cranial vasculature—just in case—and hopefully I can scale back or discontinue the anticoagulation therapy immediately.

Vertebral artery images: then and now

Below are images of my vertebral artery showing the dissection and narrowing of the lumen ← as compared to the same after six weeks of anticoagulant therapy → showing a return to normal size and function.

Comparison MRAs showing vertebral artery dissection ← and recovery →


And, below is the larger image of the latest MRA of the carotid and vertebral arteries with the right side showing signs of recovery.

My follow-up MRA showing recovery of right vertebral artery 8 weeks after dissection.

What now?

My primary doctor has cleared me for any activity I want to do including running, cycling, and other sports with the exception of anything at high altitudes (> 10,000 ft.) or at extreme pressure (scuba diving). I’m slowly getting back into my fitness/training regimen with an eye toward some ultra running goals later this year. With the recurrence possibility of this type of artery dissection and stroke slim to none, I intend to live life fully and demonstrate that exercise truly is the best medicine.

782 replies on “Recovery progress after stroke and vertebral artery dissection”

Hi, search for my posts (Agus or Agustin) I explain how much workout I can do a week and how much I have to rest to recover properly. In the first months you have to take it easy. More than 10 minutes is too much in every aspect. I can tell you that after 3 and a half years I can ride my mountain bike even with one vertebral artery gone (It didn’t heal). Be safe

Thank you Agus.
So really is just more time required before I can expect to exercise normally, or somewhat normally again.

Hi all. I’m in the UK and I had a VAD 8 days ago. I’m 54 so I guess outside the usual age range for it but nonetheless, here we are. Set off for a run, slow pace, went about 100 metres and felt a sharp pain in my neck, left side. Started to lose balance, dizzy and nauseous and had to sit on the pavement for ten minutes. Made my way back to my car, and thought it was recurring malaria. Drive home and then to hospital. Luckily, other than diagnosis, the hospital just scanned my brain. No intervention and very luckily, no side effects by the time I left hospital 5 days later. As I write this, I wouldn’t know I’d had a VAD last week. I’m carefully taking my time and walking quite alot. I want to run, but I was advised at least two weeks off. (I have had a he’ll of a twelve months – June 19, heart attack, August 19 malaria and typhoid, June 20 VAD… I’m both unlucky and lucky at the same time!) take care all of you.

Hi everyone, I had my VAD around 3 weeks ago. I’m 17 so obviously it came as a shock to me as well as my parents. I was out for a run, something i used to do all the time (5/6 kilometres a day) so it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me, within 5 minutes or so i felt a sharp pain on the right side of my neck but continued running as i thought it was a result of the exercise. When i returned home however i realised something was wrong, I started becoming numb on my right side and began to stumble about so i went to bed early thinking the symptoms would resolve by morning. The next day i woke up and couldn’t get out of bed, the numbness had become worse and i was totally unable to move the left side of my body so we called and ambulance and i was admitted to the ICU and stayed there until i got my MRI scan, confirming it was indeed a VAD. Luckily within a few days i was able to stand up again and 3 weeks in and im still going strong, the strength has returned in my right side and im anticipated to make a full recovery. There’s one think that still irks me and that’s the stoke like symptoms like the numbness and tingling on my right side that continue to persist, just wondering from experience how long can this take to resolve so i can feel again.

Hi Eoghan
Did u actually have a stroke? I truly tho k every case is so different. I had a VAD after a trauma to the head w concussion. Then.. I had a stroke to cerebellum with an aneurysm that still remains. I’m 2 years out and still struggle w effects ,but no where near as bad. They were mostly from my stroke. Your so young! I’m sure you hear that all the time… I’m 47 and hear it! Lol I think the most important tho g for you in my opinion is finding out WHY this happened to you. Crazy part is… I know sometimes there’s no explanation and that’s difficult to swallow. I’ve met many people in your situation that have had then effects of their VAD gone with in 3-6 months Or even sooner. It’s really so personalized. Like a fingerprint. Allll different. I would ask a Sr if there is any Benefit from physical therapy And start ASAP if they think so. Patients. Music. Meditation. Rest. Make sure you know your limits….weight lifting and movement restrictions etc. good luck to you. I’m on IG if u want to follow or send me any messages I’ll be glad to chat!!! @traylo17
Xo good luck, don’t give up

I had a left VAD in Oct 2019.
I was told I have FMD in my left vertebral artery, but I feel my intense work outs may have contributed.
I was previously a highly functioning mother of 2, working full time, doing high intensity interval training 5 mornings a week and juggling kids extra curricular around this.
Seven months on my symptoms are fatigue, dizziness when turning my head, anxiety of it recurring and find it hard to do anything under pressure or quickly.
Whenever I exercise for more than 20 minutes or so I feel it sets me back and I am dizzy, tired, and feel like I’m floating or rocking on a boat for the days following.
Can anyone relate? Everything I read on recovery says physical therapy and exercise is key, but I can’t do it without feeling awful.
I am so impatient, when will I feel normal again?

It will go away, You Will be fine. There is nothing wrong with your workout. Your artery has been working at least 60 times per minute since You were born si there is no way of avoiding vad. Unless You have another desease You don’t have to sorry. Dizzines lasts depending on cerebellum damage, but it will go away

I left comments on this site 6 years ago following my cerebrovascular surgery for a right vertebral artery dissecting aneurysm (that occured in 2013 and due to increase in size surgery was my only option) where the aneurysm was clipped and the dissection was wrapped. Six years on and I still have irreversable nerve damage. I am unable to walk freely. I still experience major migraines, vertigo and severe memory inadequacies. Follow up 6 years following surgery Neurosurgeon can’t comment on longemity of success as there are no cases to compare with. Those telling others to carry on and things will repair and get better are full of shit. It sucks when it happens and it continues to suck for every day after then.

Terrie, I suggest calling the Institute for Neurological Recovery in Boca and find out if their treatment may help. I have post stroke Thalamic pain which seems to be worsening with time. My stroke was 6 years ago. I went to Boca for a treatment and plan to go back and get more. Also look into LDN. I have started that. Your doctors will advise against both because they are “off label” but functional medicine doctors are more open to try whatever might work.

Hi Mary. Thanks for response and future ideas. This sounds great but I’m in Australia. It is disappointing your option isn’t feasible for me…. but thanks.

Terrie, Just for fun, there is a 60 Minutes Australia clip about INR’s treatment on their website.

I am having improvement with Lamotrigine, with no side effects. Not much change at 50 mg, but significant for me at 75 mg. Trials show that 200 mg optimum. (I washed kitchen floor yesterday. Not able to do for 5 years.) This med has been around awhile and well tolerated. You may want to ask your doctor about it.

Hi to all of you! I am glad to find this thread! I had a severe headache with severe vertigo in the beginning of August 2019. At first I was told I just had a migraine and I dismissed it but the headache was so bad I insisted on more testing. I found myself getting an MRI with no contrast of just my head. All that found were hyper-intensity in my white matter of the brain. I also was told I had a partial empty Celia(SP). at this point I was about 4 weeks out from the initial episode. I still had major issues with headaches, cognitive, and balance issues. Then they sent me for an MRI with contrast because the neurologist I finally got to see decided she would suggest it as a precaution. The MRI tech ended up taking it of my neck as well as my head. She asked me if that was ok. I got a call 1hr later that I needed to go to the hospital for a spontaneous bilateral vertebral arterial dissections. Here we are all these months later and my right side has healed greatly but the left side shows minimal improvement. I still don’t have clarity if I had a stroke but one of my eyes drooped and I still have cognitive issues. Is this possible that I had a mild stroke and they didn’t catch it because it took so long. I read that the hyper-intensities of the white matter can indicate damage. I hope this heals completely I am afraid it will happen again because they have no clue what happened. Now I have sharp pains in my neck on the left side and I worry it will cause further issues. I still have cognitive issues and I am off balance a lot. I have been cleared to go back to exercise but I am still afraid. Any suggestions?????

My husband’s dissection caused a hemorrhage stroke in the cerebellum. His balance was off for several months, but he improved greatly. Thankfully the hemorrhage was small and healed. The left dissected artery never reopened but his body has compensated. I’d think that a stroke is very possible, but should be visible with MRI or other testing. Lifestyle change exercise, stress mgmt, meditation, Mediterranean diet, antinflammatory foods, vitamin c, folic acid, and lots of patience and prayer have all been part of healing since 2017 when he had the dissection. So few answers, and no cause discovered. We’ve had top neurologists in Houston, and it’s still an x file of medicine. Blessings of good health to you for a full recovery.

Hi, I suffered right spontaneous Vertebral Artery Disection and a cerebelar stroke 3 years ago. It took 2 months to diagnose it. The artery didn’t heal but the blood flow is compnsated by the other arteries through the Willis circle. I can have a “normal life” or close to it.

It takes time, months or 1 and a half year to feel that the symptons are going away. Feeling like in a boat, dizziness, mind fog. Believe me, no matter desparate you feel, it goes away eventually! Have a lot rest. I mean sleeping for more than 8 hours a day. Be patience, surround you by your love ones, and take a step at a time. I only took 2 months off work. Now I can even work out, exercise and pratice my fauvorite sport: mountain biking (just a little bit). It is a huge change from a intense amateur to a occasional sports man, but I’m happy that I’m almost fully recovered.

I just have baby aspirin to prevent clots from a another spontaneous VAD. It is something extremelly weird. The probability of suffering a VAD it lower than 1/100.000 people a year. In my case, I’m joint hyperlax and the probability is a bit higher, but still rare. Don’t worry about it and focus in your recover. There’s no magic trick than having a lot of rest. Let your body slowly heal. Speak low, walk slow but steady, avoid vertigo triggers like intense light, loud noises, etc. It will be normal if you feel dizzy walking an aisle of a supermarket or outdoors in the dark. Check out the american “Dizziness Handicap Inventory” and score yours. You will be surprised that your are in the middle of the scale. Be strong and get well
Best regards and best luck

3 years Update
I’m fine and very happy considering I suffered a VAD and a cerebelar stroke 3 years ago (Jan 2017) and the right artery didn’t heal. I can handle the brief ‘being in a boat’ feeling after standing up or turning my head suddenly. I can work, I can do a normal life, I can even practice some sports. I have the baby aspirin just to prevent a clot in case of another VAD. The only way to get to the weekend is to rest a lot
I usually sleep 7 hours, but If I want to make it to the end of the week, I have to sleep for more than 8 hours on thursdays or fridays. After resting or lying down I feel again like in my “new normal”, which is quite an acceptable situation. The nausea is gone. The lightheadedness is mild and just for short periods of time. I think the body and the mind get used to the new situation and they don’t turn the previous alarms on. The good news is that the scary feeling that something is really wrong with my leg coordination or my gait is completly gone. I’m aware that the bad coordination feeling is present when walking and feeling very tired, but it does not trigger vertigo symptoms. 3 years ago, it took me 4 hours being completly still to recover from the dizziness and nausea.

If you have had a VAD recently, be patient, lay down as much as you can to let the blood to get to your head easily, and keep in mind that is going to vanish eventually

Good luck for everyone


This thread has been super helpful for me. Thanks to everyone who shared their stories .

I suffered a VAD about a month ago when I sneezed. It didn’t feel like a violent sneeze or anything, but I got immediate vertigo and nausea. I thought it might just be a migraine, so I laid down until my boss basically forced me to go to the hospital. In retrospect, I remember having horrible neck pains the day before, but I just thought it was a pulled muscle. I didn’t have any physical trauma or anything like that, so we’re unsure where the tear came from. The neurologists said it was small enough to heal itself, so like one of the women in another comment, I’m also taking 325 mgs of aspirin every day.

I found this post while looking for answers on healing, and am encouraged about my recovery. I still get little headaches here and there, and the occasional burst of lightheadedness, but it’s never bad enough to affect my daily life. For the first two weeks after I got out of the hospital, I didn’t sneeze, though. That was giving me serious anxiety, but once I did, nothing bad happened and it was a huge relief. The more days that pass, the better I feel, and the less I think about it happening again.

I was doing CrossFit 3/4 times a week, and I’m excited to get back to it, but it seems like it’ll be a couple more months before that happens. Hang in there everyone, and thanks again for all the stories!

My husband’s VAD was also unexplained and sneezing seemed to have affected the tear. There is little explanation. Genetics, previous neck trauma, inflammation, stress- many possible factors, and the unknown with this health event leaves us with more questions than answers. We are two years out- one minor episode after year one, but doing quite well. His artery never reopened, so he’s minus one highway, but we take extra care with his neck and just move forward. These type of incidents are unsettling, scary, and strange, but it did remind us of how fragile we all are, and how precious life is. Many blessings for good health to you

I wanted to ask you how long it took after your VAD to return to work and normal activities ?
I’m at almost 2 weeks after my hospitalization and I’m still very lightheaded, unsteady walking and have bad headaches …I have been unable to work.
Any feed back would be greatly appreciated

Has your doctor given you anything for your head and neck pain? Mine gave me gabapentin for the headaches and a muscle relaxer for my neck.? (I guess your neck muscles respond to the dissection and worsen your neck pain). It was so wonderful to have some relief from the headaches! You should ask your doctor maybe? I am a week out from my hospitalization.

Im at one month with all your same symptoms….less severe now but unsteady walking … my neurologist says it’s usually 4-6 wks average
Started amitriptyline for headache and vestibular physical therapy which has helped .
Good luck

I suffered a cerebral stroke with dissections in both vertebral arteries in Jan, 2019 with brain damage left pica. I have made great strides, but still can’t drive very far with a lot of stimuli. I get nauseous and what I’m told is vertigo. At times, I know I placed an item somewhere, but when I look for it in that spot 2-3 times, I don’t see it. Only to see it the 4th time. It’s like my eyes are seeing it, but the message isn’t getting to my brain the first few tries. I’ve been cleared for work, but I can only drive 10 minutes without getting sick and my job is 40 minutes away. I live in a very rural area with no taxi, Uber, friends and/or family to drive me. I’m also scared I may or may not see someone/something. My short term disability ran out and I have no income now, so I can’t pay someone to drive me. My job wants a list of restrictions, but all my neurologist will put is no straining of neck. I guess that doesn’t suffice because all they keep asking me is what I can do. My ST says I still have some brain fatigue and concentration issues. I don’t know until I try to do what I was doing. I have heard nothing from them, like they are not even willing to try. I seen a Neuro- Opthalmologist. My eyes are healthy and the issues are stemming from my brain. Indicated my brain needs more time to heal. I’m at the end of my rope here. If anyone can supply direction as to what my next step should be, please let me know. I don’t know what to do. Thank you in advance.

I suffered a cerebral stroke with dissections in both vertebral arteries in Jan, 2019. I have made great strides, but still can’t drive very far with a lot of stimuli. I get nauseous and what I’m told is vertigo. At times, I know I placed an item somewhere, but will look for it in that spot 2-3 times not see, only to see it the 4th time. I’ve been cleared for work, but I can drive 10 minutes without getting sick and my job is 40 minutes away. I live in a very rural area with no taxi, Uber, friends and/or family to drive me. My short term disability ran out and I have no income now, do I can’t pay someone to drive me. My job wants a list of restrictions, but all my neurologist will put is no straining of neck. I guess that doesn’t suffice because all they keep asking me is what I can do. I don’t know until I try to do what I was doing. I have heard nothing from them, like they are not even willing to try. I seen a Neuro- Opthalmologist. My eyes are healthy and the issues are stemming from my brain. Indicated I needed more time to heal. I’m at the end of my rope here. If anyone can supply direction as to what my next step should be, please let me know. I don’t know what to do. Thank you in advance.

Missy. I can totally relate. My VAD &stroke was 2-25/18 and I’m still in vision therapy, OT & PT… not working. I have had to retest at motor vehicle for my license after taking 25 of driving lessons. I had a trauma n hit my head bad which caused this. I have the same memory issues as you too. I feel a lot of doctors don’t feel all of theses issues are caused by the stroke and it’s extremely frustrating. Have you spoken to a lawyer at all? Get some advice for disability. Also, do you have any brain injury support groups in your area. They are so so so informative on where to go for all of these things when you’re in a situation like yours. I am in New Jersey and I deal with the BIANJ support group and they are very helpful. They have a hotline to ask any questions and can lead you in The right direction. May even possibly able to help financially. Your situation is very difficult I understand. It almost makes you feel like your in a medical situation trying to heal and now your stuck and just expected to resume life . It’s wrong. . Missy it’s your new normal FOR NOW. It will get better day by day . I’m not a dr , but a survivor, like you. If you have Instagram find me I’m traylo17 , I’m always here to talk. I don’t have all the advice but I’m here to listen . Good luck we are all here for you .

I had a vad 2 years ago. I recovered completely. 2 years later I’ve had another vad. Now I workout. I’m concerned i won’t be able to work out. The vads appear to be spontaneous although I’m very active.

Tyler- do you have any other cardiovascular issue, or have you been tested for a genetic issue? There’s so little known about VAD and I wonder what your docs are looking at.

Hi Tyler,
I hope you’re ok considering your situation
I had a VAD 2 and a half years ago. I’m hyperlax (excesive joint movility). Nothing pathologic it is genetic, but I’ve always had a lot of ankle sprains a few shoulder and knee dislocations. I’ve been told that if one is hyperlax, this tissue condition is related with VAD. The internal tissue of the arteries is too “flexible” and it is prone to tearing while exerting and streching the neck at the same time
I keep on riding my mountain bike (only downhill) trying to avoid neck whiplash

I hope you get on well soon

Regards Agus

I’ve had Cartoid artery dissection in August this year which caused a stroke of 3 small clots I’m suffering from headaches, sickness and dizziness still 6 weeks later, was this the same for you? Or anyone else that’s had the same. The consultant said I should be ok now and is trying to say it’s a seperate issue to something else. My main symptoms were all of the above. So I find it hard for them to say this..

Hi…JO.. IM NOT A DR… I’m a SURVIVOR!!.. 1 year 1/2 after my dissection and stroke time my cerebellum .
BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE. I still Experience dizzy spells and have a hard time laying flat or to the right. Everybody’s issue was different. Just a millimeter off I’m the brain can make a huge difference when it comes to these situations.. personally I don’t understand how a doctor can say that. I’ve talked to people years after a situation like mine that have fully recovered.. and lots of others who struggle terribly on a daily basis . Be your own advocate. See as many therapist and drs , specialists as you can. Attend groups , meeting and surround yourself with a wonderful support system. I’m still nauseated.. dizzy.. off balance.. it’s so so so much better but it is still present. I’m thankful I’m here and happy to be able to share my story. Good luck to you. You know your body best!!! Prayers and well wishes !!!

I had a left VAD which resulted is a basilar clot. Started on a Friday (3/1/19) with a persistent headache on left lower skull/neck. Thought I had slept funny. Kept on that Saturday and by Sunday I was just fatigued.
That evening I felt weak. Laid down on the floor, felt better and sat in a chair. EMTs came and I convinced them it was a false alarm. They left and about 15 minutes later right side got weak and speech very slurred. Needless to say the EMTs U-turned back and took me to nearest hospital. CT scan ran and the clot was discovered.
Rushed to Comprehensive Stroke facility and they tried to dislodge but vessel was too narrow. Placed into ICU with heparin drip for 48 hours. Speech came back and besides exhaustion felt better. Discharged that Thursday and now recovering at home.
Eliquis, 2 BP meds and strong statin (had been on weaker BP meds and statin for several years). Had all risk factors. Overweight, father had massive stroke at same age (65.5) that left him a hemipalegic, drank a couple craft beers daily, smoked 1 good cigar daily, BP was always in high 140s/high 80s, ate a lot of high fat/sodium and processed foods.
Now, have lost almost 20#, BP averaging upper 120s/upper60s, eating lots and lots of veggies, fruits, fish and chicken. No alcohol or smoking since the stroke. Keeping totals at 1500 calories daily. Will begin going back to gym 4/15.
Passed driving tests and had first doctor follow up. Looking good, slight loss of coordination on right side evident when walking heel to toe in straight line. Re-imaging scheduled for mid-July. Still have neck aches but much less than prior to stroke Nonetheless, have what I call post-stroke paranoia every time I feel a twitch or pain on my right side. Not severe enough for therapy unless it persists.
Biggest hurdle (aside from physically healing) is that everyone looks at me and says “you look great” or “can’t even tell”. Need to voice that I am glad I look good but I’m dealing with quite a bit of physical and psychological things without looking like I want sympathy. Just need understanding.

Pat. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND. I’m one year out (concussion , 40 days later stroke with VADthat was never found in tests, and aneurysm which I still have) im still in therapy and dealing w many issues. All you see is a turned in foot. A very small speech delay and a hand that drops almost everything. I’ve lost a huge chunk of friends and even some family I dont want to be around. I’ve found that I actually think people don’t know what to say so they make you try and feel better with sort of a “ compliment .” What they don’t know is that it’s actually pissing us off and not acknowledging what we are going through. I told my friends and family “ thank you , but I’d rather hear YOU APEAR HAPPY TODAY that’s great! Seems like a good day am I right? Or ,I love your smile ! You sound sad today. Etc..Anything else than “you look great though “Just because I attempted to put on “ real clothes” and maybe some lipgloss today doesn’t mean I’m not dealing with the horrible PTSD, dizziness, off balance, vision issues , nausea, struggle finding words, right side weakness, light and sound sensitivity and on and on. …. I get very emotional with major anger outbursts, crying etc… so I may look 25 yrs old at 47 and cute & healthy but walk in my shoes then talk !! I don’t want this to be about me but sometimes hearing other people’s experience helps. Only one year dealing with this and INVISIBLE ILLNESS part has been one of the biggest struggles. I’m not big in the “ it could be worse” phrase either! Of course it could. Could be better too?!? Lol I don’t feel gratitude off of someone else’s misfortune. People see you start to try and live and you get talked about . “ oh well I saw her at cvs so she must be fine!” Lol ok!!! Yea that’s how it works. Ok. Try having an 11 yr old son and mom doesn’t drive. That’s fun !!!
Pat, it took almost this entire year to START to let that go a bit. I hate to say but there’s people in life that will understand, be empathetic, and encouraging.. and there’s some who will be in denial of your health, ignore, say your faking, or simple not acknowledge the fact your hurting, have issues or need help. I’ve turned to 3 different support group settings . All different but I love them all. I find it helps SOOO MUCH being around others who go through a lot of the same things. You have to accept the invisible illness diagnosis. I searched for stroke support groups but at my age I found much more help with TBI, (traumatic brain injury groups) or the BIANJ groups)Brain injury awareness of NJ) I live in NJ. Search out some support on line , or ask at rehab centers. Not sure if your that type of person. The only thing you can do is nicely tell the close people how that makes you feel. That you need to be heard even if they don’t understand. Which they may not. I did the isolation thing for a while because I couldn’t deal with people but that’s so not healthy. I speak w a psychologist now and she made me really understand a lot of this. Kind of make sense of it all ,if you will. I needed to feel validated!!! This online community that you reached out to really has helped me through As well. It was my first step. Good luck to you. Stay well . Keep pushing through .. you’ll get to a happy place with in yourself. That’s what truly matters.

Hi Pat, I visit this site annual since my stroke three years ago that was caused by VAD. I needed this site after my brain injury. Neurologist considered my brain injury as a minor stroke, but there is nothing minor about a stroke. I was fortunate to recover with the help from speech, physical, occupational therapists. However, I should have been recommended to a mental health therapist. I struggled with the residual effects from the stroke. Some were physical but mostly psychological. My anxiety was severe and had mild depression. I experienced some of the same things that you and Tracy underwent socially. And of cause, I questioned the universe; why me and why now. Because I am a school counselor, I saw my PTSD symptoms. Therefore, sought out a therapist two months after I returned to work. I needed help understanding how to have peace with myself and to bring JOY back into my life regardless of my current existence. The therapy allow me to see my (new/evolved) purpose and that it gave me new meaning. Mental health is greatly tied to physical health and because of this I became, two years, a licensed therapist in NJ. I know my recovery would not be at its maximum point that it could be for me without the mental therapy. Remember, be patience find the right therapist. If you don’t feel comfortable one therapist, find try another; there is a lid for every jar! Be well!

Thanks Darryl. Glad to hear you’ve made progress and some peace in your life.
Physically I am doing very good with the exception of the persistent neck & head aches. Have lost over 40#, BP is in 120s/60s, no more smoking and very, very limited drinking. I am in a cardio-rehab program exercising 45+ minutes 3x a week – because I suffered a minor heart attack in mid-May. Had been doing everything I was supposed to and then this happened. Angiogram showed no blockage and no need for stents. Follow up MRI of heart and subsequent echogram showed the heartbeat at low normal.
Going to acupuncturist for neck relief. Cardio rehab for heart. Mentally, doing okay considering the numerous life changes that have occurred in the past 5.5 months and the added burden of the heart attack diagnosis.
See cardiologist the end of the year for heart review, neurologist for stroke follow up in January. Can’t complain when I’ve seen what strokes and heart attacks have and can do to people.

Coach Hockey and at one of my practices a kid stepped on a puck and lost his balance. He took my legs out from under me (standing behind me). I fell backward (no head trauma) but the whiplashing effect of my fall caused a VAD. Four days later had massive dizziness and ended up being diagnosed with a stroke. I am month out and starting to feel more normal but still get intermittent shooting pains etc etc … my neuro says I should heal and get back to 100%. My neck still a little stiff but he says that is surface trauma from the whiplashing. Skated the other day with my team I coach after only one month post VAD, probably too soon as the doctor said no ice for 2 months to give vein time to heal. Felt great skating, but a few days later I’m feeling like I probably should have listened to the 2 mos, the doctor had suggested. Still feeling pretty good but I understand some of the posts where you become fixated on every little pain, twitch etc etc … I’m chalking that up to anxiety … Best of luck to everyone who had had or has recently had VAD!

Coach Hockey and at one of my practice a kid stepped on a puck and lost his balance. He took my legs out from under me. I fell backward (no head trauma) but the whiplashing effect of my fall caused a VAD. Four days later had massive dizziness and ended up being diagnosed with a stroke. I am month out and starting to feel more normal but still get intermittent shooting pains etc etc … my neuro says I should heal and get back to 100%. My neck still a little stiff but he says that is surface trauma from the whiplashing. Skated the other day with my team I coach after only one month post VAD, probably too soon as the doctor said no ice for 2 months to give vein time to heal. Felt great skating, but a few days later I’m feeling like I probably should have listened to the 2 mos, the doctor had suggested. Still feeling pretty good but I understand some of the posts where you become fixated on every little pain, twitch etc etc … I’m chalking that up to anxiety … Best of luck to everyone who had had or has recently had VAD!

This site is very helpful…seems to clear a lot of issues as personal
experiences are shared…wonder if VAD RESIDUAL SYMPTOMS HAVE SOME PHYSCOLIGAL affects too…forgetfulness and confusions are there and takes lot of effort to concenterate too…

I’m 10 months after a VAD w aneurysm and stroke. Yes. I’m not a dr but I’ve experienced all of that. I say I went from OCD to ADD over night. Memory. Congnition. Confusion. Brain fog and overload. I’m completely different. I don’t care if drs say it shouldn’t effect those things in certain areas of the brain. I know my body. I know myself. It’s getting a lot better but it all takes time. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same, and that’s ok! Follow your journey. Don’t fight and resist it so much I think it makes it harder. See a psychologist for validation. Go to cognitive therapy. What ever works!! Good luck to you!!!

Thanks for your input…little is known and each case differs but what works has to be tried and what we learn here helps a lot….thanks to everyone and regards to all.

This is the first time I have been on this site and you said almost exactly what I want to say. I recovered fairly well a year or so after my stroke and went back to work got full custody of my 5yr. Old daughter, then one week later my sister passed, and my balance started getting worse, I still can’t get my words out right. My thinking. It’s like I’ve had another stroke. My Dr and I think and hope it’s been the stress and traumatic events that has made my symptoms worse. Of course my family thinks I’m faking

Hi John,
I hope you’re doing ok considering your situation. I had a VAD and a cerebellar stroke 2 and half years ago, and I completly understand your thoughs. We all been there before. I read a lot of personal stories, here in this site, and in others like strokeblog from Dr Dodds, I read her book,, etc. I saved a line which I consider one of the best: “never let anyone to diminish your symptoms” and a saying from Hippocrates: “No head injury is too severe to despair of, nor too trivial to ignore”. Please, keep these 2 ideas in mind and ask for professional help if needed (I did it), but be sure you will recover completly. Regards Agus

So I’m about 2 1/2 years into my recovery after i had bilateral VAD which resulted in 2 strokes. I’m 28 years old now and I’m wondering if anyone who’s a few years into recovery still experiences issues with vertigo / dizziness. I am still not able to sleep on my back with getting the spins! And whenever I accidentally do, i deal with vertigo for the rest of the day. Wondering if there are any “vets” with some tips.

So they did heal and were open for full blood flow? That is great, bc my husband’s left artery stayed closed and never reopened which means he’ll live minus one vertebral artery. The circulation system to the brain is amazing and little veins and other arteries compensate, but not always at the same level I think. I hope your healing continues as your brain takes a couple of years to adjust. Meditation, exercise, healthy foods for your blood and arteries, and this detour won’t disrupt too badly. Blessings to you

Hi, my stroke was 18 months ago. Now I can exercise, but 4-6 days later, I feel sudden dizziness when rotating my whole body or my head. The symptoms are getting mild with time, but still lightheadedness for several days after moderate exercise. I think this is either the stroke aftermath or the blood flow, that is less than before. The polygon of willis avoids a masive lateral damage, and I’m glad I have it working fine, but the inputs to this polygon have been reduced in a 25% because my right vertebral artery is gone

Salud y mucho deporte!

I still experience those symptoms 4 years later related to exercise unless I exercise with my funcuntional intentional trainer. He worked with me to modify all the movements to still get a good workout, but not cause the dizziness. There is hope of a good workout without the side effects.

Thank you for your respond. I read it in November, but I din’t realize that you were saying explicitly, that a good workout without side effects is possible. I was just going over my posts in this forum now that it’s been 2 years since my VAD and stroke. It is funny that the functional train is what makes me dizzy the most. Particularly the sit-ups. When I getup suddenly I feel my heart pumping to my head and I feel dizzy after several days. What kind of movements does your trainer prevent you to do?



Just had a Dissection 10days ago… Horrible headaches, neck pain. Thinkimg will this get better? 51 yrs old,i took a nap in my truck leaned forward andfelt a snap, day later had a stroke. They will not stint it as of now, this really sucks. Will itget better?

Hi, I had a left VAD a year ago, I had headaches for 6 months, felt dizzy for maybe three months, but now I feel normal again, practice sports that I love without any problems. Just alow your artery to heal, take your aspirin and live your live again. My sport is offroad- enduro. PD: I read everything there is to know about VAD in medicine because I am a physician

Hi Jaime,
I’m glad to hear that you have recovered almost completly. I’m wondering if your artery healed. In my case, right VAD, the artery didn’t heal. Do you know any case or someone in a similar situation? Can they practice sports normally? I’m going back to practice mountain bike but after moderate exercise I get dizzy 6 days later (not inmediatly)


I ride mtb and road bikes, went to the granfondohincapie to celebrate first year after stroke, no problems at all, if your artery díd not heal the blood is going to your brain thru other arteries, you have a poligon of Willis that makes sure you get the right amount of blood. Check your mri or ct

Hi all – 25 year old female with a VAD suffered a stroke in my left cerebellum about a month ago. Still having intense episodes of lightheadedness, vertigo, nausea but worst of all is the anxiety that I’m having another stroke. Any advice?? I’m on 325 mg aspirin. My doctor said the tear should heal on its own. I’m afraid I’ll never feel normal or that I’m having strokes all the time…

Hi Pia. I totally get it. 45 yrs old dental assistant , mother and wife. I had a concussion, 4 weeks later stroke to right cerebellum. Had the VAD and didn’t know it. I STILL have the aneurysm to this day. I’m about 10 months Out. Even though I’m tested every few months to see the size of aneurysm (slowly shrinking) it’s a terrible feeling. I do understand. But it DOES get better. I never ever thought I’d be able to focus on a thing but having another stroke. It’s hard. But you can do it. Be brave. Be educated , but DONT OVER READ!! I’m only on 81 of aspirin. I take my pressure all the time to monitor. I’m going in for another angiogram this month with possible surgery , not sure. Do you see a therapist /psychologist if you dont mind me asking?? It was a huge help to me. I faught it for months. Wound up being the best decision for me. It’s a very personal decision though. I’m still lightheaded, dizzy, off balance BUT, it’s NOT constant anymore like it was. It does get better. I’m still in occupational therapy for my weak hand and my vision. Did you do any rehab? Unfortunately it’s a waiting game and you need to let your brain heal. It takes time. Time ,time ,time. Frustrating but so true. I didn’t opt for the antidepressants but I hear they do help a lot. I take a Xanax at night to sleep and relax if needed on a bad day. Sleep is SOOOO important! Other than that I meditate and try and do tai chi. Find what works for you . It WILL get better. It will. You will trust your body again but don’t rush recovery. My instagram is @Traylo17 if you ever want to message me. I also wrote my story in medical news today online. I go to as many young stroke , or traumatic brain injury (TBI) groups as I can It’s good to meet people that share the same situation. A lot of people don’t understand. Find your inspiration. Find your strength. But allow your self to feel your feelings it’s okay to have a bad day just know that there are great ones ahead. Show that stroke your middle finger and don’t let it take away who you are. Good luck to you.

It will get better. I had bilateral VADs last March with 2 small strokes following chiropractor adjustment. I took coumadin for 4 months, and follow up angio showed open healed vessels with just slight irregularity to wall. I too suffered anxiety and panic attacks, tingling and dizziness that has pretty much completely resolved at this point. It got significantly better after first 2 months. I remain on baby aspirin for now.
The further out I have gotten without dying/stroking again from this, my anxiety has improved. I am back to work as of july, but had the luxury of going back part time. Do not rush it, and have faith that you will heal. I took this as a lesson that I need to slow down a bit, be careful with what I do to my body, and enjoy life. Good luck to you!!!

E Stallworth, could you please reach out to me at your situations sounds similar to mine. I could really use some honesty regarding outcomes and residual symptoms. I’m so scared about my dissections and what to expect. Thanks.

(Agus, Male, 45)

Hi Marle, I suffered a right VAD and cerebellar stroke 18 months ago. It was spontaneous, probably making a sudden movement with my neck while bending and exerting with the whole body at the same time. The artery never recovered ( I was misdiagnosed for the first 2 months) but the stroke symtoms are fading away after 18 months. Of course, having a lot of rest and working out very ligth. The probability of having another VAD is very very low. If you’re on a blood thinner there is even less prob. of having a stroke.

It takes time for the feeling of “being in a boat” to go away. Spend time with your love ones, be patient, and it will be just a nightmare before you could think

Keep in mind that a lot of people in these forums (I’ve read around 100 stories) have fully recovered after some time depending on the severity of the damage. From 12 months to 4 years, but recovering. Cheers to everyone


Pia – I completely understand. I had my strokes 12 weeks post partum in the left cerebellum. Time was the only thing that helped me. My VAD took 17 months to heal, but it did heal. I could see the progress with the CTA’s every 90 days. Be kind to yourself and know that it will be an up and down emotional experience as it heals.

Exactly one year ago my husband was diagnosed with a spontaneous left VAD and cerebellum stroke. He spent three nights in the hospital and was started on aspirin, Lipitor, and Xarelto for 3 months. We changed to much fresher, healthier diet, he walked daily with some weakness on his right side and tingling in finger tips. He was back at work after a month, and had been recovering well. The VAD never reopened- very disappointed, but grateful for his recovery. Nearing the one year anniversary he suffered a big sneezing attack followed by sudden weakness and imbalance on his left side. Back to the hospital, labs good, CT scans and MRI showed no new stroke, but something obviously happened. Now we are back to meeting with his neurologist, cardiologist, and PCP, but no answers only guesses. His MRI from last year showed a small lesion in his C4-5 vert., and some issue at c6-7 vert that could pose risk to nerve root. I’m basically on a hunt for what might have caused this recent episode. Genetic predisposition? Probably, and he’s on Plavix now at a precaution. We are switching neurologists since each one has a different level of curiosity in an area that doesn’t have many answers. He’s doing well, and started PT for some issues with his left arm and his balance. I know its very frustrating for him after a year of recovering steadily. I pray a lot, read a lot, but I believe our immune system and brain are still unknown frontiers, so we do the best we can and keep moving.

I, too, had a cerebellum stroke 4 years ago. I seemed to be recovering well for almost a year and then developed what has been diagnosed as central regional pain syndrome (crps). It is described well on the NIH website. Don’t know if this could possibly be in play for your husband, but you could check it out.

Agus, 45, Male

Hi Marle, I suffered a right VAD and cerebellar stroke 18 months ago. It was spontaneous, probably making a sudden movement with my neck while bending and exerting with the whole body at the same time. The artery never recovered ( I was misdiagnose for the first 2 months) but the stroke symtoms are fading away after 18 months. Of course, having a lot of rest and working out very ligth. I’m a little bit hyperlax (high joint movility), therefore, I’m on baby aspirin indefinitely. The probability of having another VAD is just a little higher than a regular person with regular laxity. This is a light conecting tissue disorder that is related with VAD according to one of my neurologists. Ask his doctors about this laxity issue.
I hope he is doing well, and keep in mind that a lot of people in these forums (I’ve read about 100 stories) have fully recovered after some time depending on the severity of the damage. From 12 months to 4 years, but recovering. Cheers to everyone


Thank you Agus- This is very helpful and I will certainly share your story with my husband. The laxity issue is also key , and I will discuss with the neurologist this week. Good health to you and continued blessings.

Update after 18 months vertebral artery disection and cerebellar stroke
(44 years old, Male)

after 18 months of my vertebral artery dissection and cerebelar stroke I’m feeling very well, just some dizziness
if I sleep less than 8 hours for 5 days in a row or if I over exercise. My artery didn’t heal because I was
diagnosed 2 months after the first symptom and I didn’t take aspirin during this time except for the first 5 days when
I felt a strange and new pain in the lower back side of my head. Now, I try to sleep 7-8 hours from monday to thursday but it is not
easy when I get up early to work, then I sleep on the friday evening about 4 hours (a long nap) and 9-10 hours
at night. My fitness training is now pilates 2 days/week and some spinning (around 25 min/week) under
80% of my max. heart rate. 4-5 days later I feel just mild dizziness very easy to stand. The good news is that I’m able to do a short
hike in the mountains even at very steep paths. I’ve been traveling by plane, visiting cities and noisy places. I still feel a little
confused when walking in mall corridors or brightly lit rooms where the vertigo triggers are always present (a lot of light and noise)
My conclusion is that is very important to rest as much as possible and to move the head slowly to avoid sickness and nausea,
but the tangible improvement is real even 18 months later. I hope it will be a huge encouragement for everyone.


Hi:) Glad to hear you are doing better … I have just been diagnoised with the same thing through a MRI/CT i have not had a stroke but definetely worried I might before I get to the doctor …I do have symtoms like Pulsating tinnetus and pressure and pain in my head…any advise for me before I can get to the specialist …worried to death …dont even want to lay down in the bed afraid something will happen before I see someone …did you have any warning signs before the stroke?

Hi Sheryl . I wanted to reply and tell you from experience please don’t be so anxious and stressed. I know it’s so much easier said than done. Now looking back I actually did have some warning signs before my stroke. I had a concussion and five weeks later I had the stroke. But one week before my stroke I experienced two different instances where I had what they think could have been a mild TIA . It hit me out of the blue and I was extremely nauseous, dizzy, profuse sweating, confused, my hands and lips were tingling and I felt exhausted afterward. The “episodes“ lasted for about 25 minutes And left me exhausted. It was the strangest feeling but I knew it wasn’t normal. At first I thought it was a panic attack but quickly realized it was very different. I called my dr and he said it was part of the “ post concussion syndrome “ (not)
There are all different types of strokes . Mine seemed to be not as “ common” as others . It was extremely violent .
You are aware of what’s going on. Your under a doctors care and soon to see another. Your anxiety and worry isn’t going to help but only hurt you. Trust me . Easier said than done , I know, but It’s so true. You are a Step ahead by knowing what’s going on and having a diagnosis. Not everyone w a VAD has a stroke. I’m not a doctor and just giving you my opinions and passing along knowledge I’ve learned from the past 8 months. Be smart. Know , trust and listen to your body. If your not happy with your doctor or treatment plan, get a new one. I did. I understand exactly what your feeling because I’m still living with my aneurysm. I understand the feat . It’s gotten smaller but it’s still present. Im still not lifting anything heavy. Bending my neck up toward the ceiling ,cracking or fast twisting, (no hair salons ) no stretching yoga positions , no hard neck massage and so on. Im still following those rules. I too still have the ringing , seconds of hearing loss, and whooshing sounds in my right ear. I get pains in my head where I hit and also where I had the stroke (right cerebellum) I’m trying everyday to be the best 45 year old mom to my 11 year old son. I used to have a very busy job as a dental assistant, part time baker and babysitter to my niece . Now my days are at PT, OT, and cognitive therapy. My life stopped short after hitting my head on the X-ray machine at work 8 months ago. In an instance my path has changed. I’m thankful and blessed to be here after my event. Try and find the good in everything. Count your blessings not your worries. I wish you all the luck in the world . Don’t care what anyone thinks or says .. you know your body better than anyone. Trust in your faith . ❤️

don’t worry you’re are safe having aspirin or other blood thinner.
The odds are very very low.
I had acute and sharp pain in the low back of my headthe first week before the stroke and I was very sleepy all the time. These were the indicators of the VAD, but It may seem like a normal headache. Don’t panic and ask for a blood thinner


Wow. It’s good to hear. 7.5 months out after VAD, cerebellar stroke. Age 45. After a bad concussion stroke was weeks later. It’s grrat to hear and very inspiring. At times I feel worried I will stay dizzy for the rest of my life. All of my issues are getting better day by day. There are so many things that still affect all of my symptoms. Walking too fast moving my head too fast too many people talking, lights, too much noise, multitasking, sitting up too quickly , tv, not enough sleep and the list goes on and on. I’m still not driving and probably will not for the next few months. I’m dealing with some convergence issues with my eyes and also some right hand coordination and weakness problems. I’m currently still doing outpatient therapy twice a week for the next month or so. It’s so good to hear that you are slowly getting back to your old routine. When I read that you were flying in a plane, hiking, working out I was surprised but it inspired me . Thank you for sharing your progress with us all it’s really good to hear !

“Walking too fast moving my head too fast too many people talking, lights, too much noise, multitasking, sitting up too quickly , tv, not enough sleep and the list goes on and on”

It rings a bell to me
But it is fading slowly. Just don’t rush going back to work. You will able soon. Patience

I’m much better even with a 20% less brain blood flow in my brain (the artery didn’t heal)

wish you all the best


Wow. I never thought of the artery “ not healing” I guess it makes sense . I may have to live with the aneurysm too. Who knows. They want to do another angiogram but I have a bleeding disorder where I don’t clot and some allergies to dyes,so it complicates things . I’m having the issues with my hand so it definitely impacts my job as an oral surgery/dental assistant:( super busy multitasking demands. I may need to seek a new profession. I’m not even thinking of work right now. Mind body and soul first. I’m glad to hear your doing okay. Like I said it gives hope to people who are only a few months out. Thank you !! Bless you !

Sheryl- yes I would definitely discuss a blood thinning medication to prevent any stroke incidents if your not on them already. I’m only on one baby aspirin a day since this and it’s helping a lot. Keep us posted. Stay positive and calm as you can. Good luck with your recovery . Have faith !

Hi Tracy,

Sorry can’t reply either. I think I wrote myself of but the pain is pretty classic and they gave me the CT scan straight away which also was pretty clear. I didn’t know what I know now. I put my additional symptoms down to all sorts and I work in health ! My diagnosis was easy once I got back to the UK. GP could tell from symptoms sent me straight to stroke a &e.

I didn’t have concussion or an injury I remember just that I had previously been dancing and then bam dizziness.

I have therapy from the stroke team next week and still have physio, OT and health worker.

I don’t have much vertigo head goes funny and I take clopidogrel which is blood thinner I also take for high blood pressure (amplodine).

We can do this ! Hope I answered all your questions.

I can’t seem to reply directly but this was in response to Sasha’s comment.
WOW! You sound a lot like me . Did you actually ever get diagnosed with a stroke ??? im about 12 weeks out of stroke ( the injury / concussion happened 4 weeks before my certebellar stroke . )I’m still having dizziness like I’m on a boat. Not cleared to drive or work. ( I’m a dental assistant and I need my hand!) Weakness in right hand , off balance , ringing in ears and yes of course a bit of anxiety. Who wouldn’t at 45 yes old dealing with all of this. Are you getting therapy?? I’m still doing OT, PT, and soon cognitive. I feel very confused and have trouble finding words. Not sure if that was related to concussion or stroke . Are you on any meds besides probably meclazine? Once you tell drs you had vertigo before they right you off! Ugh!! A cerebellar stroke is only 2-5 % of stokes. It’s misdiagnosed all the time. Fight for your treatment hun!! I’m praying for you as well as all the others !!

Hi There.

This thread is so helpful came across it looking for help.

I’m a 39 year old woman from the UK. I got extreme vertigo, vomitting and neck pain on a dancefloor with my sister in Spain. I’d had vertigo before and told doctors it was exactly like that but with neck pain. I then had a huge acute painful attack and they finally took the pain seriously. ( I read on here that’s a Spanish thing) . The CT scan showed hypodensity of my cerebullum. No exam, no diagnosis told to get an MRI to check and they don’t know what it is. They discharged me 24hrs later with vertigo pills and what I now know is right sided weakness and ataxia, pins and needles in my right hand and extreme temperature problems on my left (which I told them about). We were stuck in the country as I was pretty incapacitated. Eventually I was diagnosed in the UK 2 weeks later.

It’s 7 weeks now. I have residual weakness in my hip area and forearm on the right. I can use my right hand, control is still slightly affected and it tires easy. Temperature is nearly all back but I have some weird sensations. Haven’t had my follow up appointment yet. I also was active and what physio call strong is so different from what I mean so I struggle with that. I have bowel problems. Emotional lability. Tiredness and emotional problems sneaking in.

I haven’t gone back to work. I haven’t even thought about it. I still feel like although progress is made I’m battling alot. I’m not confident to be out long alone. Shop alone. I get worn out easy . Don’t like too much noise etc. Foggy head.

It’s all getting there slowly and my physical symptoms aren’t always a predictor of how good I feel in myself on a day to day. All will be well but I’m not rushing.

Hope my story helps someone.

I am a 23 year old female and I was recently diagnosed with a left VAD after almost a month of terrible neck pain, 3 er visits, and dr visit after doctor visit! Luckily one of the drs ordered a ct scan. Was only hospitalized for just shy of 2 days. Thank goodness! They put me on a heparin drip while I was in there and informed me that I had multiple mini strokes. After getting discharged they put me on lovenox shots twice a day and 5 mg of warfarin! The first week was miserable due to the insane headaches, I’m asuming from the lovenox. Which I was only on for 6 days. I was discharged from the hospital on April 15th and I am still in quite a bit of pain. My question is if any of you experienced pain how long did it last until it started getting better and what helped with the pain?

I am 2 months out from bilateral VAD following chiropractic adjustment, and still have some mild headaches and neck discomfort. I was extremely stiff for first few weeks as I was trying to protect my neck. I had mild dizziness for several weeks which seems to have resolved. My greatest issue at this point is fatigue. I need to rest often and have some days where I do nothing. If I overdue, I feel it in my head and neck. Will have follow up angio in June and hope for complete healing.

Hi Mary..I had a neck adjustment of c1 and c2 and c7..I had terrible headache for 2 days and then headache is gone…now it’s been 18 days I had it adjusted..I don’t have any headaches..but today I felt little balance issues..
Do you think I may be also having mini stroke??
Please tell me your I have to worry?

I am not sure if the disections caused the dizziness due to decreased blood flow, or the 2 small strokes that i had. I too was worried that i had had another stroke due to worsening dizziness and headaches. Neurologist was not concerned. I think it was stress. I had a second mri 10 weeks out, to give me peace of mind, no new strokes and my original strokes werent visible. I am still on coumadin, so should be protected from furthur stroke. I will have repeat angio later in june to assess healing and hoping to transition to aspirin.

I would ask your doctor if you are concerned, especially if this is new symptom. This has been a very stressful and scary experience for me, but it has gotten much better. Good luck with your recovery.

Can you still get a VAD after 3wks of chiropractic adjustment..I don’t have any headaches.but have imbalance issues.plz someone share your experience on after how many days after the chiropractic adjustment did they get a VAD..please

Hello! I did not have a chiropractic adjustment but I did have a head injury. I hit my head on the x-ray machine where I work as a dental assistant. I had CT scans and MRIs within two weeks of the incident. They were clear and showed nothing. Then, A total of five weeks after I struck my head ,I had a stroke. At that time the CT scan and MRI with contrast showed the stroke ,but the only thing that showed the VAD was a “MRA.” Each situation is so different it’s very hard to say. Supposedly depending on the injury or adjustment the VAD would normally happen immediately to three days later from what I’m told. It is odd to have a stroke 5 to 6 weeks out like I did . I had a stroke in the cerebellum part of my brain (controls balance) from my right vertebral artery with pseudo aneurysm. When I was taken to the hospital no one even mentioned stroke and I couldn’t believe what I was feeling. I told everyone that I was dying. I think doctors don’t have enough knowledge or experience in this type of stroke and write it off as 1 million other different things. I am in the medical field ,but by no means am I a doctor. This is all my opinion and I’m going by what I’m told and what I read . I am now 104 days out and I’m still experiencing dizziness off-balance ,cognitive issues right hand and foot weakness , ear ringing, confusion, face twinges, vision issues, and nausea . My symptoms obviously gotten a lot better and each day it does. I will continue physical therapy for the next few weeks to months. I’m still considering myself extremely lucky, blessed, thankful and proud to be a survivor. My prayers and wishes and love go out to you all. Remember -we have one brain ,one body ,one life. Take care of it and don’t quit until you get answers . Good luck to you all. I’m glad I found this site! Xoxo

I also had a VAD after a chiropractor adjustment. I went to the chiropractor, then the next day I was hit with severe dizziness and vomiting. At the ER they said I was unresponsive and thought I had a drug overdose. I felt like no one believed that I did not do drugs. The next day I went back for some dizziness worried from the day before while there may speech became slurred, so they did a CT and found the VAD. That was about a month ago, I now mostly have dizziness and numbness in my left fingers and toes. The fatigue is also hard to deal with, I’m learning when I need breaks, especially social situations tend to wipe me out. But everyday it gets a little better!

Hi, I am Martha, a 64 year old that just found this site. On Oct.3rd I was rushed to the hospital because I felt I was stroking. At hospital they did a ct scan but wee confused because they could not see the stroke that was producing my symptoms on the left side. They did find where I had a previous stroke on the left side that I did not know about. So they did an MRI and found the stroke on the right side. They also found the torn artery in my left neck. Originally the heart specialist said it was a stopped up artery. In April I seen another doctor and he explained it was a VAD. He couldn’t do any thing for me and just start living life. I have had no therapy and did not know what doctor to go see. I am now going to make apt with a neurologist. I still have dizziness, tingling on the whole left side from top of my head,, trough my face neck chest arm and down through my left foot which feels hot and swollen all the time. I have trusted completely in my Jesus not knowing where to turn. Thanks again for this site. I am not alone. I also have trouble w/ left eye so this was a struggle to write. Hope it is readable.

I am also interested to find out how long people that were diagnosed with dissected carotid artery continue to have headaches. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks, on warfarin and high cholesterol meds, but continue to have nasty headaches. Blood pressure is good and I no longer have to take those crazy lovenox shots.

I’m a 33yo female and have had 3 spontaneous vertebral artery dissections. My last ones were almost 5yrs ago and I still get extreme pain and headaches and nausea. It is very debilitating and I am wondering how others are able to control the pain and if others experience this pain still years later. Please help, I’m in need of answers and help. This has taken over my life and I need help.

36y/o female, had a right cerebellum stroke last September 28, 2017 due to a VAD. I thought the dissection was stressed induced, but every doctor says there’s no clinical evidence proving this link.

I knew at once I was having a stroke and told everyone this – headache, couldn’t walk straight, seeing double, and ringing in the ears. The ER that night thought I just had a bad headache, didn’t order any further tests, and sent me home because I was passing all the stroke strength tests. I went back the next day since I was still having issues typing, texting, and writing. The MRI or CT revealed the stroke and the angiogram later confirmed the dissection.

6 months later- a CT confirmed that the dissection has completely healed. Yay! The neurologist is recommending that I discontinue the warfarin and if I want, do a MRA in another 6 months.

Within the first 4 weeks, dizziness and headaches were common. and general right PT/OT stuff was slow. I went back to work full time after 4 weeks.

Six months later, my right hand accuracy is still not great. it just takes longer to type. My hand writing is awful and not fast. My right hand will sometime tremor lightly when holding something. But everything else is pretty much back to normal. Running and workouts are going fine. A glass or 2 of red wine no longer causes a headache.

The first few months were rough mentally. I just felt off and thought another stroke was imminent. After my neurologist at a follow up told to me chill out, not to make any major life changes, and I physically started to feel better- all was much better. I’m very thankful that it was so minor and am comforted knowing that the chance a repeat dissection is crazy low.

Thanks for posting your story!

Hi Amy. Good To hear your story. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I’m experiencing something similar. Do you know what caused your VAD? I’m a dental assistant and I hit my head extremely hard on the x-ray machine and got a concussion. Four weeks later I suffered the cettebellar stroke. I actually felt like I was dying. The spinning was so incredibly intense it would not stop. I had no headache but I heard the swishing in my head and I was violently vomiting. It woke me up out of my sleep at 6 AM. I told my husband to call 911 because I was dying . This went on for hours and then stopped for a while at the hospital. They did a CT scan and an MRI. It started happening all over again at 6 pm to 10 o’clock at night and no one had come in to tell me that I had a stroke. They kept misdiagnosing or saying I was experiencing severe vertigo. I don’t feel that doctors cannot correctly identify this type of stroke. It presents as either migraine, vertigo, or sinus issues being exaggerated. I too also did great on some of the neurological exams from what I’m told. I don’t remember much. I remember when I was being taken from my home that I could not feel my arms and legs and I also lost a small amount of bladder control. The stroke happened on February 25 and I’m still feeling a lot of dizziness that fluctuates throughout the day. I have something in ringing in my ears. I feel off confused and my short-term memory is not great. I also have a dropping feeling, does anyone have that ?? Like The end of an elevator ride . I just had another MRA 4/18 , my birthday 🙁 yesterday and it shows that the aneurysm is getting smaller and the dissection is slowly healing. Yay! I’m scheduled to have another MRA in July and we will go from there. I am so happy you’re back at work I wish I was too. I am extremely Busy dental/oral surgery assistant and we have a lot of patients in multiple rooms. I cannot even imagine myself doing that type of job in the near future. I don’t think I would be able to take care of patients, walk around with surgical tools and Assist the doctors properly at this time. I too also have right hand weakness. I lose my grip often and Feel that overall it’s just a lot weaker. My question for you is what did your neurologist restrict you from? I’ve heard so many different things from so many different doctors and post I’m reading. I was told never to wash my hair in a salon sink, which I don’t anyway, …paint ceilings, ride adventurous rides., have my neck back for extended periods of time in a dental chair , bumper cars, Zip line or anything like that . …Are you restricted from anything? Thanks for sharing your story stay well. We must counter blessings not her worries . Thank you to all!!

I had and still have no restrictions. Maybe it’s different for where the stroke was or if the aneurysm is still healing. My fogginess finally went away between 3-4 months after. Hopefully things will get better and you’ll feel more confident about what you can and cannot do at work. Good luck!

Oh and no we couldn’t come up with a reason for the dissection. I had no pain. The “worst” thing I had been doing was regular hot yoga with maybe some weird twists. No trauma or chiropractor adjustments. I rode a kiddie roller coaster in August. That’s about it.

Hmmmm yea they told me no yoga neck moves going forward … the doctors advice on restrictions very so much it’s crazy !

I’m a sixty one year old male ,had a right carotid artery dissection four months ago with no stroke.My neurologist and primary care Dr. put me on 7.5 warfarin a day with absolutely no restrictions on any kind of physical work.I do hard labor as a longshoreman and I smoke a pack of cigarettes a day .They did tell me to quit smoking and I’m trying really hard to(almost there) but wonder why there were no restrictions on hard physical work,seems kind of strange because I’m always craning and turning my neck and lifting and pushing heavy loads at work.Anyway it’s been four months and I’m still here,have to go in for an MRI in two weeks to see if it’s healed.I have been real lucky and I hope the best for the rest of you.

Hey Ray wish you the best of luck. I’m a 60 yo male that lifted to heavy at the gym one day and suffered a dissection and stroke on Jan 10th. Stroke effects were minimal. I was on 7.5 warfarin for two months and told not to lift anything heavier then 10 lbs. for six months. Now on aspirin only. Mostly ok if i don’t do much, but my head aches when i move around. No way could i be working an outside type job as i do still get dizzy easily. It does seem the restrictions from the Drs are all over the place as i don’t really think they have a handle on this medical condition. Hell my head is hurting just looking up and down from the keyboard to the screen as i type this. I’m a finger picker typist. 🙂 I was pretty sexually active and liked to smoke an occasional cigar, now i not doing either much so i know i not feeling very good. It sucks but an grateful i’m not in a wheelchair.

It’s 3am. Im 45 yrs old. Laying in a rehab center after my right VAD 🙁 I got a concussion after hitting my head extremely hard on the x-ray machine at work. Five weeks later I woke up to the worst morning of my life . Long story short, I was hospitalized for 10 days, and now in rehab. So lucky but as now now dealing with a small speech delay, weekness in the right side when walking and issues with Motor skills , perception and planning. The dizziness is a constant feeling of being in a boat. They all say it should go away slowly with time. I’m scared. Confused. And not sure with what I’m restricted on doing for life. The neurologist even mentioned never washing hair in a salon sink do to leaning back. I’m so lucky to be able to be talking and walking but I’m stricken with anxiety of this happening again. I just want to get home to my 10 year old son, husband, pets ,amazing family and get back to working in the medical field again. Suggestions welcome. Thank you all.

I had a right VAD and a cerebellar stroke very similar to yours one year ago. I started to feel unable to walk properly, dizziness, strong nausea, and delay talking (short memory problems). It took 3 months to diagnose it properly. I was unable to work for days. Starting and stopping again when the symptoms where unbearable. At that time the arteria was completely damaged from its start to the beginning of PICA arteria which was occluded and caused the stroke. A psychiatrist helped me with the anxiety and the fear. It is very important to re-start working very slow and part time to avoid getting very tired or anxious. It is also very important to sleep a lot. I’m now able to do very light exercise at the gym, home or ridding bicycle. If I exercise anaerobic I have very strong dizziness 10 days later (I have one less arteria giving blood flow to the brain) so up yo now, it is not possible to move my head quickly or demand a lot of oxygen in the rest of the body. The improvement is very slow, but don’t worry anytime the dizziness gets stronger it’s completely normal. It takes a lot of time. I’m still wondering if I will be able to ride my mountain bike as hard as I used to with my friends and family. I’m 44 years old, healthy, sports man. The VAD was probably cause by an unfortunate strong turn of my head while making a very strong effort. No cervical adjustment in the last 3 years. No others possible causes. No blood or cardiac issues. But it is important to say I have a little tissue disorder (a lot of ankle, knee twists, several shoulder dislocations. Then the internal artery layer is weaker than the regular ones and the VAD is not so rare in my case. I’m not scared about having another one. The odds are very very low even in my case.
Hope this helps
Agus (Madrid, Spain)

Thank you. Reading everyone’s posts are helping. BUT.. my doctors feels opsosite and I’m extremely upset. I’m dizzy pretty much all the time. It’s more difficult to look walk or turned to my right. My stroke was in the right side of my cerebellum. My right hand is just to touch weaker my leg is getting a lot better. The dizziness is the thing that’s very difficult. If I talk too fast or loud and very lightheaded. I cannot make any sudden movements especially to the right. I tried to sit outside yesterday and even the WIND made me dizzy. Along with this dizziness comes a constant feeling of nausea. My injury and concussion we’re on January 16, my stroke round of happening a few weeks later on February 25. I’m currently not working as I was a very very busy dental assistant. I need to be 100% myself to take care of my patients. I’m going for another MRI and MRA together which will be about total 2 1/2 hours in the machine on this Wednesday. Ugh but needs to be done. I’m hoping they see everything is healing but I’m wondering why I’m still feeling with this way If the doctor says i should feel better . Super frustrated!!!!!!! I don’t like to take the meclazine because it makes me drowsy. The other problem is this falls under Workmen’s Comp. and Seshan. So I’m very limited on doctors and making my own appointments. I have to play by their rules. That’s just adding to the frustration because I want to get 1 million opinions and I’m at a point where I’m going to need some legal advice on my rights. Not stuff I need to deal with mentally while I’m trying to heal. I still have a ringing and thumping in my ear is probably almost all of the time. Ii have s feeling I’m always on a boat. Loud noises, too many people, too much movement like TV or children running also makes me feel dizzy and sick. I’m always off and I feel like I can’t concentrate . I’m currently in physical and occupational therapy two times a week but I don’t feel it’s doing much . I try to not let the anxiety get to me but it’s difficult when you have these feelings because you think “is it happening again” I feel horrible for all of you that are going through this but yes we have to thank God and count our blessings not our worries. I just feel like I want some clear answers and I’m getting it better from this site then my doctors 🙁

hi, it will take longee to start feeling that the symptons go away. I was scared for the first 5-6 months. The feeling of being in a boat was strong and I was worried about being able to work again. After 2 months on sycholog. therapy and having Paroxetina, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor drug, I started to feel positive, I re-joined work in the seventh month (the first 3 months I was working, calling sick a few times). Now I can tell you, I work full time, mulitasking, even coping with some stress and travelling abroad collaborating with a company at Boston after a 7 hours flight. I’m sure that you will be able too, but you have to take it step by step. Ask your company for half-time work for the first 2 month when you feel completly ready. Don’t rush. I know work is a paet of our lifes. It needs time to recover the basic performance. Your symptons are exactly mine. I still have some. they are all fixed by sleeping a lot. I hope you starr feeling better soon. I know that to be off work in Spain is different. But I didn’t have proof that I suffered a stroke after 2 months of the first episode. It is normal that people think you are overreacting. I still some times feel that I’m falling to rhe right side, even when I’m sit. I takes time to get used to it. Now, 13 months after, I’m sure that it will eventually go away for good. Cheer up! your’re strong and able to beat it

Wow. Thank you. I need to hear from people that are understanding of what I’m going through. I know I’m not even 2 months post stroke but it’s hard to picture me running around a crazy busy medical office again. I’m afraid I’ll have to change my profession. I’ve been out of work since the concussion January. My employer is super understanding , as he is a doctor himself. I guess What ever it is, it is. I’m trying to notice what increases the symptoms. Laying flat. Loud noises, Darkness. Quick moves. Car rides (only been to drs and tests) alot of people, chaos , TV, .. it’s just all over stimulating and adds to the always dizzy feeling. I appreciate you response. I need positivity and reassurance. I’m only 45 and a super busy multitasking mom! I know I need to slow down and be thankful but it’s hard. I just want to be understood. It’s my path for some reason and I need to just breath and follow it….. easier said than done .
Thank you for your posts.. . I’m so glad your doing well!!! Great to hear. Day by day…….

I had a VAD cerebellum stroke 2 years ago. It took 3 months for me to get back to work full time. I couldn’t ride in cars the first month without becoming dizzy. The scenery moved too fast so I would close my eyes everywhere I was taken to. It took awhile for the rest of my brain to process past the damaged part. It takes time but will get better.

Wow only 3 months???? I’d say that’s great right? Mine happened on feb 26 I think and I’m constantly dizzy . Increases and decreases with different things . I know.. everyone’s strokes are so different and individualized. Praying and hoping for the best. Thank you so much! !!!!!!

There are some effects and things that will never be the same like even after 2 years I still get wonky on an escalator. It takes awhile to find your new normal but you will find it. Praying for the best.

Hi again, I forgot to mention that I had a bad episode 10 days after riding my bicycle for several hours climbing a mountain. It was around the 8th month. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I was falling to the right side repeatedly, vertigo and nausea. Like someone was pulling me to the right continually. My neurologist told me that it was related with my damaged ear nerves at cerebellum. She prescribed me vertigo pills but they didn’t make any difference. The symptoms were fading with time, patience, a lot of rest, and 14 days off work. It was scared but I lost it very quickly compared to the dizziness feeling of the first 6 months. 12 months later I’m much better and the mind fog is not as heavy as it used to. The dizziness is lightly present. A friend that suffered a heavy cerebellum stroke told me that I am very lucky because my symptoms status are like his after 6 years of recovery. I’ve assumed that some things (to do) are out of my league but I’m happy now about being able to do a lot of things. I don’t know, may be lucky I had aspirin the first moment I had pain punctures in the back of my head.
I hope you recover soon

16 Jan 2018 dissection of back left artery in the neck C4 region. Occurred during early morning surfing and collapsed 2 hours later vertigo and vomiting. Admitted to hospital within 35 minutes of the mild stroke occurring. I have walked away with zero negative effects of the stroke (fortunate). Back at work after 4 weeks. Did my first light workout at gym last weekend. Another 5 months of warafin ahead with a CT scan. I am 50 years old, fit with an at rest heart rate less than 58 beats per minute. My query relates to what long term limitations are put on sports participation – I have currently told no contact sports including surfing, and no participation in anything where my neck can be moved suddenly. Is this consistent with feedback given to others?

You are so very lucky and blessed. I am 32 yrs old female and had a right VAD with stroke 5 months ago. Took 2 hospitals and 3 days to diagnose so the effects are still very much struggle in my life. It’s so hard to stay positive when you feel trapped in your body. Happy for you and remember u are blessed!

I have been told by very experienced specialist to do anything except lifting heavy weights . I run 7km 3 times per week relatively hard and do other sports as well as walk 50km per week . I’m 58 with RHR 52.
My friend who is on warfarin ( 8 years ) after stroke is a regular surfer and surfs narly conditions . His doctor says he’s an idiot but he wants to live normally ……….

Hi All,
It was such an inspiring and useful healing group of people going through same page.
My husband 36, recently had a bad headache for a week, sumptom: nausea , headache, dizziness, slowley neck pain started.
We did MRI, the report was abnormality blood flow to brain and suspected VAD, to confirm it we did CTA and it was cobfirmed VAD.
We was admitted in hospital for 5days, given heparin, Warfrin and now discharged and at home. We have appointment after 1 month to see the healing. At current his on ibufen and
Pantaparazole. I am worried if these medication help in blood thinning? No aspirn or wrfin given since after his dicharge from hospital.
Thank you and and all.

Hi I’m grateful for this site.
I am a active 60 yo male that worked out most day with heavy weights and walking/light jogging. A non smoker non drinker with a fairly healthy eating habits. Was lifting on Jan. 9th and after a heavy set for me my vision shook momentarily. The next morning i woke up and laying on my back every thing was fine until i sat up and then the vertigo smacked me. Took me a while to make it to the bathroom where i layed on the floor sweating and dry heaving.
Spent 5 days in the hospital with a diagnosis of a VAD and a stroke. Given heparin, Warfrin and now discharged and at home. I am still on a 81mg aspirin and Warfrin. Blood levels are now at 2.5. Believe i will be on Warfrin for three months. Have always had the pulsatile tinnitus but it’s much loader now. Am disappointed with what has happened but am only suffering mild effects from my stroke. Do have the ringing in the ears , sore neck and headaches. I know many are suffering much worse effects and i do have gratitude that i can take care of myself as i live along. I do still suffer from anxiety that another stroke is a moment away. I have been told to only lift 10lbs for 6 months so haven’t made it to the gym but for now i’m ok with that. I have been on 2-3 mile walks. All my neurologist kept saying how lucky i am and to go live life. I’m trying but hard to with the headaches and neck pain.
Thank you for reading and God Bless.

Hi Dale
How long ago did this all happen to you?
I’m at nearly at the 5 week mark and like you feel lucky that it wasn’t worse but still finding it very hard, Have same as you … tinnitus and terrible neck and head pain plus some numbness on the left side of my face and right leg doesn’t know hot or cold, blunt or sharp
I just want the pain to go away and dizziness

Hi Kira
Happened on Jan. 10th. I had a lot of tingling on my left cheek -chin area for the first month but that seems to have gone away. Today it’s seems i’m doing better as i’m not as off feeling (less dizzy, less headache & less neck-ache). I do have the Rice Crispie neck that snap, crackles and pops. Hopefully with some time our bodies will heal.

I had a cerebellar stroke a year ago feb 2017. I am 43 years old, healthy, mountain biker, no toxic habits. I suffered dizziness, difficulty to walk, hoarseness, difficulty to focus at work, to talk in a group, driving with too much traffic, feeling confusion when hearing a lot of people, or walking in a mall where lightning is intense and hallways are very wide.
It took 2 months to diagnose it properly because the synthons where not severe. And one month more to find the root cause: spontaneous vertebral arteria dissection (no trauma). At first it was a releif because I was constantly wondering “what did I do to suffer a stroke?”.
4 months after the first episode I felt worse 7 days after some workout at rhe gym and rinding my bicycle , the inertia of my head after a sudden movement (it was like it weighted 50 kg), the sun (even under the umbrella), the walks… and then I felt depressed because instead of improving my health I was feeling very dizzy even more than the first days.
1 month later, I got used to dizziness, I tried to be accompanied by friends and family, and I got well. I came back to work after a lot of highs and lows. I still have problems when getting up quickly, starting to walk or talking to fast and loud. Patience and more Patience is the only way.
I am “joint hiperlax” (a lot of ankle and knee twists, and several shoulder dislocations until I went to the OR). No pathology, but inherited laxity. Neurologists told me that is related to VAD.
After 11 months I can ride my bicycle but 7-10 days later the sympthoms are unbearable. Then I have to sleep a lot to recover and workout light at the gym. ¿Does anyone have the same problems when doing sports?
Thanks for the web and all the stories that help to understand the condition, the rehabilitation and that there are really a lot of strong survivors!

Hello ,

I had a VAD in July of 2016 and had a stroke that hit my left cerebellum about a week later. I’m now 27 years old and almost 2 years into my recovery. There are so many posts on this forum which i have found incredibly uplifting and helpful. My question is has anyone gotten pregnant post VAD/ stroke ? Did you have any complications or problems? I’d like to try and get pregnant later this year but there is so little information out there for people like

Hi Taylor! Wanted to reach out regarding the pregnancy question. while I haven’t gotten pregnant since my VAD, I did ask my neurologist about this she said its perfectly fine once healed. She did state that a C-section is safer than the straining of natural birth. That’s all the input I can add. Congrats on your healing and hopefully a new baby soon!
Best Leah

Hi, I too had a Bi VAD and left cerebellum stroke in February 2016. I was 31 years old then. In November 2017 I delivered a healthy baby girl via C Section cause my baby was in Breech position. My pregnancy, delivery and postpartum we’re very smooth. I made it a point to take rest during pregnancy. My gyn was fine with vaginal delivery. My neurologist had suggested to try for pregnancy after healing of VAD because he wanted not to be on blood thinners during pregnancy. Presently, I am on no medication but have moderate feeling of numbness, stiffness and heaviness on my right side of body which I believe will fade with passing of time. Speak to your neurologist if he says it’s ok then you can go ahead.

I am a 27 year old RN recovering from a spontaneous right VAD which caused a stroke in my cerebellum 2 months ago. I still experience headaches, dizziness with fast movements or any movement of my neck, ringing in the ears, eye twitching and off Balance. I am currently only taking Aspirin 325 mg daily. I am so glad I found this forum. It’s hard to explain to others how I don’t feel like myself, they just don’t get it. I always feel “off”

Emily, If you are feeling “off”, you’ve come to the right place. So many of us in this forum know how that feels.

So many symptoms I experience in the months following my stroke eventually went away. When I saw the neurologist at the 3 year mark, he said he thought I had “stabilized” and he didn’t need to see me for a year. That was the first I had heard that term and I wonder if there is a pattern of this and that happening immediately after the event (such and you mentioned) and then things quiet down on their own. Perhaps you could check with your doctor and see if he/she thinks time will heal some of the symptoms you are feeling. I remember I worried a lot in those first months because having a stroke is so unexpected, and I wondered if I would have another one, and what each strange feeling meant. In time they went away, and I suspect they will for you too. Your doctor may be able to reassure you about that.

Mary I am 32 yr old female and 5 months out of right VAD with stroke. Mine left me unable to walk for several weeks with numbness and bad balance. I have developed central pain syndrome and it leaves burning feeling in parts of my body. I still don’t work and I was a busy woman before. I have the stamina of a 9 month pregnant 80 yr old. Not trying to be funny but it’s the truth. I am exhausted ALL the time and I feel trapped in my body and I cry all the time. My question is when did you feel you stabilized? Can use get better after 5 months??? So hard to stay positive. Thanks for any advice

Yes. there is so many sea changes between 5 months and 3 1/2 years, that you can’t imagine. . I had over 40 weeks of PT this winter and it helped a lot with muscle pain and stamina. (By the way, I am 80, so if I keep improving, you surely will!) So sorry that you are crying a lot. To ease that, can you look at stroke recovery as a “project”? Seeing it that way made it easier for me to cope.

Neurologist mentioned that I had stabilized when I saw him 3 years after the stroke. But the stroke after-affects keep changing, even though from his point of view I am stabilized.

The exhaustion I share, and know exactly what you mean. “Pace yourself” was the advice of my neurologist when it first happened and I asked about fatigue. That was one of the many life style changes I have made. You are almost 50 years younger than I am, so I think you can look forward to great healing and recovery. If you are on Facebook, and want to discuss the RPS further, I would be happy to.

Yes, feeling some numb is normal and takes away. Many of the symptons describe here are exactly the same I’ve been feeling for months. It is very important to have a lot rest and have light activity in a daily basis. But eventually you will be able to go back to your life. A new. life in which it is important to slow down at the beginning. You will be surprise about the ability of the brain to recover. Cheer up!

Emily. I see your just over a year out. Congrats. Happy new birthday? I’m just a year myself. 2/25/18 concussion , 4 weeks later stroke to cerebellum. Very violent stroke I may add . Most of your symptoms sound very much like mine. Actually everything . I have arm and leg weekends on the right and coordination issue with my right hand. Vision issues. I was a dental assistant. My question to you or anyone else out there is how are your symptoms? I’m doing better but one quick move of the head and I’m “ on the boat again” as I say. It’s like constant motion sickness and nausea. For days. The dizziness is horrible. It’s definitely gotten better !!! But I fear I’ll have this forever. 🙁 I get the drops feeling like I’m in an elevator. I do not drive yet. Maybe taking the course in the spring. I just need to hear from people post stroke longer than me. Monday is my 1 year survival anniversary 🙂 I’m celebrating with a tattoo! Stay strong every one. Thank you. I just need some extra encouragement today xo

Hi all,
It’s been 2 years since my right VAD and cerebellum stroke. I’m much better, but if I exercise a lot, like 2 days ago (90% of my max heart rate for 10-15 min) I get dizzy, lightnessheaded and “being in a boat like you say”. The feeling of dropping to the right side is also present but only if I overexercise. I was used to workout a lot and ride mountain bike.

If I have a quiet life, respect biological schedule (time to go to bed, to eat,…) and sleep 8 hours a day, I feel quite well. I would say that my new normal is almost like my before stroke normal. I can ensure that recover is possible. My current situation is just a matter of brain blood flow. My right vertebral artery didn’t heal, so I know I don’t get enough blood at the brain when my heart pumps strongly. I’m aware that when, I get up from a chair or do sit-ups (picking up things from the floor at home) or climb stairs I will feel the dropping or that my head is not matching the inertia feeling of the rest of my body, but it is a minor issue.
The best part of all this it’s that I can reset the issues sleeping a lot (10 hours or more). Nowadays I can work, drive, travel by plane, ride my bicycle in a flat surface. I hope this helps. Regards. Agus

Hi! Yes thank you so much . It helps. It’s encouraging and inspirational to hear. Thank you for sharing. I still currently have the pseudo aneurysm but its shrinking thank god. I go back in May for a repeat (4th in a year) MRA to see where I’m at. I’m continuing therapy and to push through the balance issues . There are just some very hard days. I’m so thankful for this site! Stay well everyone

Bad car accident 7 weeks ago, stroke 18 days later, piece of plack broke from artery (stroke)vertebrae artery pulverized between vertebrae 1-4 . 2nd vertebrae 1/2 pulverized. 3 2/2 gone inserted 2 pins 7 screws. 2 screws first vertebrae, 1 scree 2 vertebrae ( no place for second screw, 3 vertebrae like popcorn. Main vertebrae artery between 1-4 pulverized, but I’m walking , talking, alive. No polarized, moving neck aprox 70% , Rehab 4 times aweek, dropping to 2-3 times a week. Mussel therapy really helping! A little loss of balance, have to think twice on occasion. Otherwise 1/2 normal and who can define normal.
I’ve got questions
1) hight/ planes
2) running
3) what am I limited to.
4) a little red wine
5) feel like I have Jewish skull cap on when I wake up for about hour standing up
6) like tiny release of blood (pin holes) on top of skull 2/3 times week, like tiny scabes. Scrape off no problem.
7) only good by dr to not do any exercise like bobbing of the head.. no 4 wheeling, horse back ridding

Back to work (manage hotel) 7 -8 hrs a day encluding 1 3/4 hrs driving back and forth.
help for comfort level want to stay alive as we all do. Going to follow this app

Hi, I thought who ever had anything similar or has read my story, it’s been a year July 1st operation. I still have what I call my Jewish head cap. Has greatly improved, I can put pressure on the back of my head which I could hardly touch before. Improvement. I really am what the hospital called a miracle man, 3 days in hospital released drove, 2 weeks later I had stroke. Left artery pulverized left side of head from vertebrae l3 to brain. The second vertebrae was in 7 pieces glued back together. I can turn my head about 20-25% each direction.. they told me (Drs) I’d never turn my head at all.
I’m living a normal life(who knows what that is, but I’m living it without to much trouble) my greatest help is I get hard mussel therapy twice a week! Complete hard body massage. I’m working 14/15 hrs a day. 1/2 way normal life. Sometimes after long day on my feet I lose my equilibrium slightly. dr wants me to take a CTA (like mri but with contrast) but with main artiery gone I’m afraid another piece of plaque could break lose. So at this point they will not operate on it, so why touch what is not bothering you.
End of story I’m living life the best I can, not worrying about it, no sense wasting good energy on something that can’t be corrected. End of sorry, they said I should be dead or paralyzed… neither.. so there is hope for all.
I believe in prayer.!!! My advice live don’t waste good energy on something you have no power to correct! It’s in GODS hands! LIVE

Omg!!! I soooo needed to read this today!!! I’m having a very “ off day” and I needed these works to put everything into perspective . I’m so glad to hear your doing okay and living life to best you can right now. I’m very impressed. Empowered , encouraged , and feeling more positive after reading your post. I’m sorry you had to go through so much but Thank you For inspiring others. Good luck to you !!!!

Hi you all this is Andrew I’m going to be 76 in two weeks.
If you read my story it should give you some incouragement. June 30th it will be 1.1/2 since car accident. Living a full life, some probelems.
1) when I speak or get excited , my voice rises, everyone thinks I’m holloring at them,
2) still have my skull cap, except I can actually put some pressure on the back of my head.
3) still have some very tiny bleeding seeping thru my skull cap at nights(skull cap feels like blood clut between skull and layer of skin back of head
4) lost concentration off and on , but only for a few seconds. Used to be worst, but improving.. bothers me feel like I’m forgetting things
5) little out of balance once in awhile…
Other than that, I feel pretty good. Haven’t lost work, put in about 7 hours a day. ( standing on cement floor for periods of time bothers me..
Therapy , hard myself massage, the greasy thing that happened to me, love to get back to 3 times aweek(down to one)
Haven’t been to Drs in 6 months.. looking to have MRI soon only for my self interest. Still can’t , probably turn my head more than 20% each direction, but u learn to adjust with shoulder movements. Voice can’t control, still rises, everyone still thinks I’m yelling. You would think people would understand by now. But a lot of people don’t kno what I’ve been thru. With the 1-thru 3 vertebrae’s all busted up, second half pulverized, lost of artery to brain on left side… I believe I’m doing well..
I believe ether key is to keep living, try to enjoy yourself, don’t care what others think.. you’ll do well. I walk around with stiff straight neck , I hear few comments, don’t have full strength back yet, walk 2-3 miles a day,,, I’m alive , suppose to be dead, end of story till next time…

Update after 32 months vertebral artery disection and cerebellar stroke
(45 years old, Male)

2 and a half years I suffered a vertebral artery dissection and cerebelar stroke. Right now I’m feeling very well, just some light dizziness
if I sleep less than 8 hours for 5 days in a row or if I over exercise. My artery didn’t heal because I was
diagnosed 2 months after the first symptom and I didn’t take aspirin during this time except for the first 5 days when
I felt a strange and new pain in the lower back side of my head. Now, I try to sleep 7-8 hours from monday to thursday, then I sleep on the friday evening about 4 hours (a long nap) and 9-10 hours
at night. My fitness training is just pilates 2 days/week. I bought a mountain eBike that help me to climb steep paths without getting exhausted. It
allows me to keep my heart rate below 80% during the route and thenseveral days before I don’t feel sick and I can enjoy my spare time and my job.
I also go downhill at the nearest bikepark and I can enjoy my bike with friends for the whole day (5 hours) taking some rest between laps
I am less and less affected by the intense light corridors at the mall or by other vertigo triggers (noise, sun burn, extreme hot in summer, etc)
Light exercise – deep rest, Light exercise – deep rest,… is the only key. Super happy with the improvement. Sometimes I think that everything about the stroke is left behind
I hope that helps. Be strong


I was doing exercises on my head & neck when i heard arteries/veins popped strong & i started feeling pulsating pain all over my head arteries. CT scan with no angiography was clear but the pain haven’t gone away. It’s been a month since it happened. I’m taking it easy but I will go back to the doctor bec. I still get migraines & sore pain on my temple arteries that were there when I had my head & neck exercises. Be careful when doing strong & pressured head & neck exercises. I did mine bec. I felt I had frozen shoulders. But afterwards, the pain didn’t allow me to walk nor stand long bec. I felt dizzy & nauseous. As I await a CTA, I can’t tell for sure what happened to me. Will post updates & treatment.

Hi all, I recently found this thread. I’m 29 years old and I had a stroke a week ago. I was walking down the street and suddenly my right side when numb and I fell. I could not get up and a passerby called 911 after seeing me struggling on the sidewalk. I was taken to the hospital and later medi-vac’d to another hospital that specialized in stroke care. Last thing I remember was being put under for surgery.

I woke up a few hours later and I was told that I had suffered not VAD but carotid artery dissection. I have looked all over for resources and discussion groups specific to CAD and this is the closest place I have found. During surgery, I had a stent placed. –
another sort of “weird thing” that not too many people in discussion groups have had. It is strange to see people discussing their dissections being healed normally!

Anyways, I have left side issues although I can walk and think just fine. Still in recovery mode obviously since it was little over a week ago. My main issue is horrible neck pain where the stent was placed. I complained of this once I woke up and throughout my hospital stay and they just seemed to brush it off. Tylenol worked to stave off the pain for a while, but now a week in and it isn’t working anymore and is almost unbearable. I guess I just want to be assuaged that this neck pain post-carotid artery dissection and stent placement is normal. Thank you!


I have been searching for info about having constant headaches after a carotid artery dissection on my right side up close to the top of the artery by the brain. I have been told the vein is too small for a stent . I am on Eliquis now for thinning my blood.
I had the dissection at the end of May 2017. I was lucky as I did not suffer any lasting effects except severe headaches almost daily. I have been taken to the ER 6 times since they started as the pain is intense and I get very dizzy and have fallen. Rapid breathing.

I had never had a headache in my life up until this time. I didn’t even know what they felt like.
My neurologist says he doesn’t think the dissection is what is causing the headaches but can’t explain what is.

Does anyone else have experience with constant headaches ?

Thanks in advance

Hello John,
Sorry you are going through this! I had a VAD on the right side (C4-C5) almost a year ago, and, I hate to say it, but I did have a weird kind of head and neck pain that developed only after the VAD and occurs to this day, sporadically. Sometimes it is a pulling feeling in the neck at the dissection site, other days it feels like a knife-like pain on the side of my head, other days the pain is all the way from my shoulder, up the neck, into my jaw, and then into my eye. I’ve had scan after scan, test after test- and while it shows there’s nothing new and nothing sinister taking place, there’s no explanation for the residual pains.. maybe like Mary mentioned before, there’s a small percentage of us that will have a type of neuralgia/neuropathy from this.
Hopefully it will resolve for you, but if it does not, keep being your biggest advocate and don’t stop seeing a doctor until they find out what’s up and can help you. My doctor, feeling at a dead end as far as finding the source of my pains, has concluded that I must have nerve damage from the neck adjustment that caused the dissection, and said there are medicines available that will alleviate the pains while my body tries to heal. Only problem is- I hate medications😩 I don’t like anything medicinal that alters anything in my brain or body. But I may eventually have to give in and take something at some point. It would be nice to go one day with a little less pain.
I know this wasn’t the most encouraging response and I don’t have the answers to offer, but please do know that here on this messageboard, we’re all in this together and will be glad to listen & talk with you about things and offer support in any ways we can.
Take care and best wishes for a quick recovery and a blessed holiday season.

My husband just had a VAD followed by 2 strokes. Luckily no neurological deficits. He has sleep apnea and until we can get him in for a sleep study…do you know if their is a preferable sleep position. I know side is best…but should head be elevated, not elevated? Thanks..

Hello Sandra- my apologies that your husband (and you!) are going through this. I can say it’s been equally as frustrating and demanding, nerve wracking and worrisome for my husband as well, even though I suffered (physically) from the dissection. It affects not only the person who has it! My heart goes out to your family at this time.
I can’t speak for everyone as far as sleeping patterns or positions, did your doctor make any recommendations? I know personally, my fears of any further ‘progression’ of my dissection, resulted in my being extremely stiff and guarded, so I kept myself ‘propped up’ and surrounded by pillows each night for about two months. (That may have added to my neck pain, though.) I was afraid to move in general for awhile, which is never something a doctor has suggested! (I just stressed a lot and thought less was more when it came to healing..). I think others have slept however they found to be comfortable from day One. I had pain at the dissection site for almost 8 months- but After the two month mark, I talked myself into sleeping in whatever positions were comfortable for me, apart from anything that I felt could possibly ‘kink’ my neck in any way. I just tried to stay level with my spine and still do to this day.
It does get better. Just try to be patient and hang in there. If you have any other questions or want to talk, feel free to email me at

Hugs from all of us at the VADRecovery community- and wishes for the rapid healing of your husband.

Yes, my dissection was in 2014 and I live with daily head pains( migraines). It’s part of my life. The dizziness comes when the pain is at its strongest. I wish you the best and hope it goes away as it dose for some. The best I could get to live normal enough was shots every few months and meds. Not the life I hoped for as I was active. I Still try to stay as active as I can but there are limits. The shots are helpful I recommend them.
Take care and good luck.

Hi John, I have the same exact thing happening as well. It’s been since the end of may and I’m also on blood thinners. Very recently I’ve had a terrible headache and tizzy spells almost daily. I lay my head down on the pillow and the room spins. I’m not quite sure what this has to do with but I almost feel like I’m back tracking when I was doing so well or what I thought was well. I just hope I’m not pushing it too much or re injuring anything. I hope you feel better.

I have recently been diagnosed with a corotid dissection and 100% blocked corotid artery which I’m told they wont operate on is there anyone else out there this has happened to

Yes! Have you found the Facebook support group Carotid Artery Dissection Support? It is a private support group and many of us are experiencing the same things you are. I highly recommend the group.

Dear All, I will try and keep this short but wanted to tell my story in the hope it will give others motivation/positive outlook. (I found this site useful back in February/March).

1. Neck trauma – just unlucky, followed by dreadful head and neck pain.
2. Trip to the doctor, they thought it was muscle (so did I).
3. Trip to the chiropractor – they thought muscular problems too and gave me exercises
4. Doing said exercises at work and suddenly went dreadfully dizzy, sick etc etc – not good!
5. Hospital A&E they didn’t know what was wrong, eventually had a CT scan and was admitted

At this point I couldn’t walk, couldn’t hold anything down, wasn’t in a great way. I was sent for an MRI the following morning – I had a left VAD followed by a ‘sizable’ stroke in the cerebellum.
I was in hospital 3 days, they told me as soon as I could walk I could go home, I’m 32 and like to think reasonably fit and healthy other than the above issue so that’s when I decided I’d do everything possible to get up and go home! It wasn’t easy but with help from family it was done.

The following week was sobering, unable to concentrate on anything, couldn’t even make cheese on toast, couldn’t balance myself, couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than a minute or so.

Recovery seemed like an impossible task, so many factors to take into account. I’m sure lots of people are in a similar situation now as I was. This is how I recovered – I’m 99% better, working in a reasonably high pressured job – minimum 8 hours a day, driving long distances – the only slight issue is I need a minimum of 8 hours sleep per night and I do get mentally fatigued towards the end of the day – this is getting better with every week that passes though.

Week 1 – I was recovering at my mothers, the main aim was to get back to my own home and being relatively self-sufficient. The main thing stopping this was balance, so that’s what I concentrated on first. Every 3 hours I would walk a little further (at first this was about 3 metres), within a week I could make it to the end of a 20 metre garden un-aided. Home Time!

Week 2 – Once back home I continued with balance training, strict regime, 10 minutes walking in the garden, keeping in a straight line when possible and then 2 hours rest, I actually became relatively obsessed, I even started walking up and down kerb stones on my drive to force me to stay in a straight line. I did this every day for a month. I got dreadfully tired and generally had an afternoon nap which is not something I’d ever done. Work hard, stay focused but rest – I was astonished as to how much sleep really mattered.

Week 3 – Time to start focusing the mind, was still struggling with the most basic tasks (including keeping up with the most basic TV programs). I turned to Netflix, found a series I had previously watched and enjoyed, simple plot, 30 minutes episodes. I started with 1 per day and built up from there until I was watching 4 episodes per day. Two trips to the supermarket (harder than I thought…..) Because it was hard I visited 3 times the following week.

Week 4 – Got my car back, short trips, local shops, out for a sandwich, round to family for a cup of tea etc.

Week 5 – All of the above plus started to turn my attention to work, calls to the office but not clients etc.

Week 6 – Back at the office albeit part time, couple of hours per day, increased time every couple of days…..

All the above sounds straight forward and simple, it wasn’t – a lot of dedication, effort, strong family, friends and work colleagues. Not to mention lots of sleep….. But it’s possible, don’t give up – If I can do it I’m sure you can.

3 month MRI scan – healed physically – not mentally!

I appreciate that I am one of the lucky ones and it could have been so much worse – please, dig in and stay positive. If my story has helped just one person I am happy…..

James – Yorkshire, UK.

Glad your doing better. I’m a 37F and experienced a left VAD with no stroke last week. I am thankful that I did not get a stroke. I am currently on 5mg coumadin. I still have pain and stiffness in my neck. I don’t know if this is caused by the dissection or the muscles. My left hand started to shake sometimes when I’m holding something, I don’t know if this is one of the side effects. Please did anyone have this happen to them?

HI Jessica, I had pain and serious stiffness for the first 4 weeks or so. At the time I discounted it as had other challenges to focus on….. it seemed to get better as I became more confident with movement of the neck. I wouldn’t say ‘shakes’ but I sometimes get tremors when tired. I found that time and keeping as positive as possible helped a great deal. Hope this helps a little. James

My husband has vertebral artery stent put in after they thought he had encephalitis. They saw that both sides were dissecting. The right worse that the other. They went for the right. They just happened to find it. Did emergency surgery right away. He was big into working out. Doc put so many restrictions on him now, it’s pretty depressing. It’s been 3 months. He can’t lift more than 5-7 lbs ( not allowed to) obviously no contact sports. No golfing no yoga. Light stretching is allowed. I mean, he is only 35. I feel as if it’s easy to get down when u trying to recover but can’t do much. Has anyone had these restrictions lifted. We know he can never do heavy lifting again. That i understand the importance of.

Hi Fran, I’ve had all restitutions lifed, although for me contact sports and consistent heavy lifting is off the cards. It sounds over the top but frankly I’m happy to be able to live a normal life – I don’t want to put myself in a position that may (or may not) effect this…. small lifestyle changes….. James

How long before I feel even 70%. I had a vertebral arterial dissection with a pretty substantial stroke 6 weeks ago. I exercise daily and while I am walking it’s a struggle. Right now my biggest obstacle is muscle tightness on my right side and it’s severe severe. It’s affecting my recovery dramatically. I also have sensory issues and numbness and cannot barely distinguish cold and hot temps. On my left side. I’m just a mess and it’s so hard to stay positive and focused. By the way I’m only 32

Hi Angela, I’m sorry that you’re having a tough time. Your symptom’s are fairly different from the ones I had. Was it left or right? Realistically my 3 month positive MRI scan results gave me a massive boost – I started feeling much better after that – probably a lot of this was psychological…. Do you have a good consultant? Might be worth having a discussion with him/her? You are way to young not to stay positive – no matter how hard it might be….. I appreciate this is easier said than done but it is possible. I’m planning the UK 3 peaks challenge to celebrate 12 months anniversary – although I’m currently fairly unfit – just another goal to aim for really!

It was my right artery but both sides are affected in different ways. Thanks for the positivity, it’s something I really need these days. I just need to continue working hard. My hand and arm seem to be behind my legs. Anyways, thanks for the response.

Hi Angela, I’m 34. I will be 5 months post VAD-stroke on Dec 5, 2017. I can give you some hope. Keep working on using your limbs and muscles, even though severely tight. It’s incredibly frustrating. The more we work now, the better it is in the long term and the sooner we get there. After I got my fingers moving again, I have been working to play beginner’s piano. I had serious tightness in my hand. Only this week have I been able to play a 5-finger piano song–I’m pretty happy about it. I don’t remembers months 2-4 when I was able to get my walking back to normal and start moving my limbs. I remember getting home from the hospital and little things here and there. So do your best now. Know it’s going to be awful and that you’ll cry a lot. Keep going. Our age is in our favor.

Angela, you mentioned “muscle tightness on my right side” and that caught my eye. I am three years out from from stroke now and recently went back to physical therapy sessions where a therapist began deep tissue massage. After two massages, I began to feel my right arm muscles relax for the first time since it all began. In the past I tried regular massages for several months, but they had no effect. You might want to research deep tissue massage for post stroke pain and see if it might help. I too have that pain you spoke of, and know it is very debilitating and exhausting, which was why I was so happy that at last I can get some non-chemical relief. Don’t be discouraged. I am almost 80 and I am still making headway and getting better all the time. I view it (with all the pain, frustrations, and weaknesses and numbness and tingling) as a project to work on, not so much a health problem, and that has helped me deal with it a little easier. A lot of symptoms that are mystifying now go away with time.

Hi Angela,
I had a LVAD 2 weeks and 5 days ago … I collapsed leaving our hotel in a ski resort in Austria. Hospital said nothing wrong with me just BP issues and sent me away to keep traveling… Long story short it with in 12 hours I was feeling numb on the left side of my face and no sensory perception on my right leg. No feeling of pain or hot and cold … travelled around for another two weeks before going to hospital in London finally I was diagnosed correctly. I had a stroke due to VAD and no immediate treatment (thinners)
Anyway headaches come very quickly and through very little movement. My neck is soooo fragile and hurts or at least uncomfortable most of the time. Codeine works really well but try not to take it unless I really have to. Still have a glass of wine at night and sometimes Valium to ease anxiety!
Hard work but hoping for a full recovery in a few months 🙏🏼 xx

This is Andrew
I’ve went Thur pretty close to what ur going thru. I’m trying to accept who I am now not yesterday, but not giving up. I’m very fortunate and all are surprised I’m alive. I’ve met a few people going thru a lot more pain and problems. I’ve always been a very positive person and do not plan on changing. So I hope thru this site my testimony can help someone else. It’s not easy.

Hey guys,

My father just had Left VAD on 3rd september , V2, V3 and V4 artery, and have acute Ischemic in posterior fossa. we had our second CT angio this month and its told by Radiologist that V4 is reconstructed.

My father is disbalanced and feeling numb or Right side, but his all body parts work. Right side is week as compared to left and have some problem in speach. Its better than before but still have problem. His GCS is E4V5M6.

So any idead when can he recover fully and can be back to his normal life. Many thanks

Hi friends, hopefully by now you have read my post. 🙂 as I was going through all the pots on this forums and reading them one by one I still see some of you are still having pain symptoms beyond 1 year and some even after 4 years. This is frightening for me. I had been looking at the “light at the end of the tunnel” thinking after 1 year it should be healed and all symptoms should be gone.
I also believe in the body ability to heal it self as well. But I truly don’t know how our bodies react to this kinds of traumas.

Can any one of you tell me What is the typical timeframe for a dissection to heal itself? Even it’s undiagnosed like my case is it possible to be healed by its self and Once it does heal do you still have symptoms of the headaches and neck pain? Or if this condition heal either by it self or by meds and surgeries does it leave a weak artery or a damaged one there that it can give us the same issue in future by bursting or blocking again?
Or, if it is healed it is all done and back to normal again?

After it is healed can you resume your normal daily activities, or will I always be on the restrictions of not being able to lift over 10 lbs, no exercising other than brisk walks, etc…

And, once it heals what are the chances of having a dissection happen again in that same area? Is the wall of the artery weaker after your initial dissection heals?
By the way, I got my second brain MRI in a year just to see if there was any changes to those white spots that were found previously but everything were the same no changes at all, so I don’t know if the incident that I had caused the spots or the spots were there even before the incidents. The thing is that I never had any brain MRI’s before the inident if I had any I might had known what would he cause for them to appere there.

My story is up there under my name you can read it and help me here thank you.

I had mine 6 mos ago. My impression is that the dissected area is highly unlikely to be damaged again. In my case, the artery is closed on follow up MRA and will never open again. Hard to damage an artery that has no blood flowing through it. I have resumed all normal activity after 3 mos of rehab. Mountain biking, crossfit (decreased max weight I lift), running etc… From what I understand, lifting should not cause a problem. Just avoid situations with sudden changes in neck position (roller coasters for example). Hope this helps.

Thank you for your respond Tim. Could you tell me if your MRA was with or without contrast and how long was the waiting to get the second MRA?
My MRA was without contrast I am afraied of contrast. The findings was left internal carotid: Within the left carotid bulb there is a probable flow related artifact which simulate a hemodinamicaly significant stenosis. Then radiologist goes saying to clear up this just do carotid ultrasound to make sure that the finding was artifact in nature. the ultrasound was clear but I do have pain in that side with vision changings. Whoever I bend over, or wearing my socks, or even eating or reading or if I lay on my back or in the left side I begin noticing a darkness covering my vision special my left eye and then I begin having pain and burning sensations on the left side which travels up to my face, scull and left eye. That is why I strongly believe that the MRA findings was right eventhough it was without contrast. So Tim what was your symptopms and how did they find it out and what did they do to heal it? Mine is now 11 mounts of suffering without diagnosis. I’m just hoping that it will heal it self and not getting worse. I had six MRI’s in one mounth just beacuse of this.
One from brain, one for thorasic, Cervical, Crotid MRA and Cervical MRA all with on contrast but I’m afraid I had to many scans in one mounth that could cause harm in future. I’m not sure how safe Is the MRI.

So, an MRA can only be done with contrast. If your US was normal, than surely the finding on the non contrast MR was indeed an artifact. I would put the carotid finding out of your mind. It is not causing the symptoms you describe. As for my vertebral, they say it is going to stay blocked. I’m living off the right side only. I had a follow up CTA at 3 months out and the MRA at 5 ish months out.

But can Ultrasound show the internal crotied and many other arteries in the neck? Honestly, if its artifact why should I be suffering this much? I posted my story here if you got a time read it please. I’ve wrote about the incident and what happened to me. I think it will make sense to you too. Thank you

Yes, Tim if you read about the new reaserch about the MRI contrast you’ll see that how dangerous it is. They’ve learned that the contrast never leave the body but it stays in the brain. So the MRI without contrast does the job too. As I said I still believe that the report that I’ve got was not artifact but was real. Beacuse I’ve been suffering from the same side so much. The MRA showed the abnormality there they just don’t believe it. I still get the dark vision specially in the left eye. With any positional changes I get the dark vision. What does this show? I think it shows that there must be a damage or blockage somewhere in the artery that causes this phenomenon. I’ve seen multiple eye doctors with a Nero ophthalmologist none could find any isues there within my eyes. I asked them that do you know why you can not find anything wrong with my eyes? Its beacuse it’s not there it’s somewhere else that it’s causing this problem. I’ve been reapiting my self over and over to them but no one wants to listen. I think now I might know what was the cause of those multiple nonespecific white spots that were found on my brain MRI. Probebly on the day of the incident when I accidentally clicked my neck and then heard the warm cycle bursting in my face I had a mini stroke there and then. Beacuse when I tried to sit up everything went to the slow motion at once and my breathing became shallow and my body beacons so warm. I thought I was dying and that was my final second. I think the feeling lasts for few seconds and then I was well. Even I cried out to my sister in the mildest of the slow motion feeling but I don’t remeber that I was numb. I don’t know what it was but that incident could have cause those white spots as well. Cause I never had migraine, head injuries or any accidents to cause those spots. Well even the rediologist listed several cause for it like ischemic, dymilynation, inflammation, Vascular not dismissing the Vasculitis. He also added this findings in this patuotbwith this age it’s not normal at all so do more scannings. But still those so called famous nerologysts didn’t agree with the report. But when I asked them then what could be the reason to have them they simply say migraine or we don’t know. I am so worried that the vision issues might be giving me the warnings all this time before the big storm happens. I don’t think the symptopms that I’m experiencing is normal at all. I’ve never had problem doing my everyday chores but now I do.
I also have pain in the left side of my neck. It burns as well. the top left side of my back it’s so sensitive and painful to touch. All the left side of my face hurts specially long side of my left ear that goes to my scull and temple. The inside of my left eye hurts as well. I feel pulling and burning in it. I only sleep on my right side beacuse sleeping on my back and left side is painfull and cause my vision to darken. You see it’s been almost a year of suffering without being diagnosed properly. I’m just afraied that I might having a ticking bomb in my neck that can be blown any time. I don’t know if this condition can get well or be healed on its own completely. I don’t know if someone like me goes undiagnosed for a year will survive or healed in its own. I was not on any blood thinners so I don’t know if I am safe or not.
You see day and night I’m stressing over this condition.
Thanks for your time and kindness

I just had mine two hours ago. I am still numb. And now I have more questions for the surgeon . Well pray everyone of us heal well. God bless you all for sharing with a newbee like me.

Hi Tim
How can you be ok with only one Vertebral Artery working ? Why is the other still blocked and with what?

Hi, all! I was diagnosed with a right VAD on June 21st of this year. After pushing myself at the gym I immediately developed intense neck pain and a bad headache. I’ve always had headaches and initially thought I may have just pinched a nerve and anticipated the headache would go away with OTC pain relievers. The following day I reported to work with no sleep and almost made it through the day but had a TIA temporarily losing sight in my left eye as well as feeling in my left arm and leg. After spending a few days at the hospital on Heparin, I was discharged on Coumadin in which I am now therapeutic with an INR at 2.7. My dissection occurred at V3 and V4 with a 90% occlusion. After scaring myself back into the ER they did a follow up CT approximately 3 weeks later and advised V3 appears to be worsening and V4 is receiving diminutive flow and left VA is dominant. I pray every day but I have bad days like everyone else. For those of you like Tim who had complete occlusion or no reopening of your damaged VA, can you advise me if your dissection was completely occluded from the beginning or did it eventually end up closing within the 6 months? I am faithful and diligent in prayer that we are all healing. Thank you guys and God bless you all.

I hope all is going well for you. The image taken at 3 weeks was far too soon. The first imaging was done early and the injury was likely not “finished.” The second image was still the initial injury just “looked” worse. 3 weeks is not enough time for it to heal. They made the same mistake when I had my bilateral VAD. Neat trick huh? I had a group of doctors freaking out about what to do and one doctor saying “relax, look at him, he is walking and talking, not dying.” I still have shooting pains in my head that are bothersome but I’ve been back to work almost 6 months. I’m hoping that the pains are just healing pains. I hope to have another image done soon.

Hi Tim!
I was diagnosed with vertebral artery dissection 2 days ago. I am a hardcore CrossFit athlete (not an elite one!) and Level 1 trainer. I am so upset that I have to put CrossFit on hold- if you don’t mind me asking, how/when did you get back into working out? My doc says no exercise for 2 weeks and then “light” for 3-4 months until the follow-up MRA. Not only do I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life for the next two weeks (ahh!), but what type of “light” workouts did you start with? Any advice would be so greatly appreciated! I hope you are doing well!

I would not do any exercise that increases your intracranial pressure for a long time. My VAD happened almost two years ago and I’m still trying to recover and feel normal. Your brain is your most precious organ, if you risk it you can have a stroke and your exercise regime isn’t worth it.. sorry, take it easy until you are fully recovered without head/neck pain and you are cleared by Neurologist.

I was the same exact way! I was doing Crossfit for 5 years pushed myself before the wedding and it was like a switch, bam it all of a sudden happened. I’m about 5 months out and still if I push myself at the gym which I do Orangetheory now and I love love it, I feel my neck and left side throb. Listen to your body!

I was trying to locate a Katie Long who wrote “Hi everyone! My name is Katie Long. I’m a 37 year mother of two awesome teenagers in South
Carolina. I was diagnosed with FMD in 2012 after a series of strokes on “Faces of FMD” Patient Stories. Could this have been you? Jennifer Magnus – Upstate SC

Hello again everyone. I hope you’re all doing better and healing/recovering quickly and smoothly. I wanted to update you all on the forum here about what I have done since Diagnosis of the right VAD at c4-c5 level in the cervical spine on May 3rd. I was very sedentary for the first 6 weeks. I basically took it easy, moved slowly, made sure my head movements were slow and deliberate, even tried to hold my sneezes for as long as possible so as to not disrupt the healing process. My Neurointerventionalist had and has me on Full Strength aspirin (325mg) alone for treatment. I did go on a nationwide road trip with my family, went on winding bumpy roads, up to altitudes of 8000 feet through mountain passes (became quite uncomfortable adjusting to pressure changes at times, felt like I had trapped air for a few days, ears kept popping and I had two ocular migraines after the trip. It was a trip from Florida, to Minnesota, to California and back to Virginia for my 2 month followup. At this time, as of yesterday, there is no blockage of blood flow in the artery. However, it is very narrow, and at the area of the initial dissection, it has formed a ‘loop’ and then the artery widens as it goes up toward the basilar artery. I’m told I’m cleared to resume normal activity at this time. But I’m scared to death of having a garden hose coiled artery now. Has Anyone developed a vertebral artery loop when healing from dissection? From my research it appears that when tissue is healing, it can create a very fibrous band at the site and ‘pull’ on the artery, resulting in kind of a kink. I’ve limited my movement so much that I don’t know whether I have hurt or helped my healing process. I’m wondering if I’d moved More, would it have healed properly.. there was a lot of muscle guarding the first month and I kept my right shoulder higher, closer to my neck to make sure I didn’t ‘pull’ too much.. I’m not sure if this is making sense.. it’s hard to explain. 🙁 but I’m wondering if that caused it to heal with the loop because I gave the area too much slack!? I’m afraid too that having a loop, when I turn my neck, what if the artery gets pinched in the neural foramina space and constricts blood flow…? What if I turn and it kinks and I have an abrupt obstruction of flow to that posterior part of my brain? I’m told I’m at slightly higher risk for strokes now with the loop. Is there still a possibility that the loop may go away in time? My Neuro Doc says at this point I’m healed the way I’m going to heal. I’m 29 years old, my youngest child just turned one and I am so frightened at this point that my days are numbered. I keep trying to memorize their beautiful faces, to relish each moment with them. I live in fear everyday of doing too much because I feel it will kill me. All I want to do is love my family and play with my children, enjoy life together, be that strong independent woman I used to be.
Sorry for rambling off topic. I don’t have many folks to talk to about this. If anyone has any information whatsoever regarding Vertebral Artery Loop Formation, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks so much.
Take care and warm wishes to you all for a fast recovery ❤️

I had a VAD STROKE three years ago and have been on warfarin (anticoagulant) since then. Ten days after my stroke I was discharged from hospital having been told that the dissection would heal itself. Since then I’ve made a full recovery and I’ve led a very physically active life, including jogging, singlehanded sailing and hill walking. Provided you are feeling well, I feel you are worrying unnessessarily and should get on with life and forget your health issues and enjoy your children. Incidentally I’m 69 years of age

Thank you Oliver. I appreciate your words and advice! Very glad to hear you’ve made a full recovery and are doing so well. 🙂

hi, anyone ever go for second opinions in here? I have two different medical opinions on diagnose from 2 top neurosurgeons I NEED A 3RD OPINION NOW , Kind of scary with all these medications.

VAD are quite rare so neurologists may not have seen many in their career SI they will work on limited experience and statistics. So it depends on what you want a view on I would say get as many facts as you can that includes ct angiography as well as MRI as well as BP tape and blood tests and ecg much easier to make good diagnosis prognosis and outcome trend with those

Hi All I’m new here,
I just found this furom and got very happy. Guys I need your help cause I’m getting insane. It’s been almost a year that I’m dealing with weird and unusual symptoms that I never had before. I’ve been back and forth into doctors office just to find what’s going on with me but none could help me even by explaining myself to them line by line. So I began searching on line about the incident that I had and google take me here. I was wondering how Dr. Google find out fast and easy about our condition rather our doctors. Guys I’m 38 and I’ve had an incident eleven mounths ago in my own bed upon my waking up. Unbelievable right. I wasn’t involved in accident, I never been in chiropractic office, I’ve never had big traumas or anything that could have cause this issue. Ok I’ll tell you what happened maybe you can help me to relaxe little bit. Well that morning when I woke up everything was ok at first but the moment I tried to move my neck to face the ceiling I head a big crack in my neck that made me think if I broke a bone there. Then immediately after that crack I felt a warm cycle like burst in my face and made a bomb sound like. I was shocked and I blinked then the moment t tried to sit up on my bed I felt everything going so slow around me like I was in the slow motion movie like matrix. Then I felt warmtnes covering me all over but it was hard to breath and I was feeling that ok losing my councioise for a second. I gathered all my power and hardly called on my mom and sister. The moment they ran to the room I was feeling ok and alert like nothing ever happened. To me it was like few seconds beacuse i felt everything happened to me so fast. But that she ncident left me with huge anxiety and stress. I’ve asked my sister if she saw my neck position before I woke up and she told me that my pillow was jammed under my neck and my neck was slightly bend. I always had difficulties to find a good pillow so I was trying diffrent pillows to find a good one. Anyhow, that day I ran to my Dr. And explained all the details word by word hoping that he can imagine what I went through. But instead he checked my vital and neurological signs and sent me home with some relaxant pills. He told me that It wasn’t a stroke or anything like that beacuse even a TIA would give me some stroke like symptoms for a short time. I went home trusting him that nothing was wrong with me. After few days I felt extreme stiffness and pain around my shoulders, neck and back of my head. I called him and told him that I’m suffering so bad he said take a warm shower and rest it’s nothing. After few weeks while I still was suffering from the stiffness one morning I woke up with weird vision. I was shocked that when I open my eyes I could see big dime size darkness in both of my eyes that were not floters beacuse they did not move they were just there. I tried to sit up looking Stright and they were there I begin feeling pain in my left side of my neck that would travel up to my left down and upper jaw then a long side of my left ear then would to back of my scull then tip of my scull then to my left temple left eye left eyebrow left check around left eye. I even felt the pain inside of my neck at the left side when I was trying to swallow down my food. The pain was weird to me. I called him back and explained to him that what happened to me he told me that it might be a migraine. I kept telling him that I never suffer from headaches or migraine but he told me now I do. The next days I begin noticing that with any move my vision changes and the darkness appears. For example: when I was trying to clean up something I would feel the pain and burning in the effected area and my vision would change immediately. The vision darkenings got so intense that even when I bend my head to eat I would see the darkness as well. So I became like a robot just sit still and not to do anything that could bring the changes. I could not lay my head on pillow as well or lay on my left side beacuse immidatlly the darkness would appear. So I begin searching on line looking for answer that I found a condition nameh GCA or temporal arteritis. Honestly, each of its symptopms were matching mine so I thought this is it I’m dealing with this condition. I called my dr again and told him that he got upset and said that I’m to young for it this and that. But I’ve asked for all the special blood works that were told in the GCA article. Everything can back normal then I pushed him for Brain MRI since I wasn’t feeling ok and at ease. He hardly order that MRI for me. I asked to do it without contrast. So evertijg came back normal on that Brain MRI just on the T2 there were several nonespecific tiny white spots on both
frontal lobs that were mostly pereferal. So, the radiologyst listed a long conditions from vascular, inflammation to aging spots. But he added this that this findings for her age are not normal so I advice you to do more imagines. But my Dr. Told me that these findings are always normal and are harmless there is nothing to worry about. But I pushed him to refere me to nerologyst which I could finally get. So I saw the first nerologyst and he did his basic rutines looked in my MRI and told me there is no matching between your nerologycal signs and your MRI. So he said that to ignor the findings. He told me that the radiologyst had to put everthing to cover himself since he doesn’t know me or checked me at all. Then I went to see the second third and fifth nerologyst to see what they have to say. The last one was at Stanford nerology Clinics. So they all told me the same. But at Stanford I explained what happened to me and the reason behind the Brain MRI. Nor the attending nerologyst or his studentdidnt get concerned at all. They just ordered a cervical and thorasic MRI just to make sure if there was no pinched nerve there which came back normal so I was dismissed. I had three hours apointment with them unlike other nerologysts office vists that had. I made sure to explain and ask my questions but I got no help. Then I came back home empty handed with the same symptopms. So I thought to see a Rehumiptologyst and she checked my body and ordered so many special tests with normal results and told me that I was fine. But I asked her to help me to get some different MRI’s so she ordered few including the MRA of the carotid and brain as well. Beacuse I kept bringing up the Vascular isusse so she agreed on MRA. Any how all the carotid Ultrasound and other MRI’s came back normal just the carotid MRA showed the
Blood flow related stenosis on the left internal carotid which the radiologyst called artifact. But to me it was my golden answere beacuse I was the one who was suffering all this time from the left side as well. But to my unbelief none of the doctors and nerologysts got concerned the moment they see the Artifact word there. So I sent the actual CD with its reports to the Standford nerologysts as well and he told me that after discussing my MRA images and the carotid ultrasound imeges the both radiologist and the nerologist believe that the findings its artifact. Then he added that beacue the MRA was without contrast on was based on time fly any brearhing and movement could be the result of artifact findings. I told him that I made sure to be still and not to move even a bit that how the tech was asking me to breath but the nerologyst still said the same. But I truly believe the MRA findings and I’m sure that I got the right result but the doctors are not confused it at all. My vision got little better after all these mounths but if I bend over, or stay in that position or lay on my back or left side I keep getting that darkness with pain and burning in the left side of my neck and head. It’s not intense as it was before but it’s still there bothering me. I even went and see three diffrent eye doctors pulse one Stanford neuro opthamologist my eyes are fine which I knew it in heart too but the problem is from my neck that they don’t believe or at all. So here is me with my long story what do you think guys? Did I survive a stroke? Did I have the stroke the day of the incident? Could all these symptopms that I described related to that incident? Am I still at the risk of future stokes or aneurism? They didn’t put me on any blood thinners at all cause they couldn’t come with any diagnosis so am I still in danger? None of the Doctors that I’ve seen before agreeing to order me another MRA to check and see if the left artery artifact findings is still there or not. So this time I’ve asked to be refered to UCSF nerology to see what they’ll come up with. Guys will this condition resolve by its own I mean if there is a VAD that I’m dealing with will it heal by itself? Will MRI’s without contrast show the healing proses? I be had six diffrent MRI’s including MRA’s in one mounth without contrast I’m afraied that i might put my self in danger by doing all those MRI’s in one mounth.
Forgive me for writing such a long story but I wanted you to know exactly what happened and how I feel.
God bless you all for helping each other and be there to help.
Thank you

Hi Kate my name is Denise I’ve been home from the neurosurgical unit a week today. Like you I was in my own bed I was just going to bed on a Sunday night for my work on Monday morning then a massive headache in the back lower left just above my neck I felt as if I had been hit by a hammer then the pain started going down my neck I couldn’t get comfortable and didn’t even have the energy to get up and take pain killers I got 3 hrs sleep and went to work sat in absolute agone all day with every pain killer available not doing anything for me. I thought it would just go away so didn’t want to run to doctors or a&e so I left it I was off work for the next 2 days thinking/hoping it would go finally in work on the Thursday I was in so much pain and walking like a robot my colleagues forced me to go see a doctor the doctor instantly sent me to a&e I had a ct scan which came back clear and a lumbar puncture and the xanthocromia came back inconclusive so I was sent to the neurosurgical unit for more tests. I had a ct scan with contrast and an mri scan both came back clear and because of this they weren’t going to do the cerebral angiography that was scheduled and repeatedly cancelled the radiologist said there was no point doing it as my scans had came back clear although I was terrified of having it done and she wasn’t refusing I begged her to do it I knew there was something wrong and asked if this would also check my neck she said not normally it would just be the brain but to put my mind at ease she would do my neck too thankfully as it came back I have a vertebral arterial dissection (vad) and if it hadn’t been picked up I would have had a stroke after finding this they had looked back on both my scans and seen this because the first time I think they were only looking for an aneurysm. The treatment is aspirin and amlodipine a blood pressure tablet to widen the artery lots of rest and I’ve now been a non smoker for 14 days I still have pretty bad headaches but hopefully they will go when the tear starts to heal hope this helps I too have 2 kids that mean the world and I saw how much of a fright they got so a massive lifestyle change for me I’m 42 years old and my kids are 17 and 11 X take care xx

How did you get this vertebral artery dissection. My young healthy family member got it from a neck adjustment and died. Anyone else ready, please let me know how you got your vertebral artery dissection. Thank you!!!! Blessings to you all during this terrible time in your life.

Hi, Dianne. I’m so sorry for your loss. My dissection was from doing crunches. I had just finished a round of a HIIT workout and went to do the second set and overexerted myself, put my hands behind my head and pulled too hard unintentionally… and the VAD happened.

VAD just happens, there is nothing you can do to avoid it, there is no way to know for sure what causes this injury.
Your heart beats at least 60 times per minute, with head movements and while sleeping with a twisted neck. Just wait three months for healing, get new images, if normal get back to life gradually .
Never smoke

Hi there, My name is julie and I am a firefighter. I had a trauma related injury on a middle-of-the-night fire and fell appx. 5+ feet , landing in a ditch on my back and head. Transported off the scene via ambulance to ER. CT unremarkable. Positive concussion and back injury. A month later, I was lying in bed and woke with blurred vision, dizziness and vertigo like symptoms. Husband took me to ER, was in hospital for 4 days. On 3rd day, Dr decided to do a CT-Angiogram. Results proved left carotid dissection with aneurism and Right VAD. I continue to have dizziness, dark vision, neck pain. I had a followup CTA at 6 months, no change. I just had my 1 year CTA followup with no change. I cannot do firefighting activities because I am not allowed to wear a helmet, torque my neck or strain on the left side and cannot lift over 20 lbs above my head. My job is physically demanding and this has been incredibly stressful. I am currently seeking a second opinion because I love my job.

I myself am a 32 yr old mother just 6 days out of acute secondary vertebral artery dissection on right side. My doc seems hopeful of a full recovery but I am in bad shape right now. My limbs are numb…strong but feel asleep. I have no control over my right side. When do things start to get better? I’m on blood thinner and bp meds and 81mg aspirin. So scared

Hi, Angela. I’ll be praying for you and your healing and that your fear will pass. If you’re on Facebook, please consider joining the Vertberal Artery Dissection Support Group if you’re not yet a member. There are over a thousand people who currently have or have had VAD who are there to answer any questions you may have or just to give support.

Hi Samantha- its going to be ok. Many people have arterial loops. They are common with FMD; tortuosity of the arteries does happen and you should be just fine! I have it. Once you have a dissection you have a slightly greater chance of stroke anyway like 1% I think. After a few years ( took me 2 years to calm my PTSD down from my event) you kind of make peace with this and life does continue. Glad your doing ok! Keep going strong!Leah


My sister has been ill for the last 8 months and was literally today, just diagnosed with VAD and the consultant said she suffered a stroke. Her movement on one side of the body, speech, walking etc have all been strongly affected and over the last two months, her walking deteriorated and she has required a wheelchair.

Has anyone had an experience with late diagnosis? Did they make a full recovery. Any information you can share would be so welcome.

Thank you,

So sorry that your sister has had a stroke and that it was not diagnosed for 8 months. I had a stroke 2 1/2 years ago and the neurologist said I had had a stroke before according to the test results. She said many people have undiagnosed strokes. I recall a very difficult episode 10 years before which forced me to the floor because of vertigo and I was on the floor for many hours unable to lift my head and vomiting constantly. I thought it was a vertigo attack and waited until it stopped. I was shaky for a day or so and then resumed my normal routine. I wonder how many people have strokes and think it is vertigo? Your sister will need to be put on blood thinner probably, and address the risk factors that created the stroke so that doesn’t happen again. Tell her she is tough – she survived with no medical intervention! It is not too late to be evaluated for treatment of the rightside weaknesses so that she can work on that. I have had trouble recently with walking because of twisting my ankle on the weak side. The neurologist says the pain in my ankle wasn’t caused by the stroke, but the weakness which allowed the injury to happen is probably related to the stroke. An evaluation of her situation now will develop a plan to deal with whatever comes along. Congratulate her for surviving. That’s no small thing and a cause for optimism going forward.

Has anyone had memory lapse since their VAD? Mine was a year and a half ago and recently I have had a problem with forgetting what I am talking about in the middle of a sentence. I just go blank. Being a manager of a major corporation this has been difficult to deal with. It doesn’t happen a lot but I was just wondering if anyone else has had this happen to them since their dissection.

If I were speaking with you face to face, I would probably ask if you are under some kind of stress? Or new medication? Your neurologist can tell you if the stroke affected the memory, but if it did, it seems it would have shown up before now. If your nerves are causing it, I can make a book recommendation. Sounds as though you have made great progress in your recovery otherwise.

My recovery has gone great. It’s been 18 months and I’m back to my usual self. this is something new with my lapse in thoughts and was just throwing it out there. I love to read so I am interested in the book. Thanks for the response. I have continued to follow everyone on this chat board since my VAD and may God bless you all in your recovery.

A very helpful book for those who suffer nervously is “Hope and Help for your nerves” by Dr. Claire Weekes. I keep my tattered and much-loved copy in my kitchen to show anyone who comes along who suffers from nerve.
Her books are comforting and effective in teaching the sufferer how to deal with sensitized nerves and regain a normal life. Her family and heirs have set up a website where her books ca be purchased. Dr. Weekes was an Australian doctor who dealt with her own episode of nerves and then went on to help countless others worldwide. When Mark mentioned that he lately was experiencing forgetting what he was about to say during a conversation, I remembered that forgetting what words come next can be a symptom of a fatigued nervous system, so wanted to let him and everyone know about the wonderful legacy of books left by Dr. Weekes. I speak from experience or would never recommend this book so boldly. Doctors in general don’t seem to know how to deal with nervous illness, panic attacks etc without using drugs. Dr. Weekes explains what brings one to the point of the nervous suffering, how it presents, and how to cure it.

just had an mra done radiologist say hes does not see a dissection on this test now im really upset ,totally baffled guess I need to do the brain?
oh btw . you believe ,my nerologist has never said a word to me? she never even told me what happen has someone with her a student learning but he never spoke to me either, i fired her
to me

just had an mra done radiologist say hes does not see a dissection on this test now im really upset ,totally baffled guess I need to do the brain?
oh btw . you believe ,my nerologist has never said a word to me? she never even told me what happen has someone with her a student learning but he never spoke to me either, i fired her
to me

Hi Mark, I too have memory issues that are upsetting at work/home environment. When I have to deal with the budget and fiscal responsibilities at work I have to check and double check things. I also sometimes slip on word recall- which never used to happen. Its like I have to scroll through my memory banks to try to grasp a word that should already be out of my mouth. Seems like I have to work just a tad harder than I did before to appear ” normal”, know what I mean? I never had a stroke. Maybe the compromised blood flow throws thing slightly off?? I’m in the running for a prestigious job and this does scare me. The FMD boards talk a lot about comprehension issues- nothing is showing up in scans- but still people are having issues with this. Doctors just don’t know why yet. So, no, you are not alone.

Thanks Leah. If you hear anything from your doctor or find anything out let me know. I go for my biannual MRI soon. (Doctors orders since my VAD). My neurologist said he would take a look to see if anything new has happened that may be causing this.

Hi Mary, I have been thinking of you. Are you sure your pain is from post stroke syndrome and not something else? Have you ruled out other organic illnesses like lupus, diabetes, arthritis , Lyme etc? That’s where I am right now. Going to see a rheumatologist to see if some of my numbness and weird symptoms are vitamin deficiencies or something else that I am blaming on VAD. I dunno, but feel like I need to dot my i’s…

Not sure of anything, Leah. I am still trying to find out my new normal after the stroke. It is an adventure, that’s for sure.

I don’t like the reaction to the pain meds I have tried in the past because they make me sleepy during the day and cause memory and motivation problems. So I am always looking for solutions to the discomfort which don’t involve impairing my thought process.

Good Morning !


Hi Julie, sorry about your friend i’m on baby aspirin and plavix for my VAD .IM 31/2 months after stoke and still have pain in neck and body so i assume your friends pain is par of the course i also have headaches once in awhile but seems Drs pay no mind in my case .hope all goes well for your friend this condition is very stressful for many of us i try to find my patience and believe and have faith all is well MY LOVE TO YOU AND YOUR FRIEND SHE’LL BE OK JUST THINK POSITIVE .LOVE GINA.

I colored my hair at home a couple of weeks after hemorrhagic stroke. I am reluctant to go to a salon where the sinks put your neck in a strain.

My neurologist said that I could never use a sink at the hair salon again. That the position of the neck is the worst one after a VAD.


Hi Gina,

You are correct. It’s often (initially) missed! The Emergency Department doctors missed my VAD and stroke. Here are two articles that may be helpful for you. Perhaps you’ve already read them, but they could be of use to others, too.

NY Times: Symptoms of Torn Artery Are Easy to Miss

An M.R.I., usually done using a contrast agent that highlights the arterial structures, is now the gold standard for diagnosing a vertebral artery dissection.


Medscape: Vertebral Artery Dissection Workup

Diagnosis of vertebral artery dissection (VAD) is usually made by neuroimaging, which has largely replaced conventional angiography in most centers. The 2011 combined ASA/ACCF/AHA guidelines gave a class I recommendation to noninvasive computed tomography angiography (CTA) or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) as the initial diagnostic study for suspected VAD.

Hope this is helpful!

Hi Robert ,
yes I have a few issues having 3 strokes and a VAD. KIND OF SCARY BUT Ido the best i can . had a hemmorage stoke in 2015 now they have me on plavix and low grain aspirin the plavix has many side effects it 4 months wish drs could stop it. how you doing ?

Good morning.trying to recover from a stroke and a dissection would like to know has anyone ever had this blood test >>>>Plavix Response, PLT Function? If yes does it help any? THANK YOU.. GINA

Good Morning !
I’ts July 14,2017 and yes our medications have many side affects the plavix is whipping my butt so I called my DR. for professional advice,4 months trying to recover a stroke with a VAD. Good luck to all of us.


My friend had a VAD two weeks ago and is currently recovering bytaking Lovenox injections and Coumadin.
She is still having fairly severe headaches daily and I am just wondering if anybody can give me their advice on if this is normal or not.
The stroke didn’t leave her with any paralysis and her motor skills on the left side are only showing a slight slowing.
She’s also been easily agitated and quick to temper.
Thank you in advance for any information…just looking for some answers.

She needs to drop the temper. That is something she can control and MUST control. The headaches she can’t control and they will diminish over time. As one who has been there (VAD over 2 1/2 years ago), I can tell you that she is plenty scared. Time will take care of that and eventually she will not be fearful. Tell her that what she is going through is normal after a stroke, that she is fortunate that the after effects are mild, that she can no longer have the luxury of little temper tantrums. Adopting a calm and peaceful attitude is part of her recovery. Tell her she will be fine and that we all go through what she is going through in the early weeks after a stroke.

The pain does not always go away . It Can be frustrating, when you can’t escape the pain and neck stiffness. VAD recovery over three years.

I was wondering if anyone else still had pain years later… almost 2 years and I have throbbing pain some days at dissection site.. scares me to death always wondering if there’s a clot. Neck gets very stiff and it’s even hard to swallow sometimes

Hi Rose. Yes, I sometimes have that hot, burning pain right in the center of my neck. I also have stiffness at times and a sharp “snap” in my neck. I too am nearly 3 years out from the VAD. (I will be 80 my next birthday.) Neurologist says it probably has to do with arthritis in my neck, after an MRI and an xray. There are no other symptoms with it. Very unsettling when it happens but I chalk it up to my new “normal”. More difficult for me is the Central Regional Pain Syndrome which developed a year or so after the stroke. Some days (especially days of low atmospheric pressure) it is very had to move. Neurologist says that 10% of stroke patients seem to get it. Have tried all the usual drugs and they only dull the brain, not the pain, so I am looking for something that can help with RSD/CRPS symptoms. If anyone else is suffering with this post-stroke surprise, I would love to hear from them.

I did. Thought it would never stop. Found an excellent trainer. We started “unwinding” my shoulder and then my neck thru very precise strength and stretching exercises. Turns out almost all of my pain was from guarding. We went very slow, but I’m finally pain free and have techniques to help myself keep it that way. It’s definitely worth trying. My neurologist approved.

Please follow up on that good news. Who is the trainer and where can we find the type of exercises which “unwound” you? Great to hear- thanks for sharing.

We live in Charleston, SC. I utilized friends and essentially interviewed personal trainers. My trainer is very holistic. Interested in bring balance back to my body by strengthening my left side that was weakened by my strokes. Someone that has a physical therapy background is awesome. Understanding everything is connected. Form of the exercise was more important that anything to isolate muscles.

I have pain to some degree every day . Some days it’s not as bad as others. Some days the pain is so bad I can’t concentrate . I have to take topiramate and another non-habit-forming medication so I can live and work a normal life. it’s been over two years. The pain was worse in the beginning or I have just learned to adapt to the pain.

Easier said than done! It’s okay for people to say drop the tantrums. It’s extremely difficult to come to terms with life post stroke. Take it from a young woman who also experienced a VAD, which subsequently led to multiple posterior circulatory strokes. Everyone is different and we are all individuals and deal with things in our own way. Being a registered nurse myself, I have always advised patients to let their emotions out. It is a normal response to the situation in hand.

My advice to drop the temper tantrums was borne of my own experience because it meant keeping blood pressure down, and high blood pressure was identified as a risk factor for another stroke. I found that flares of anger were not essential, and because I was so afraid of another stroke, I dropped them.

Hi Mary,
I am late to blog. I had my VAD on October 31, 2016. That’s right! Trick/Treat. I was 52. I recovered pretty well meaning no permanent damage except closed artery and a scare on my brain that show the stroke. I did three months rehab (physical, occupational, speech) and returned to work. I waited five months to seek counseling, which was too long of a wait. Now get this, I am a school counselor. I needed help with my depression. I was functioning but there was a lot of unresolved issues; I couldn’t let go of the old me and accept my “new normal”, why me and why now, no one truly understands what I am going through, fear of it happening again, how people are responding and treating me after ‘the injury’, etc. I can keep throwing logs on fire, but you get my point. I was having a Super Bowl Pity Party about my injury. Now, I do have infamous HEADACHES that are unsettling but it’s a part of my new normal. 10 month out from the injury. I am not settling. I keep fighting everyday to monitor the patterns and to manage the pain through prescription at first, OTC pain relievers, and force myself to rest (which is hard for me because I am naturally restless even at 53 now). All this say, counseling is extremely important. A traumatic injury has occurred and a life change has happened. You need to put in the work mentally as the brain reorganize itself physically. Don’t give up fighting and there’s no such a thing as a mini or minor stroke. A stroke is a stroke. Stay disciplined with meds, diet, exercise, counseling, and doctors appointments. It’s a game changer! Fight!

Absolutely i suffer from that too. this lady doesnt have a clue what shes on about. I suffer from that, slight movement triggers orthostatic effects which means my blood pressure changes on its own – something this lady seems not to understand – heart races, feel like ill pass out, have flight or fight adrenalin rushing through my body for hours leaving me utterly exhausted and agitated – hence the mood changes outwith my control, Spine throbbing, back of head throbbing – first time it happened i had no idea what was going on. Id moved my neck and this wave of adrenalin just swept over me, felt similar to anaphylaxis as i have suffered from allergies before but the similarity was the flight or flight feeling, it wasnt a reaction. Worse thing was it kept going on for ages this really awful rush feeling like i was on drugs but not a nice rush…felt hot. Weirdly it affects the nerves from knee to ankle so bottom part of legs feel numb and tingly. Had to stand up as that eased it slightly rather than lying down…takes hours to pass and then i still feel rough after effects of it days later. Aswell as overly emotional and agitated which isnt me and not how i want to feel. I can literally feel the change in my brain and then i feel like im going to burst into tears – which i have no control over. Second time it happened was about 6 weeks in, leaned back in bed and was holding my legs together like a yoga position rolled back, felt pressure at top of my spine near shoulders and same response kicked in – this time i knew how the drill went as i recognised the symptoms, left me washed out for a week so tired and achey. Then had another in middle of the night about two weeks later, simply when lying on my side id put my left leg out alittle as you do in sleep (as my previous post said im sleeping on my back from now on as i think on my side didnt help) but at that time i was on my side and stretched my leg out. Immediately i felt a weird blood flow sensation at the top of that leg in my groin area, like a block of flow, within seconds that horrible rush feeling started and i stood up out of bed (half asleep) but knowing what lay ahead, that horrible process again. I had no idea what these were until my physio said it sounded like orthostatic postoral syndrome. This to me is one of the worst parts of the VAD recovery, it feels horrible and you literally never know when itll set off as ive tried to watch out and be mindful of posture – but different postures seem to have triggered it every time, Such a relief to hear others suffer from this as i thought i was going mad at first thinking whats going on. Horrible the way it leaves the lower part of my legs tingly and weak but thighs arent affected. Physio said a certain artery Femor is it in bottom part of leg that could be affected more aswell as certain nerves so it bypasses somehow top part of legs and affects bottom part, but waist up is all affected, heart racing, headache, feeling like death. Strange how the body reacts, i did think it was maybe a result of the damage to my back that was triggering the spine to cause it, maybe from reading this its linked more to the artery dissections. Although the first one i hadnt trapped any blood flow, unlike maybe the leg one, so not sure. Eitherway i feel for anyone suffering from it as its not nice and i hope that maybe it will go away in time. I dont drive but if i did or had a job where i was operating machinery or had to be alert i feel this symptom could really hinder your life as when it comes on you have no control and feel so weak, it doesnt go away quickly when it kicks in. You have to wait as the adrenalin just keeps going and going – if anyone has any tips as to how best handle this when its happening id be grateful to know. So far i just have to stand up, lying down makes it feel worse, stand for about 5-10 mins and suffer it – then sit down but upright only. Other than that ive no other clues what to do. Thanks to anyone reading and wish you all well in your endeavours too – together we can help share support and information that may help us all equally with our pathway to good health again

Hey Liz, Thanks so much for the rebuke.

Once home following my stroke, I had outbursts of frustration because of my suddenly altered life and unknown future. My husband pointed out that if I didn’t stay calm and deal with my new circumstances that I was putting myself at risk for another episode. In the 3 years since, I have been able to do that, but as you pointed out, this control is not always possible. Since you have convinced me that I “don’t have a clue” I will refrain from commenting in the future. All the best to you and everyone in your recoveries.

I wanted to thank you for reaching out to me not too long ago in response to my initial post here on the recovery forum. I very much appreciated getting your email, and it helped me tremendously when I was going through the initial panic and fear/anxieties over what had just happened. Thank you so much. I’ve read your posts and replies to folks on here that are seeking a light in the storm or just a shoulder to ‘lean’ on, because this is and can be such a terrifying experience. You’ve helped many people including myself to be brave and see things through. And reading your response in regards to ‘controlling’ residual emotions or anger/frustrations/outbursts, most of us knew that there was no malice in your comment or suggestions- a person wrote in with what looked to be a post seeking advice from fellow VAD sufferers- it’s obvious that your reply was meant to be of help not harm. We all have felt these emotions at times, and it IS very difficult to harness the negativity and redirect thoughts when as you stated, you’re suddenly thrown off kilter and life is upside down, but, Liz, if you Are of sound mind at this time, are able to write a foot long blog detailing your experiences, share your story, properly punctuate, use sarcasm within context, Carry on conversation, you Are able to control things to an extent.. that is just common sense. Anger sucks, I feel your pain Liz.. I really do and I understand every bit of it. I’m there too. But if it feels as though it’s something that is completely uncontrollable at times, that would be something to discuss with your specialist. I have had complete breakdowns at times, cried hysterically over simply not being able to turn my head the same anymore, or run around like crazy with my children, my memory not being quite as sharp, my left buttcheek is still numb, months later(lol), I still have moderate whiplash just from the chiropractic adjustment, I even have a vertebral artery loop now that is causing Bowhunters Syndrome after the fact- it’s aggravating- but I too have had to sit down and think hard about the situation, and remind myself that the stress alone will cause me more harm than healing, and remind myself to be thankful that Hey, I may be limited right now, but man, I still get to take a breath and know I’m alive, I get to go on loving my beautiful babies, see them growing, see the sunshine and feel it on my skin(aside from my cheek..).
Tragedy befalls Everyone, no one is exempt from pain or heartache, it doesn’t matter how much we love or how good we are, everyone dies at some point- some happen to go sooner than others and often in ways that just downright suck or in hindsight we’re totally preventable. We forget about that in the midst of everyday life. How fragile life is and that we’re not invincible. But hey, we’ve got to do what we can to enjoy the time and life that we do have. Some people can’t walk, some people can’t talk, or are born and live for moments or only a matter of months before an illness or something takes them away from life. Some are confined to a wheelchair in an instant or become a vegetable and on a feeding tube for the rest of their lives. This is a harsh reality to realize. Some have no choice but to accept their new circumstances and make the most of them. And Some are lucky enough to only complain about their love handles or an order at a restaurant coming out to the table cold; and it’s easy to fall into the ‘why me?’ State of mind about things. But, truth is, things just happen. And if you’re lucky enough that life goes on for you, I’d channel that energy into being thankful for it. And seeing what could be done about the anger. Therapy, counseling, or even talking to any of us about it.. if you don’t come along with a crappy attitude or a damning disposition, or argumentative, I am sure most will hear you out and try to help. But Mary has been here on this forum for awhile, is a Very kind & considerate person, and she did not deserve the hurtful remarks one bit. What she does deserve is an apology in my opinion.
I’m not here to get into a web argument, not meaning any of this harshly. I’m simply here to converse with other survivors, to share stories, hopes, positive thoughts, encouragement and advice to aid in a faster recovery physically and emotionally. If this recovery forum is becoming more of a place where people are venting in duplicates, multiples, or just bashing other survivors, I’d rather communicate via email with those that are here to heal. Thank you and speedy recovery to you all!

Samantha, Far beyond the reason you wrote your letter (thank you, by the way) your thoughts on the way life happens and how we respond to those events is worthy of being printed and framed.
Your words are a gift to us all as we cope with our disabilities…and to our families and friends who see us struggle with our new reality. You remind us of what we still have: the ability to love and the healing warmth and beauty of nature. “Suitable for framing” are your wise words…and that’s what I shall do!

Mary, please don’t go…. your are so kind, thoughtful, and gentle natured. I always read your posts and they make me smile:)

Understandable to a degree. Letting emotions out is beneficial for sure. But angry uncontrollable outbursts are more indicative of a type of damage or an imbalance and would generally need to be assessed if they’re getting out of hand. It is easier said than done to control emotions. But if one simply Can Not control them, and have realized at least that, then they know they need to see either find a way to get a handle on things, or see someone about it if they expect to get better. That is what Mary meant by her statement. Sure, self Expression is healthy, but to the point that it causes outbursts, raises BP and strains your damaged vessels, like I said before it is common sense that there’s a tier effect. She was trying to be of help and the way that people take things these days, it’s like we all have to walk on eggshells anymore when we say anything because of the way someone may misread or misinterpret, or risk the keyboard wrath of someone reading things while in a bad mood. Try to be more objective when engaged in a text or internet conversation folks.. try to picture the person talking to you and recognize what they mean by what they say. Don’t be so quick to jump the gun and flip out. There are usually two ways to take one comment…

I also am an RN 3 months out of R VAD. My healthcare background and having young children has made me 10x more anxious than the average person I believe

Find your attitude Mary shocking – ”she can no longer have the luxury of little temper tantrums. Adopting a calm and peaceful attitude is part of her recovery”. Sorry mood swings and agitation / temper are NOT controllable, A stroke is a form of brain injury and these symptoms are not something anyone can have any control over. Far too cold words for a poor woman who probably doesnt resemble her own personality thanks to a stroke. I have been there and worn the T shirt, awful feelings of agitation and mood swings, quick to flare temper was NOTHING i could control and im a usuallly very calm person who isnt into mediation. A chiropractor caused my VAD and carotoid artery, neck and sinus tears thanks to the dangerous practice that should be banned. I was a fit and healthy person prior who went in for a muscle strain, didnt even need my neck doing, but he did and that double twist was the worst mistake of my life. Had two strokes thereafter, one 2 weeks later, one 3 weeks on – and you have no control at all with your emotions if your cerebellum is damaged. Please have way more respect than to post referring to people having ‘temper tantrums’ – go and work in a sroke / brain injury unit and understand these people like myself want to be better and free from mood changes but its neurological and any sufferers will understand ‘you feel’ it going on in your brain, and back of the head with me, often with other unpleasant symptoms. This isnt psycho somatic nor a tantrum, this is a frightening real change of the brain effecting these mood swings and feelings. Until full recovery may prove these effects residual or improved – note some sufferers due to the damage wont improve 100% their emotional and the nervous system will always be somewhat impaired, decorum with statements like that need to be had. I would also warn of doctors saying go back to normal activity after 6 weeks, 3 months and anyone on here saying they made a full recovery they are very lucky and God bless you. I am guessing they just had a VAD and no major strokes attached to it. Its the strokes that cause the damage, a VAD with no stroke and its heals has a much better chance of full recovery. I was told by numerous doctors act normal after 6 weeks to 2 months ….bad advice it caused a second stroke. My honest advice is complete rest if you can – trying to get back to work isnt worth the risk of a second stroke which can cause more damage. I also found, but not sure if anyone else did, sleeping on my side caused more damage. so as uncomfortable as it is id probably recommend someone to sleep on their back for at least the first 3 months. I started to sleep also on my side alittle after the first 2 months and would wake up with awful headaches and always felt a weird pins and needles feeling on the side i lay on and pressure in the head. This was only after the VAD, before id no health issues except muscle aches – hence the deadly trip to a chiro. I also think sleeping that way added to the second stroke as it was putting an unnatural pressure on the brain and blood flow – fine when were healthy – when you have a VAD i think its not good to sleep that way until maybe 6 months in or you genuinely are sure youre ok and fully well if had no stroke. I had only slept on my side for about 3 weeks and was waking up not feeling great with these headaches and pain where the artery dissection sites were, wheras if i slept on my back id no pain. Could be another tip id give people, blood can flow properly if on your back at night so aids the healing process maybe and takes pressure off the arteries and cerebellum / brain. I now will only be sleeping on my back until at least 6 months as im only 3 months in, wishing everyone the best of luck with their recovery.

Misprint – had first stroke 2 weeks in and then second 3 months on – this is my warning do not listen to doctors who say thats ok get cracking with life, i did after 2 months thinking yeah im feeling bit better and the second stroke i honestly believe was caused by not letting my body rest and foolishly getting on with life. Aswell as my sleeping on my side which i genuinely do think added to the second stroke. If any of my words can help someone else avoid a second stroke or aid recovery then thats what this forum is here for. Totally can relate to TIm about the stabbing pain behind the eye, I also had Horners syndrome on my left eye as a result of the VAD and chiro neck twist. This left me with an eye that feels sore at times, stabbing nerve pain like a weird shooting pain behind the eye and muscle ache around the eye. My eyeball actually was slightly more protruded and cornea exposed more the first few weeks. This has slowly recovered and gone back to normal. id never ever recommend anyone to see a chiropractor nor osteopath as any neck twist to me should be banned, far far too much risk which they dont tell you. Even if youre one in 50,000 or whatever they say and i think the numbers are higher, too many people covering stuff up about them…thats one too many for me. Its linked to your brain stem the neck, dont mess about with that stuff. Id never let any member of my family ever visit a chiro, other alternatives such as gentle physio etc. Id be wary even people that go to chiros and say i dont let them touch my neck but my backs ok – not really as i also had them work on my back – your back is your spine, every major nerve pathway linked to it which affects so much, your central nervous system. I wouldnt let anyone mess with my back and spine pressing and cracking. They used that gun machine too on my spine which i found really messed up the nerves ….he really did a number on me so beware anyone, just say no to the chiros office plenty of other safer places to go. As they dont care when it goes wrong, deny and cant help you – they arent trained doctors – i was in a&e three days later. Anyone messing with brain stems, vascular, nerve pathology – yet has no training on these areas should be banned. They work on manipulation of bones – but if they knew about the other areas on depth which is impossible they arent trained in them – theyd sure not feel twisting someones neck to adjust at c1 atlas – right next to the skull and brainstem – is a good idea ‘incase’ it goes wrong – and whats wrong, for me i think just doing that anyway on anyone holds massive risk. I remember saying to my parents what happened and they said in the army in the old days they’d teach you to kill a man by twisting his neck. That says it all….if someone in the street walked up to you and twisted your neck with force twice, youd not offer yourself up for it. Dont make the mistake i made, i regret every moment walking in that office happy, great day ahead, slight shoulder ache…ended up nearly fighting for my life hours later….and i am only 39, fit and healthy female with no health issues at all.

For me, the neck and head pain went away after 6 weeks. Now, I’m 4.5 months out and occasionally get a stabbing pain in the corner of my left eye. I think it’s related to the healing process, so I welcome it. These pains are much less frequent.

Hi Julie, I had daily migraines in the beginning for a few weeks pretty nonstop. I got on a daily migraine medication and it took care of that. She should discuss chronic migraine medication with her doctor for the short /long term. I also benefited by lots of sleep during those early weeks.

WHO KNEW ? its a lot of things with our bodies caused by having a stoke WHO KNEW? NOW MY NERVES ARE CAUSING ME NUMBNESS AND GRIEF. Anyone wake up with body numbness ?
Regards Gina

I am looking for support groups for this. My wife is close to 2 weeks out. We are both fearful of the future. We are hoping to be hear from others about their symptoms and recovery.

I had a migraine for two months after my dissection, exhausted from lack of sleep, severe neck pain. I got very stiff bc of guarding of my head. ..lots of stiffness I had to work out with stretching, careful massage, etc. I think it was about 6 months after dissection that I started that bc I was so fearful. This causes lots of anxiety, knowing you could have a stroke is scary. Expect an emotional roller coaster for a while… I got depressed, gained weight from inactivity, and was in so much pain for a while. Almost 2 years out and I still have migraines occasionally that last for days at a encouraging but be patient with her and let her
recover at her own pace..I thank god everyday that I have the most supportive boyfriend that was so helpful during my recovery…. he didn’t want me just laying around so he would plan short activities or outings to help me along but knew when I just needed time to lay in bed with a bag of frozen peas on my head. Even tho I’m still having symptoms, they are manageable and I’m back to gym, boating, paddleboarding, school, and working full time as a nurse..and just living life. In addition to my meds,started taking a collagen powder called Great Lakes everyday to help strengthen up my blood vessel walls.. that is something I decided to do on my own. Take care and it will get better…it just takes time and it seems everyone’s timeframe is different to full recovery

Thanks friend, I am also a nurse. Your advice is sound. It is comforting to know that you are active again. I have had difficulty finding posts/sites on the internet about positive outcomes after VAD. This is something that is essential to those that are in the the acute phase of the stroke to help with their recovery. Again, glad you are doing well.

4mos after my stroke and arms still get so numb and painful when trying to sleep.last night legs were kind of shaky to im at a loss. .My circulation might be getting worse so i get up and walk a little.


My sons had left verterbal artery dissection due to neck injury his artery has not healed but his symptoms of migraine and vertigo have subsided considerably,moreover he did not suffer from stroke thankfully….but he smokes hooka and i wonder if that is hampering his healing does anyone have any info on this forum….wonder if smoking is one of the cause too.

WHO KNEW ? its a lot of things with our bodies caused by having a stoke WHO KNEW? NOW MY NERVES ARE CAUSING ME NUMBNESS AND GRIEF. Anyone wake up with body numbness ?
Regards Gina
oh no another duplicate !

I’m 4 months post VAD with two stokes a week apart from each other and I was out Saturday night totally normal sitting at the table feeling better and better everyday, all of a sudden I became flush in the face sweating my head rate went sky high and my arms and feet got knumb and tingly. My grind said hey are you ok I said no call mike ( my husband) he wa out side. He came in and I needed the both of them to help me walk. The back of my neck was throbbing along with the artery in the front. It was pulsing and throbbing. I called my doctor the next day and he said I’m fine he thinks I’m having a panick atrack???!!!! I’m sooo confused!?

How is your wife recovering? I’m six weeks out of my vad stroke and wondering when and if I will continue to get better. So frustrating to see no improvement but others do. I couldn’t even walk after mine and while I am walking it’s not exactly a normal walk. It’s a struggle to walk and really to do anything. Still numb on right side

I suffered from a stroke after VAD on the left side. I was in the ICU for 6 days with close monitoring. Finally after 1 year of being on warfarin, my MRI results showed that my artery was now normal and I can get off my medication. however, I still feel tingling (pins and needles) on my left arm and leg. Not sure if that’s normal and will be chronic. Did anyone experience this symptom. I emailed my doctor but no reply yet. I’m very glad to be off from warfarin though. best of luck to everyone, hope you all recover soon.

You asked about the tingling post stroke. My right side developed the symptoms similar to what you describe. They worsened after a year post stroke and now is very debilitating especially when weather is bad. Here is what you may, or may not, be dealing with (from the NIH website) “Central pain syndrome is a neurological condition caused by damage to or dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord. This syndrome can be caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors, epilepsy, brain or spinal cord trauma, or Parkinson’s disease. The character of the pain associated with this syndrome differs widely among individuals partly because of the variety of potential causes. Central pain syndrome may affect a large portion of the body or may be more restricted to specific areas, such as hands or feet. The extent of pain is usually related to the cause of the CNS injury or damage. Pain is typically constant, may be moderate to severe in intensity, and is often made worse by touch, movement, emotions, and temperature changes, usually cold temperatures. Individuals experience one or more types of pain sensations, the most prominent being burning. Mingled with the burning may be sensations of “pins and needles;” pressing, lacerating, or aching pain; and brief, intolerable bursts of sharp pain similar to the pain caused by a dental probe on an exposed nerve. Individuals may have numbness in the areas affected by the pain. The burning and loss of touch sensations are usually most severe on the distant parts of the body, such as the feet or hands. Central pain syndrome often begins shortly after the causative injury or damage, but may be delayed by months or even years, especially if it is related to post-stroke pain.” This is what I seem to have, although the medical profession isn’t very helpful in dealing with it. There are no drugs that touch it but I have found that heat and also aspercreme with Lidocaine is helpful sometimes. It isn’t fatal, it is just painful. There are a couple of drugs in the pipeline, not yet in trial, which are aimed at this kind of pain, so take heart that help for this kind of strange pain is on its way. I take nothing for it because nothing worked. The ones prescribed like Lyrica did not touch it. Great you are healed up and off coumadin! Keep up the good work and don’t worry about the tingling.

I am a 42yo female, 4 weeks ago I suffered a stroke to the Cerrabellum caused by a LHS VAD.
I too have the dizziness, anxiety with panic attacks these come mainly from the pain I am still experiencing on the LHS of my neck, The pain varies from an ache to a sharp searing pain.
My question is did others experience this pain and how long will it take to go?

Hello- I had to reach out and reply to you because I was diagnosed with a right VAD after chiropractic manipulation 4 weeks ago. I have had several followup imaging throughout the past couple of weeks because I too, experience the shooting, searing pains, aches and tingling at the site of my VAD and always fear the worst when I feel ANY sensations after this diagnosis. Fortunately all imaging looks ok, the artery is getting better flow than it was initially, things look to be improving despite the pains. And my neurointerventionalist says it is very common to have these healing pains. It is easier said than done but I am told to not worry unless I start to have neurological issues as well, to know that this is mostly a musculoskeletal/nerve feeling with some ‘guarding’ being done by the muscles during the healing process. I know how deeply and drastically this condition affects a person and would be happy to share experiences and be someone to talk to while going through this, maybe sharing what our doctors have to say/advise as there is simply Not enough information out here on the web sadly. Feel free to email me at And hopes that you experience a speedy recovery and no more aches and pains! Take care 🙂

Makes you think about these doctors do they really give the proper adequate care? Maybe mine just don’t,sorry but thats the feeling i get…………

I too am a 45 yo nurse. I was diagnosed on July 4 with VAD after chiropractor manipulation. Luckily a heads up PA in the ER recognized my headache symptoms and history to order the right tests prior to having a stroke. On coumadin and waiting to heal. I still suffer daily headache and neck pain on the affected side. What if any medications have other found that may help? This seems to be the only symprom the doctors aren’t concerned about but it is severely effecting my quality of life and ability to get back to work and focus.

so sad to hear of so many having VAD after a chiro trip, this was my case too as my previous posts share. These people should be banned, as the outcome of them can be death – or what we are experiencing…and a further stroke can still cause bad outcomes if we dont take it easy. Honestly shocked to hear how many are chiro VADs and the medical professional just looked over it and didnt seem phased. never would i recommend anyone to visit one in my lifetime and i learnt a very hard lesson. As we all have who have now potentially life long issues thanks to a 2 minute crack in the neck twice either side – my chiro said enjoy the healing journey! yes sure thing pal! god bless you all

I did experience that type of pain and sensation. Mine lasted about six months. Then came and went over the following year. My VAD took 17 months to completely heal. Dr said it was normal and a great deal caused by my guarding. I am just shy of three years from my VAD and left side strokes. I finally feel better with continuing work on my shoulders and neck to strengthen muscle and decrease guarding.


Hi Gina,

I have hidden the other two identical posts and kept this one shown and available to all.

Thank you!

I experienced a dissection in 2011 and have been doing ok until recently I took a new job requiring a lot of writing and research related work. I have found that my ability to write and communicate has been effected. Is this common? What is the long term effects of a bilateral dissection?

I am a 43 yo female. I had my first VAD on the right side in 2009, 2 weeks after having an ectopic pregnancy. I was hospitalized and put on Coumadin and gave myself Lovenox injections for 2 months. Within the last 7 years I have had at least 5 more VAD’s on the right and left side. But by the grace of God I never suffered a stroke from any of them. I was just left with horrific pain in the right side of my neck and head. I have nerve injections at least once a month for relief of pain. My quality of life has been miserable. I have managed to maintain my job and family life but only by prayer. For the last 8 years I have been sent to every neurologist and vascular doctor in my own city as well as 300 miles away from home. Just last week I went to see a new neurovascular surgeon that just moved to our city. I finally after 8 years have found a doctor that could explain to me what is going on in my body. I have been diagnosed with Fibromuscular Dysplasia and he believes that I have some type of autoimmune disease that is the cause of the FD. I have had more VAD’s on the right side than the left. To the point that my right vertebral artery is completed diseased and is not circulating any blood to my brain. It is merely circulating blood into the tiny arteries that supply the muscle fibers. That is were all of the right sided pain is coming from. The left vertebral artery is now my dominant artery but is diseased and scarred from the prior VAD’s. I have been sent to a rheumatologist first to get testing for autoimmune disease before the doctor will do a cerebral arteriogram to see what can be done to help open the path for circulation in the left artery. I am soooo happy to have finally found someone that actually has an explanation of why my pain and suffering has been so incredibly bad but at the same time I am soooo scared. I hope that this helps anyone out there that is having the same issues as myself. If you have seen multiple doctors with no answers please look into the Fibromuscular Dysplasia and autoimmune route. This might just be what is going on with you.

I’m also so scared ,have a great hemotologist checking my blood and herititary autoimmune things .seems the hemociderin depositions can attack us somehow,but thats another mystery of confusement

Wow. Like many others I find this website full of personal experiences and it does set my mind at ease a little. I had my VAD 2 1/2 weeks ago After chiropractic adjustment. I’m a 28 yr old female. After experiencing migraine like symptoms and a stiff neck for two days, a very knowledgeable doctor in the ED found both of my vertebral arteries have been dissected and are narrowed by 90% . Shockingly I didn’t have a stroke. I was admitted to the ICU for four days and then into the neurosciences department of the hospital there after. I like many of you have described, I’m terrified. The pain and/or dull headaches that seem constant, send me into a panic and frenzy almost every night. I am on Coumadin and recently was able to stop giving myself the Lovenox injections. Now that my blood is ” therapeutic”. I was told by my Doctor Who discharged me I could resume to “normal activity”. I went back home to picking up my two-year-old and almost 1-year-old, cleaning the house etc. and then wound up back in the emergency department with sharp searing pains on my right side of my head. Since then I have not been lifting our children very often. I’m lucky to have the help of my family members. I would happily take any and all advice. I guess the pain does really, when I think about it too much or seems to be in the evening/night time. Is this normal ? The mild dizziness? Will it ever go away or get better? I don’t have another CT scheduled for six months. Blessings and positive vibes to you all!!

My headaches and facial pain resolved after about 3-4 weeks. I had a left vad with a brainstem stroke. I am 3.5 mos out and have regained most everything. I still have bouts of dizziness and nystagmus related to my vestibular tract getting fried but with rehab, those are greatly improved. I went back to work part time at day 90 and resumed Crossfit the same day. I approach CF with caution, however. If you have any dizziness, I’d highly recommend a referral to ENT to get set up with a vestibular therapist. I think your pain episodes will resolve. Big thing is to remain patient and remember that even a bad sprained ankle can take much months to heal. You’re young, your body can still take a joke. You will heal. Good luck.

Hi, your story mirrors mine! Though I’m 29. But I know exactly what you’re feeling, I am 4 weeks into life after diagnosis. Fortunately I did not suffer a stroke either, but I do have all of the symptoms you describe and my imaging was identical for three weeks, and surprisingly showed a slight improvement this last week, although the pains have remained throughout the ‘healing’ process. Hopefully this reply is helpful somehow in that aspect. My Neuro Doc says the pain is normal and the healing hurts sometimes, to start to resume normal life but at a gradual pace. I’m still scared to move at times, and my neck is stiff from being so rigid after getting the news at the ER. I thought every movement would exacerbate the problem..but I guess they’re rugged little arteries and can handle some movement while they work on healing. One thing I wanted to know is- do you have any cracking or crunching or popping in the neck after the adjustment? That is probably my biggest fear at this point, the sounds my back and neck make after the chiropractor. I Never had such a ‘rice Krispy’ sounding spine until the adjustment(my first and last adjustment!) and anytime I hear myself pop I worry that a bone is hitting my artery, and the artery is being snapped like a rubber band or something and that it’s getting further damaged somehow ☹️ It’s just not a comforting sound when in motion, gives me an instant panic attack! I sit there and wait for the worst.

HI Samantha- I too get the rice crispy crackles in my neck every time I turn it, especially in the night when I roll over. Never had it pre-dissection.

Hi Leah, (that’s my daughter’s name. 😉 )
The sounds are such odd and uncomfortable sensations for sure. Sometimes it feels as though when my neck ‘crunches’ upon movement, something hits a nerve and sends tingly prickly sensations down my arms into my fingers, or hot flash feelings around my head. Does that ever happen to you? Do you have a dissection that is still in the healing process? If so, how long has it been since your diagnosis? Did it heal completely, occlude, heal with scarring, require surgery, ..? What caused yours? Do you recall what restrictions you were given upon discharge from a hospital? Is there a general healing ‘time’ for these? It is so difficult to find information about this anywhere online. It’s a lonely position to be in for sure. Thank you for your reply to my post. I appreciate it 🙂 I hate knowing that anyone else has had to deal with this condition. I do not wish it on anyone..

Hi there! These are all so crazy! I thought I was completely alone. I’m 29 years old and had two strokes one week apart from each other and had no idea that’s what was happening. The fiat time was early in the morning I woke up to feed my pups and I fell against the wall everything I touched was tingley and pins and needles my body went wet wet wet like I took a shower my neck started the throb and my head started to spin with vomiting. I stayed in bed for two days and took Advil thinking it was a fluke thing. It happened the same thing 10 times worst the following week and I went for the emergency room right away. They thought I had vertigo or crystals in my ears so I went to Boston and the MRI showed two small strokes with complete occlusion with the VAD. I’m about three weeks out from the hospital and no doctor wants to see me until two more months for another MRI. I’m so confused and lost. I’m a hairstylist and a workout nut. My life seems flipped upside down right now and I hate it. I same sometimes have panic attack like episodes and I get light headed and need to sit. It scares the bell out of me and I don’t know what to do besides take big breathes and try to sit and rest. My head throbs occasionally but almost everyday I have to take Advil for a headache. So I’m don’t know if it’s “healing” pains or what. I had to go right to the Obgyn to get off of birth control which apparently causes blood clots that also lead to strokes. So next week I have to go get an IUD. I just need some direction on what to do or not do, exercise? Etc…. anyone else feel a little lost or up in the air!

Hi guys… Ds is sikander from india. I had VAD on January 22 2017 while playing cricket. I was bowling nd dn suddenly i feel d giddiness nd weakness on right side of my body. After MRI and CT ANGEO d doctors cnfrmed dt it ws VAD. After 2 mnths i go through CT ANGEO again nd d reports show my artery fully recovered. I am still on asprin , clopid and atorvas tabs. Sometimes i still feel little headache nd itz more like psychological now. Got more confident after reading ur stories. Can anyone plz suggest wt precautions i should take to go through d same again. Thank u

Hi Sikander,

Good to hear your artery has fully healed. Once that has happened, you should be back to normal, however, as you said, it might be all in your head now. I had my VAD Dec 2015 and my last MRI was Oct 2016 which should it was stable, still not completely healed yet. My headaches stopped around April 2016 but I still get a bit light headed from time to time, think this might be a mild panic attack or something. We have all been through a traumatic experience and not everyone comes out of it feeling chipper.
Take it easy for a while but also think how lucky we are that we are still here to talk about it.
Hope you get back to the cricket soon, my playing days are long behind me, but I still love the game.
Take care,

You need to talk to your neurologist about this, I had a stoke back in Nov. I had a Vertebral Dissection and have had multiple ct and mris done. I am young(34 yrs of age) and after seeing my Neurologist on and off for 6 months we did a CTA and it came back with no significant signs of dissection, she gave me the clear to go back to work. ALL THOUGH I was put on light duty, I am an avid golfer and she told me that it was up to ME and how I felt to do these things. I haven’t been out yet, but I would go with what the doctor “orders

Hi everyone it has been really therapeutic hearing success stories from people who have experienced VAD.

As a 33 y/o ED Doctor I suddenly developed vertigo after my night shifts a week ago followed by mild occipital headaches, and have only recently been diagnosed with left VAD with left cerebellar infarct. I have never been unwell and done everything possible to live a “healthy” lifestyle.

Touch wood I have made a good neurological recovery, but still awaiting further tests as the scans are inconclusive for VAD and they are worried about other vascular anomalies.

I refuse to play the victim and I deliberately tell myself that pre-CT era I would have been diagnosed with stress induced chronic migraines (which I stupidly diagnosed myself with 3 days prior to seeking medical advice). For that reason is warms me to know that people have successfully gone on to live normal, active lives and not felt limited in their life choices.

Thank you everyone for sharing these stories. It has made me a lot more philosophical about recent events and it is so nice to feel like I am not alone.

Hi Ryan! Welcome to the club! Life does march on and the terror does subside as the years go forward. I had a VAD and a Carotid dissection almost 2 years ago when doing a spin class and am much improved. Whenever I start to worry, I say to myself ” Yes, these bad things can happen, BUT NOT TODAY”. It seems to refocus me on the good stuff. Speaking of good stuff, how wonderful that you are a ED doctor! You can share your personal knowledge about dissections with your staff and patients and look for this when people present with these symptoms. I was diagnosed within 5 minutes in the ED at a small coastal hospital by a PA and I will forever be thankful for him. I just presented as a migraine sufferer with neck pain and a tiny bit of numbness on the top of my head. He saved my life with his knowledge of a rare condition. But back to you; you will heal and from time to time you will have weird symptoms that will cause distress but you will go on to live a healthy life because if you look at the literature it clearly states that there is an excellent prognosis for VAD if you make it through the initial event. Good luck and God bless!

Also a doc here. FP in Chicago. Had a R VAD after scuba diving and diagnosed myself with panic attacks. Had intermittent TIAs which caused “panick” and a normal MRI. Ultimately had a mild R meduallry CVA about 2 weeks ago and I am now recovering nicely with some PT/OT. Take care of yourself. One day at a time.

My husband is an Internal Medicine physician and it took us a week to figure out what happened to me. I’ve just never had health issues and was training for a half marathon in a few weeks. There was an astute Radiologist on call the night I went to ED that happened to notice the dissection. They had ordered a scan of my neck thinking perhaps a soft tissue injury, swollen glands, etc. After the initial scan, they did a more detailed one which clearly showed the amount of stenosis.
I feel truly lucky to be alive and my 6 month scan showed no signs of dissection. At the 7 month mark, my headaches are gone completely. Best wishes and a speedy recovery to everyone who has endured this bump in the road.


stenosis is often wrongly diagnosed as dissection as i am having that problem now one calls it dissetion another dr calls it stenosis….best of luck to you …stay healthy.


stenosis is often wrongly diagnosed as dissection as i am having that problem now one calls it dissetion another dr calls it stenosis….best of luck to you …stay healthy.

HAD A STROKE MARCH 12,2O17, nd after 4 months still have left side arm and leg numbness,very unbalanced when waling and doing steps and pain in my body everynite i try to sleep wakes me up and i take a walk. hope this all gets well for me, you, and everyone who suffers from this condition, had a vad stroke march 12,2017 good luck and best wishes.

Hi, I had a VAD 10 days ago. I’m amazed by all the comments on here and glad to see people doing so well.
The 10-11 days leading up to my stroke I had a headache at the back/bottom of my head, the day before my stroke I had 4-5 dizzy spells. I went to the doctors the next day and was told that I was fine, I left with stronger pain killers. Approximately 15 minutes after leaving the Doc’s I had my stroke. My right side went to jelly, it seemed like a curtain was pulled across my right eye and I couldn’t talk properly. I managed to lean on something to hold me up. This lasted for about 10 – 15 minutes. I went home and went to bed, I woke about half an hour later with my right side being totally numb. This lasted for about 10 minutes. I sought medical advice and was sent to the stroke clinic the following day. An MRI confirmed a VAD on my left side. I’ve been so lucky that I can still walk and talk.
I’ve been put on blood thinners, beta blockers and pain killers. I feel as though the Doc’s have decided that I’m ok and have sent me on my way. They said they would see me again in 2 months. In the mean time, I have no idea of what I should or shouldn’t be doing. Am I allowed to exercise? I’m assuming roller coasters are out of the question? Will I be on blood thinners for the rest of my life? How long do the headaches and dizzy spells last for? Any information would be great. Thank you.

It sounds like you are doing well after it, I was on proper blood thinners for 6 month and then aspirin for all of my life, light exercise won’t do any harm but I would build it up not go to the hard stuff straight away. I haven’t been on a rollercoaster since last year I darent do it. I was looking everywhere to see if I could drink alcohol and fly when I had my VAD. My doctor told me I can drink within reason not to go on the lash and I could fly in the September when I had the VAD in June, I suppose it’s different for everyone , I hope you recover well x

Hi Elaine, I sure do remember being in your same position. Scared. Terrified to move. Terrified to sleep, breathe, etc..
It gets easier. Don’t exercise ( except for walking) until you have gone back and the dissection has healed/stabilized. Don’t lift anything heavy. Eat well, rest, spend some time outside in the sunlight and take time off work while you recover. The fear will always be there but it does shrink with time. It sounds like you are already healing nicely, keep up the good work! Hugs, leah

Thank you so much for your comments. I had a headache for 6 days when I decided it was nothing like my usual migraines and to get it.checked. I am a 49yo female and presented at hospital with blood pressure 213/150. After many days and tests I.Was sent home on aspirin and blood pressure tablets with a diagnosis of dissection to both vertebral arteries and one carotid artery on the right. I still have crazy spasms through my neck and a headache if I move the wrong way. My head feels pressure when I stand up for too long and doesn’t like to support itself. I have been terrified by this pain but potentially it is nerves around the blood vessels that have been affected also. I would love to hear from anyone else who still has pain and how long it took to subside. I have been diagnosed with fmd. Very appreciative and encouraged by you all sharing your stories.

I, too, have FMD. It never showed up clearly on any MRA scans and I had many. But it was clear as day on a CT scan. Anyone who is a female ( 90% are female) who has had a dissection should consider going to an FMD clinic and getting all arteries tested for this disorder. Its manageable and you can live a healthy life but you need regular follow-up to prevent complications. I went to Dr. Jeffery Olin @ mount Sinai in NYC and couldn’t have been happier with the level of experience, care, and follow up from him and his staff. Cleveland clinic is another amazing one.

Leah, you mentioned Cleveland Clinic. Who would you recommend there for evaluation of my post stroke after affects? (I seem to be in that 10% or so strake survivors who develop neuropathy-type pain, numbness etc.) I haven’t been able to identify the stroke expertise I know is there and would appreciate the recommendation. My stroke occurred 2 1/2 years ago.

Hi Mary! Hope your doing well. Are you still on the lyrica? Did that work at all for the nerve pain? I get pain/numbness/ tingling on the left side of my face that still comes and goes about 1 1/2 yrs. post dissection still. Scary and annoying. I haven’t been to the Cleveland Clinic, but its spoken of so highly on the FMD Blogs. Dr. Heather Gornick is an FMD expert there. I would follow up with her; I just read online in one of her chats that she follows people with dissections even if they don’t have FMD. And if you haven’t been screened for FMD from head to pelvic- you can have that done with her too. I’m not sure if she would specialize in post stroke symptoms ( seems like most dr. just don’t know much about that) but its worth a shot and if she personally doesn’t handle that she can probably recommend a great doctor who does. Wishing you much success and less pain 🙂

Leah, thank you for the recommendation at Cleveland Clinic. I will follow up on it.

The facial nerve damage I have is on my right side. It really is bothersome when I have dental work done and seems to get worse over time. Doctors don’t even venture a guess about it; they just ignore it. I have been amazed at how much medical ignorance there is in the profession about strokes. I feel on my own and as if I have to be my own doctor. Look up something called “Trigeminal neuralgia” and see if that fits your symptoms. The Internet says that Mayo Clinic specializes in the treatment of it. It came on as a result of the stroke but not immediately following it. In fact, my right side developed a neuropathy-type of response about a year after my stroke. I think it is classified as Central Regional Post Stroke Syndrome. It comes weeks, months, or even a year after the event. Mine came about a year after. My neurologist confirmed that about 10% of stroke patients get it. Not much helps it. I no longer take Lyrica. It didn’t help. None of those psycho drugs are any help to me. They just make be sleepy and difficult to think, and I need to be able to think. There are a couple of drugs in the pipeline that takes aim at the post stroke pain mechanism. One of them is being developed at Cleveland Clinic, so I am hopeful that eventually it will be licked. Odd as it sounds, weather and temperature affect me greatly.

Hey I’m 34 and also had a VAD at age 32 which resulted in a cerebellar infarct. Acute symptoms were vertigo, uncontrollable vomiting, loss of vision and hearing on left side. Total recover after 4 months. My question is my neurologist and my vascular doctor have both cleared me to scuba dive but I’m still leary. It’s been almost 3 years since the VAD. What do you guys think?

Thanks for chiming in here, Chris. Your symptoms sound like they were pretty scary, but I’m so glad you’ve recovered fully (and it’s been a couple of years). It’s tough to tell you to ignore your gut/heart on whether or not to scuba dive again. I’d say if your doctors think it’s OK, it probably is! That said, maybe you can start back slowly, like not diving deep, staying under too long, or ascending quickly. Perhaps a conservative approach to diving again would help ease your concerns.

Salut. Mă numesc Anca și sunt din România. Am suferit și eu în ianuarie de disectie de artera vertebrala drapta și mă confrunt în urma ei cu dezechilibre, dosimetrii interne fata și ochi nevizibile, și cel mai rău surditate ureche stanga. Cris, poți sa- mi spui ce medicamente ai luat de ti-ai revenit inclusiv auzul în 4 luni. Multă sănătate și multumesc ca împărtășiți experiențele voastre aici, îmi da acum după 4 luni mai mult curaj, cei din România nu prea sunt pozitivi…Mulțumesc.

Hey. 45 yo ED doc s/p vad with Wallenberg and horners on 2/1/17 (after an overnight!). Now 4/18. Doing well. Most limiting residual is nystagmus and a vertiginous sensation. Any advice on how long the visual processing issues lasted for you, if you had them? Thanks. Tim


I am a cardiologist and was just diagnosed with same. I totally agree with you…….. what a very scary experience for me!!!!!!

I am 26 years old and I suffered a stroke due to dissection of my left vertebral artery. The stroke affected my left cerebellum so I’ve had a lot of trouble with my vestibular system. I have regained a lot of my balance and have returned to some normal activities. Does the dizziness & light headedness ever go away ? I also experience extreme vertigo whenever I lay flat on my back. Any tips / advice ?

I am 47 and had a spontaneous dissection in my right carotid artery 7 months ago. I am happy to say that my head and neck aches are almost non-existent now. It took almost 4 months before I saw much progress and I also was diagnosed with new Vertigo at about month 3. It only lasted a month then one day just vanished as quickly as the onset had happened. I found that sleeping on my side for a few hours at night really helped. There is also a type of physical therapy for Vertigo but was not recommended for me due to the dissection. Therapy involves manipulation of the head/neck to get the inner ear corrected.
The recovery takes time and patience. Just try to relax and don’t be too hard on yourself. Good luck in your recovery!


Hiya, I was 21 when I suffered from a VAD i was completely spontaneous as I got it from blowing my nose! This was about 5 days when I started getting a headache and flu like syptoms and I rang the none emergency number, I was told it’s just a headache just get a hot water bottle. ( they didn’t suspect anything as I was only 21) I woke up about 3am with a weird feeling ( you know when you hang your body of the bed to get the control or something and your head does that fuzzy thing) it was like that but continuously. My eyes went back and I was throwing up. I eventually got to sleep took the next few days of work, I’m glad I did as about 5 days later I had I blew my nose and must of dislodged the tear. Going to a and e was a blur I don’t really remember having the stroke, even though I was conscious at the time. I just remember I couldn’t control my tongue and couldn’t breathe. It was too fast. I had a ct scan and you could see something there but it wasn’t that clear I had two mri scans after that. One with contrast. I went through about 5 days in hospital as I couldn’t walk or talk and it took me two people to go to the toilet. I got sent home in quite a bad state as my ward was full of loads of old biddys and they thought it would effect my mood drastically if I stayed. I’m glad I went home. I was downstairs in my parents house in a bed just waiting for my daily physo, I’m glad it was me and no one that I know as they don’t have the patience to do that. 3 months on and I could walk but only in my house and couldn’t really get up the stairs my speech was still slurred and I didn’t really have the motor skills to text or write. But the 4th month I could do a lot even get up the stairs.I was even planning on going back to work my right hand was still very unreliable I didn’t really trust it it’s only been 7 months now and I am a proud lefty as I don everything but write with it. At 7 months I still have to do two trips up the stairs with hot drinks. As I can’t balance with both hands full. It’s sad but I’m working on it I was back at work at 4 and a half months. I still now suffer with neck pain and head aches. Eventhough strokes you get fatigued, I get it when I’m doing something, but I have insomnia I can’t really sleep at night. I think it’s because I don’t want it to happen in my sleep ( even the doctor has said it’s healed up, I can’t stop thinking about it) I prefer to nap when I come home from work so I know someone is awake. I haven’t had a full nights sleep since I was very ill. I avoid to be on my own. I avoid me driving also as I don’t want it to happen then. I only sometimes get dizzy when I lay down, it’s generally when I wake up. Does anyone know if it’s a good idea to get your eyes tested? Also if anyone knows some sleep tricks I’m all ears. Please no tablets I’m on enough!

– Kayl

That is very similar to me. I was a little older ar 27. It’s now 10 months since the unfortunate event. Left vertebral artery dissection followed baby a stroke. Mine affected my left side so being right handed, it was not too bad. I’m like you still improving but balance of my affected hand is proving most difficult. I also need two trips with hot drinks. I can jog very slowly for a very short amount of time (about 10 seconds) but it all seems so awkward, like my right is fluent and I’m forcing my left. Is this the same for anyone else?

Hi all,had a VAD March12,2017 I am in need of DR who is caring and qualified in this area ,I live in SUFFOLK COUNTY NY ,close to SMITHTOWN . MY NEUROOGIST appt, is in SEPT, I NEEDto be able to communicate with my DR I Have issues
Good Luck to all…..Gina

I also had sleep problems for the first six months. After my stroke I was a very light sleeper never going into a deep sleep. I felt like I never got a good nights rest even though I slept a lot. But it has been 13 months now and I am sleeping fine. It just takes time. God bless.


Alison hi,
Yes I have pain everytime i lay down and try to sleep numbness, jooints tighten up .neck cracks.arms get numb and a shake them like all around then i get up and walk walk walk eat and eat some more every night for almost 5 months sos my doctor could care less so i go the the ER and they check my vitals and do blood work and tell me besides it all i probably have spinal stenosis nerve pain to tell my pcp to do back mris or neurologist wish it was that easy havent seen a neurologist since my stoke appt not till sept my neuro surgeon told me see you in a year, and my pcp tells me tell your neurologist , LORD HELP ALL OF US ! what a run around WOW.

Alison hi,
Yes I have pain everytime i lay down and try to sleep numbness, jooints tighten up .neck cracks.arms get numb and a shake them like all around then i get up and walk walk walk eat and eat some more every night for almost 5 months sos my doctor could care less so i go the the ER and they check my vitals and do blood work and tell me besides it all i probably have spinal stenosis nerve pain to tell my pcp to do back mris or neurologist wish it was that easy havent seen a neurologist since my stoke appt not till sept my neuro surgeon told me see you in a year, and my pcp tells me tell your neurologist , LORD HELP ALL OF US ! what a run around WOW.

It does get better! I’m 2.5 years post left side VAD and multiple strokes in the cerebellum. I did a significant amount of vestibular therapy. Being in healthcare, I can’t say I was a proponent, but it changed by life. It taught me skills to use and progress back to my previous self. I still experienced vertigo when physical exhausted or suffering sinus issues. However, they are greatly diminished.

My boyfriend had a dissection of the right vertebral artery on December 15th . He had 3 strokes affecting the cerebellum. He still has dizziness issues and vertigo decently bad still.

Are you still on blood thinners? You should talk to your doctor about taking meclazine for the vertigo. Hopefully the vertigo will go away when the artery heals.

I suffered a R VAD two years ago. For approximately one month after the VAD I had difficulty balancing while walking. Gradually these symptoms disappeared and within a short period I was back jogging and stil am at 68 years of age., I’m on warfarin for life and I feel fine and healthy. Incidentally , my mother was on warfarin for 35 years and lived to the age of 92

It will improve! I’m 2.5 years post VAD with strokes in the cerebellum. It was very frustrating at times, but consistent exercises to retrain my vestibular system have been successful. Don’t be discouraged. It took longer than I wanted or expected, but it will get better.

No one said anything about stairs, so up and down I went. Two years later it is easier now than then.

I as well had this but on the right side though, from what I have been told from my neurologist every person is different and how they heal and their body reacts to this. My side effects are that the left side of my body is extremely sensitive to heat and the right side of my body is sensitive to cold. Glad to see that you are a SURVIVOR just like me!!!

Thanks for your response, it’s alway’s good to know you’re not alone. I’m now more than 2 years post incident. I’d say I’m 85-90% back with no opening of my left artery. It still takes me a few steps after sitting or lying down for awhile to get rid of the “funkiness”in walking. My right side initially had little sensation at all but the last 18 months or so has been returning too.

Tom, You wrote ” It still takes me a few steps after sitting or lying down for awhile to get rid of the “funkiness”in walking. ” After two years from the event, I have the same sensations.

Mary, it certainly(my funkiness) has improved over the 2 years but remains to a lesser degree. The positive is I’m still improving. My neurologist thru Mayo Clinic has really put very little restrictions on me from the onset. I swam 4-5 times a week and returned to that right away but boy was it different and now it’s like it was before. I went to Mexico at 5 months and getting into the ocean was really tough but a year later unbelievably better. Escalators was the same way, not totally back to normal but continuing to still improve!!!

Who did you see at Mayo? My doctors are in the process of referring me there. I’m very curious to know if anyone has ever had to have there dissection fixed surgically? Also how big are most peoples dissection? I feel like everything has been speculation so far. Trying to de-code the information that each one of my doctor give has been frustrating. I am 31- I started having neck pain on my right side, nausea, head aches, and feeling off balance 3 weeks ago. Last Tuesday I finally went into the ER after i started having scalp sensitivity on just the right side of my head. After a CT they found that I had a VAD on my Right side. It starts around my collarbone and goes all the way up to the base of my brain. I also have a blood clotting disorder (von willebrand disease). But it’s considered a mild case. They deliberated for nearly 3 days before finally deciding it was safe for me to be on a baby aspirin in addition to a high dose of Lipitor. My symptoms became so intense that I was completely bed ridden for almost an entire week but I’m suddenly feeling pretty good! I have some random shooting pains in my neck and it still feels a little tight- and occasional unsteadiness and nausea but NOTHING compared to what I was feeling a few days ago! I was only diagnosed a week ago. I wonder what has changed? Surely the blood flow couldn’t have increased that fast?? I’m rambling on…sorry… it’s just so nice to read peoples personal experiences with this. I just really want to know how many have had to have surgery to fix the problem- and in general how big is the typical dissection?? And who you saw at Mayo?

Hi Tom. I had a 5 month MRA that also confirmed my left VA is chronically occluded. Neuro says it’s ok (as my right was dominant) to go on with life with one VA and to stop Coumadin. Same advice given to you? Thanks

Escalators. Who knew they could be so troubling? After 13 months post VAD I still feel discomfort when on an escalator. Other than never being able to get on a roller coaster again the escalator phenomenon still haunts me.

I am thrilled to have found this website, since my neurologist has been less than helpful. I am 42, in good health and suffered a left side VAD in July 2016. I have since slowly improved. although my MRI shows the the artery on my left side is mostly occluded. In the last week or so, symptoms seemed to have reappeared. I have left side numbness, head pain and left side headache. I am wondering if anyone else has experienced recurring symptoms. We have had bad weather and I did a pretty big workout. Thoughts…I am worried. My neurologist was fairly flippant in her response but I don’t feel good and also have nausea.

Disturbing symptoms come and go and scare the life out of you, but the more time that passes, the more they recede. My stroke experience was over 2 years ago, and I am almost twice your age.

The truth is that most doctors don’t know much about stroke and that’s why you can’t find out much. Try to find somebody who specializes in stroke. You may have one that specializes in something else, yet still be a neurologist.

One thing want to mention that might be helpful: You said the weather was bad where you are. That can affect the way you feel. Believe it or not, weather affects people who have had strokes. Notice how much better you feel when a “high” moves in and settles in your area. Imagine normalcy again and over time you will find it. Don’t get discouraged.

A year and a half later I still get numbness and tingling in my face that randomly comes and goes- its worse when the weather changes and I overdo it with exercise and stress. I have a VAD unhealed and a carotid dissection that’s totally healed.Request another MRA and if everything is normal, its just overexertion. Its scary but it seems to be our bodies way of telling us to take it easy.


Hi all, We are all doing the best we can to recover have no fear just keep up a good positive fight for recovery. I’M SO HAPPY TODAY I WASHED THAT GRAY RIGHT OUT OF MY HAIR AND LOOK 30 YRS YOUNGER AND MY NECK WAS LIKE RICE KRISPIES.

Hello Gina, I am 2 months out from my diagnosis and I Still have the rice crispier/pop rocks crunching sounds in my neck. It sounds to me like the ligaments trying to work themselves into a more relaxed state or it’s due to my not moving in that direction for quite awhile(I’ve been pretty stiff since my dissection, my chiro adjustment also left me with a little whiplash..) and there’s quite a bit of what I consider a ‘natural’ guarding our muscles do during the healing process so I feel it’s a normal albeit aggravating and sometimes frightening sensation. When I first heard and felt the crispies, I would cringe and fear the worst. Now I just try to take a few breaths and reassure myself it’s okay as long as no stroke symptoms or pains follow the sounds. Try not to worry, our bodies are designed to heal themselves and this will get better with time. I also have to remind myself of this but making it through the initial onset/acute phase is a good indicator that the worst is behind us. Just be healthy, take it easy,and if anything hurts, I’m advised to simply Not do it! 🙂 I’ve gone back to the hospital a handful of times after pains or new sensations and my imaging has remained the same thru all of this. Hopefully that will help in some way.
hugs and best wishes for a swift recovery for everyone.
Take care, Sam

Kerryn, I’m sorry to hear this. I think you really need to be taking it easy still until you are all healed. My neurologist said to not get my blood pressure up but I can do light walking for exercise but don’t over do it. I’m an active person too so this is hard for me. However, remember we have our entire lives to workout, right now just be nice to your body and don’t over do it. This will take time to heal.

Howdy, thank you for creating this resource.

I am 28 years old, physically and clinically heathy, and in shape.

January 2016 I woke up at 8am with a mild headache which I assumed was caused by dehydration or fatique. From the beginning of my work day at 9am i consuned a ton of water, but the general head pain did not subside. Highly unusual for me, as I have no history of headache and had not experienced any sort of persistent head pain ever in my lifetime.

Even though I am not a habitual coffee drinker, i thought perhaps Caffeine would help, so I had a cup of coffee at 4pm.

By 8pm my head pain had escalated from mild to moderate and was now becomming very uncomfortable.

By the end of my shift at 10pm head pain had not reduced. After dinner I went to bed at 12am, experiencing the same moderate headache.

At 3am I awoke from bed, with such excruciating head pain that I was vomitting, fetal position on the bathroom floor. My Girlfriend rushed to the store – 5 minutes away – to grab ibuprofen, which I in turn swallowed but was unable to keep down as I dry heaved.

At 3:20am I experienced extreme dizziness, and impaired motor function followed immediately by complete loss of vision, and speach. I was helpless and terrified as I was unable to see or articulate my condition.

When paramedics arrived I had been unconcious for 10-15 minutes. An EMT woke me up and began a stroke test which revealed that only 50% of my vision had returned. The left half of my visual field had vanished, the right side was blurry.

Speach recovered almost immediately, albeit slurred.

Stroke caused by occipital dissection from snowboarding several days or weeks prior.

I am still partially blind. My brain no longer processes the left peripheral visual field of either eye. The left 1/4 of my vision is completely gone…Healthy eyes, damaged brain.

I was wearing a snowboard helmet and was riding conservatively, at a beginner level.

We are all fortunate we’re alive to share our experiences. I am back on the mountain this season riding carefully. I do need to go in for a follow up MRI.

Any questions or comments please feel free to chime in! Thanks for reading!

– Aaryn

Thanks for sharing.
Had a vertebral dissection this past weekend. Loss of sight for 50 seconds and room spinning out of control for two hours. Your experience sounds much more frightening.
Congrats on getting back out there. My question is. How long did it take to heal? And then for you to feel safe being active?
I am 33 yo, very healthy male. Main activities are surfing and heavy weight lifting 5 days a week. I love to push myself. No cause know. But I suspect myself it was the weights. No traumatic head injury or even a bump lately.
I find I’m having a tough mental block between wanting to push myself again and being frightened of recurrence.
Also, the first few days have been tough. I feel like I need to walk on egg shells or it’s going to burst again. What was your experience both near and longer term?

Thank you for sharing.


I’m also so scared ,have a great hemotologist checking my blood and herititary autoimmune things .seems the hemociderin depositions can attack us somehow,but thats another mystery of confusement

hate taking plavix yuck

I just had my VAD on Dec. 21 after a workout. Prior to that I was working out every other day with the same intensity. Pain in the back of the head/neck area and dizziness occurred.
It’s only been 5 days and I just want to get back to normal. I miss the gym and the results were coming in. Hope to get back in 6-8 weeks.

HI, I was at the gym too when my dissection happened. That was a year and a half ago. I was given the green light at 12 months to start working out again. It will take time to recover and this is a serious injury so you shouldn’t push yourself right now. Just walk and be calm, eat healthy, and let your body repair. Things will go back to normal soon enough for you. Best regards-Leah

Robert, I’ve ended up at the hospital just 3 days ago. Same story, have been doing street work out for a year, 3 months ago leveled up to intermediate level, doing 4-5 routines weekly. Enjoyed progress very much. Last Sunday our car got stuck in snow and we pushed it in order to get it out . Monday I felt good, no trouble. On Tuesday while catching the train to work felt back neck pain. While at the office pain didn’t go away and I additionally felt dizzy.
Went home and next day stayed home as thought this would help to get rid of pain. But on Thursday I got up with the same symptoms and decided to go see the neurologist. And after he visit I was urgently placed to the hospital. After he MRA the diagnosed the right VAD. Now I’m on meds and tomorrow the are doing another MRA. Doctors said that they might need to do an invasive therapy. I was wondering if you or anyone else here know what that might be? I’m not a big fan of surgeries, as you might imagine )) Hope everyone is getting better and we all be back on track soon! Greed, Pavel

They could do an angiogram which is a procedure where they measure the level of stenosis or blockage of the dissection. In my case, they did an angiogram (which was not painful) and decided not to fix the dissection. If the blockage is significant and/or the benefits outweigh the risks, they can insert a stint that will open the dissection.

Melissa, you were right, they did an angiogram, wasn’t that nice but manageable;) lucky for me they are letting me go and put me on meds for 4 weeks. Then another CT angiogram and they will tell if it heals or I need stents. Now only calmness and no sports.

Hi everyone,
I’m 12 months post VAD with TIA’s, all seems to be fine. Last MRI was a few months ago and as I’ve not heard anything I take it everything is going to plan. I take aspirin everyday. I’ve noticed that a lot of comments on here mention about drinking lots of water. That is something that has not been mentioned to me by my consultants in the UK. Does anyone know why we should drink more water than normal?
On another note, I read an article today about a UK man who won £90,000 from his hairdresser after he suffered a VAD with stroke from having his head bent over the wash basin! Shame I can’t use that as an excuse for my VAD – my hair went out with shoulder pads!
Good luck to all, and those who have recently suffered their VAD’s, it will get better, just takes a bit of time.

So glad to find this positive story about such a great recovery following stroke due to VAD. I went to the ER 8 days ago with vomiting and not being able to stand up. They did the usual stroke check and I had no other symptoms such as loss of weakness on one side or slurring speech. A CT scan was negative. After 10 hours of observation they were going to send me home but thank goodness one doc thought one of my eyes looked just a touch different, and ordered an MRI. Was diagnosed with VAD on left side, and had had a stroke. I was so shocked. I’m 39, healthy, athletic, do Crossfit 3x/week, have zero other risk factors for stroke. After 7 days in hospital and starting PT there, am now transferred to rehab center for more intense rehab. Balance is coming back, can walk totally unassisted, but the most disconcerting thing is this foggy feeling in my head – feels like being drunk or on heavy pain meds (I’m not on any pain meds, just aspirin etc) – I hope this goes away soon as it is so unnerving. Hard to focus on PT when so constantly dizzy/lightheaded/foggy. But overall – I’m focused on 100% recovery and will not be reading any more of the too-many-stories out there about more severe/different types of stroke that seem to have less change for full recovery. It’s easy to scare myself, but per this blog and a few other great ones, I’m committed to getting back to my former self as much as possible!

You will have 100% recovery. Your age and the mildness of the stroke, plus your great attitude, will assure it.

I am 78 and had a VAD 2 years ago, but I remember the foggy head and the dizzy episodes following the event and it scared me that it would always be that way. But “time heals all wounds” is really true. Relax and enjoy life more fully because you are alive. Remember to drink a lot of water every day! The fog and little pains in the head will retreat with time.

Congratulations, you are a survivor, and life will be good again. My husband and I just brought home a Christmas tree, and our family will be coming here for Christmas. I have recovered and I can imagine that you will do it much faster because you are in your power years!. God bless you in your recovery!

It’s comforting to read other stories of people who have been through this. I had a VAD with TIA 6 days ago. It started with neck pain & I began loosing vision in my left eye. The ER doc told me it was a migraine even though I didn’t have a headache. Luckily the neurologist requested a CT/MRI. I’m 33, do crossfit 3-4x/week. Since being home I’ve been so scared it’s going to happen again because of the sharp pains I get in my head & the dizziness (which my neurologist says was part of the healing process).

Hi Kelly, sorry to hear this. Similar thing happened to me, however I’ve suffered no stroke or TIA. I remember feeling under the weather and I looked in the mirror to find my eye drooping and pupil constricted. Horners syndrome. After a CT scan and MRI it was determined I’d dissected my ICA. I’ve noticed that cross fit could be a cause, I’m also part of the craze. Two days before I was doing head stand push ups, then the day after thrusters ladder. I think I’ve either come down hard on my head or landed a loaded bar on to my shoulders and banged it against my neck? Would be interesting to know what exercises you had been doing prior to your diagnosis.

Just had VAD on the 28th. I am home, but am also experiencing the foggy head, and wondering how long that will last? They believe that mine was caused by chiropractor manipulation, but I have yet to let them know. Just happy that I am doing ok. Still need to do PT to get my balance back again, but so thankful that I’m expected to make a full recovery.

I had VAD two years ago at age 76. Had foggy head at first and it wore off. Am one of the few who developed post stroke neuropathy-type symptoms after about a year into recovery, accompanied with profound fatigue. Was despairing of the fatigue because doing anything significant filled me with dread – I didn’t have the energy to do it. About a month ago my new neurologist said “I think I know something that will help you.” I doubted it because I had tried so many things for post stroke pain and they only put me to sleep. But Lyrica, which was new to me, made a tremendous difference in how I feel. Almost immediately the fatigue went away – gone! I am noticing also that there is improvement in my muscle pain on the effected right side. My husband can’t believe the change. I even scrubbed the kitchen floor. Before, I neither could nor wanted to. So don’t believe that long after the stroke, you won’t see improvement, because I just have. Hopefully you will have full recovery without post stroke symptoms. Most do. But for those who develop them, there is still hope of full recovery. Keep trying different meds until you find what’s right or you.

Hi Mary, As always thanks for the positivity in your messages! Just wondering what other symptoms you had or developed one year later? Seems like my fatigue just wont quit! However, after 1 year I switched from Plavix to baby aspirin and much of my energy has returned thankfully….but some days I still have zero energy- just sick tired ( which stinks with young kids)- and the neck/shoulder pain just wont quit.

They were neuropathy symptoms, an enhancement of the sensations I had ever since the stroke. I noticed that instead of getting better, they were getting stronger. I’m speaking right side: foot (cold and numb, hand cold and sometimes so numb that I can’t feel it, shoulder stiff and painful, neck ache at times, right side of mouth numb. In the 2nd year as time went on, all that got worse and the fatigue was overwhelming. I tried all the traditional meds and I couldn’t tolerate them. I am quite sensitive to medication and even in small doses, they affected mind and body too much. The closest I can come to a good description was what I imagine fibromyalgia feels like. Lyrica is prescribed for fibromyalgia, and perhaps that’s why is has helped me. It took that awful fatigue away almost immediately and about 1/3 of the pain. Without the fatigue, I feel like I can lick twenty tigers today! So have patience. You probably won’t have the lingering symptoms that I had. But if you do, keep an open mind about what will help. You will come out of this just fine – and with deep appreciation for your remarkable brain.

Mary- Thank you, This is good to know for future reference. And truly wonderful news that you are feeling better!!

Thanks for sharing! I’m curious to know if your neck/head pain ever did quit? Did you beat the fatigue? These symptoms are kicking my butt!

The pain stopped after a month. Fatigue was bad. I went from being a 5 hour a night sleeper to 9-10 plus a midday nap. Now it just varies depending on what I do. Going back to work was fatiguing for sure. Important to take all the sleep your body needs. Picture how much your baby sleeps. Same thing. Brain healing/growth happens while you are asleep.

Kelley, I’m about 10 weeks post RVAD and getting back into triathlon training again. You have described precisely what happened to me – precisely!! By now you’ll be 1 month down the track and by then I was swimming and riding and also back working a bit. And now I’m training 30-90 minutes per day, have been hiking in the hills, swimming with the kids in rivers (it’s summer in Australia now!), jogging and basically doing 95% of what I was. On specialists orders I’ve kept my HR under 160 but I started in the 120 range – very gentle – and have since slowly been edging upwards. I do find that I get a bit light-headed or woozy after some harder sessions so I’m listening closely to me body and backing off when that happens. But it’s less frequent now and further into the session. I wouldn’t have believed at 2 weeks what I’d be doing after 2 months so I’m sure you will get right back to your crossfit and active life quicker than you think! Good luck.

Hi. I have been looking for others who have shared the same or similar dramas with me and after nearly 3 years of looking this site is close. You see in February 2013 I was 41 and I presented to my local hospital with a sharp excruciating headache – I knew this was something as I have regular migranes and this was worse than anything. This wonderful ED gave me some paracetamol and told me to go home as it was a headache. After withstanding a further 3 days of pain I went to the cities major hospital’s ED. After 5 hours of observation with nil effect or relief from the morphine and explaining that the pain was worse than childbirth, they finally decided to perform a lumbar puncture. Following this inconclusive procedure, I had a CT with nil result, then a CTA which finally showed a brain aneurysm in the right vertebral artery. They actually then decided to treat this a little seriously and I was to be given Warfarin to treat the aneurysm. An intelligent neurologist then decided to perform an MRI prior to this treatment and this showed the VAD which requires the opposite treatment to the aneurysm. With this little dilemma the decision to not perform any treatment was established. So the diagnosis of a spontaneous right VADA resulting in SAH was given. I remained in hospital for a further 10 days under supervision, 5 more CTA’s, 5 MRI’s and an angiogram. On departure they gave me nil medication and told me to return if things didn’t get better. After 5 days I presented back at the ED as this debilitating pain had not eased. This is when they decided to perform another angiogram. During this simple procedure I had a stroke which left me in ICU for 4 days. After this time I seemed to completely recover. I then remained in hospital for another 7 days while neurologists and neurosurgeons discussed what they should do with this (apparently) rare situation. I was released home with Oxycontin, Endone, a referral to one of Australia’s top International cerebrovascular neurosurgeons, a follow up MRI in 3 months and instructions to take it easy. The next MRI showed the VAD had increased in size. At the appointment with the Professor, it was his expert advice to take it easy and this would heal itself in a few months. With another MRI 3 months following showing that the aneurysm had in fact increased in size this time with the VAD remaining but with no increase. The city neurosurgeon recommended that something needed to be done immediately but as he had no experience with this type of situation he referred me once again the Professor. This time the Professor agreed that with the VADA not depleting and in fact increasing that surgery was required immediately. With a 20% chance of something going wrong and a 90% chance that within a month the aneurysm would rupture with a low chance of survival I was booked in for surgery a week following this appointment. So in April 2014 – well over a year from when I was first diagnosed with this VADA and living with this time bomb in my head for that long, i underwent surgery where they clipped the aneurysm and then wrapped the VAD. I survived the surgery with as they say limited collateral damage (a huge scar down side of my head, half head shaved, nerve damage to left side, slurred speech, vertigo, depleted balance and motor skill control). I passed the CTA a year following the surgery or as the Professor states a great success story of his, with a follow up in a further 5 years so as to check on me and to also so they could have future data. Now with nearly 3 years since diagnosed and 2 years since the surgery I still experience debilitating headaches each month, nerve damage to my left side, slurred speech, balance and motor skill deficiency. I tell people that to sit up and walk is very much like a toddler first learning to walk. The concentration it takes. I have to sit up straight, think about what I am going to do, then stand up take a couple of breathes, watch where I am going and then tell myself left, right, left, right. I can not look around or look away from in front of my feet when walking otherwise I will stumble, veer to my right and fall over. It is nice to hear about other situations that are close to mine…..and it does help to vent!

Richard thanks for sharing.
In the scope of things being a triathlete is not all who we are, but it a life style I have grown to love going on my personal 4th year.
After what I would call a great HIT bike, a full day of work, I went to master swim. I couldn’t swim at all 3 years ago. This winter I have finally made what I would call serious progress. About 700 meters in I went numb on right side. I got out of pool and the next 24 hours were a world wind. I had a VAD, thankfully the neurologist who was videoed in over ruled ER doctor and gave me TPA. I went from ICU to home in 48 hours. As unlucky as I was I feel lucky to be here writing this.

5 days after, my balance seems fine but certainly my right hand has some issues. Writing, typing, ect, for lack of better word it seems lazy. The hospital told me and I was lucky to be brought to Boston Medical Center, I should fully recover and should have no effects moving forward. I would be curious to know anyone who had this and what they did to help this or is it permanent.

That I already know isnt true. I have had minor headaches, cold hand, some numbness, it is scary as hell because they say this a freak thing that can happen to anyone.

My goal is to get back to tri training with the blessing of my doctor and wife. I may stay away from HIT though. Also, to enjoy life a little more.

Thank you everyone for sharing this is an incredible resource.

This is so helpful to hear about others’ experiences. I had a VAD and mini stroke Jan 9 2017. I believe it was the result of a near miss vehicle collision. Stroke symptoms have all resolved thank goodness but still working on stamina. I keep the HR less than 110 as i’m just starting to get back to exercise again. Will have first checkup late next month. I’m also curious why lots of water is recommended? I’ll start increasing that today! Hoping to get back to riding my horse in a few months!

Hi.. any update on your recovery? Your event sounds similar to mine but I am about 6 weeks behind you. I am still having fatigue and not back to baseline… although you cannot tell by looking at me. I have not gone back to work yet. still doing day rehab

Don’t know if this is helpful to you or not. I am 34 years older than you and probably our recoveries will be different, but Lyrica took away the brain fog immediately. It didn’t do much for the right-side post stroke regional pain syndrome in hand, arm and shoulder, but it cleared out the foggy feeling. I am 2 1/2 years post stroke. The neuropathy-like “pain” came several months after the stroke. It is a difficult type to treat, but a hot shower and some Aspercreme/Lidocaine on the affected limb does as much as the heavy-duty meds, and doesn’t affect my thinking. I have kept to my normal routine essentials and most people don’t know I had a stroke.

Yes, it did but it’s different for everyone. I was 21 that was 10 months ago when I had the VAD i only really get the dizzy feeling when I’m putting a towel on my head or upside down for some reason. I did have a bad dream a month ago and when I jilted I got it then and actually thought I was dying, hope it goes away

Thanks. I saw a vestibular specialist yesterday. She was hopeful things would resolve with more rehab. I’m a very active 45 year old so maybe a bit impatient.

It has now been 9 months since my VAD. I have found my new normal and I am working on finding comfort in the fact that there are things I will not be able to do. My youngest kids are 12 and 10 and it hurts to tell them I can’t do certain things like go on the rides at Disney or other theme parks. Coping with my new normal is chalIenging. I have also found that I do not do well on escalators. The escalator part is humorous as I sway back and forth while riding. I don’t get the discomfort like I do on rides but it seems to throw off my senses. I write for those that also have to find their new ways of living and it’s tough but it’s just another day.

I’ll bet that your balance will come back, but the improvement will be so subtle that you won’t be aware of it. I had a stroke two years ago and a year ago could not swing in a swing without feeling as though I would be overcome by vertigo. A year later I tried it again and the unsettling sensations from the year before were gone. Reclaiming your old self after a stroke, I’ve found, is a miraculous thing.

I am 38 years old and 5 and half years in recovery. Do not get discouraged at your new normal. Laugh with it. Embrace it. Mine seems to still change day to day. Your kids understand. They just want you to be happy.

Is anyone affected by the weather? I am two years from stroke and have noticed that rain storms and other weather changes knock me for a loop some days. Didn’t used to, but does now. At this rate, I could be a weather forecaster!

Yes! Storms really affect me ( along with any sort of pressure change). My head gets this uneven pressure feeling and the headaches/ odd pains twinges get worse. I’m one year out after VAD; it hasn’t healed.

I am so glad to find this website along with everyone else. I am a healthy 41 yo female. Never been sick no headaches or anything. In August I had two sever headaches two weekends in a row. I decided to go to my dr and he sent me to a neurologist. I didn’t realize how lucky I was with my awesome neurologist. He sent me for tons of tests including a CTA. I got a call about an hour after the CTA and he said I need you to head to the hospital for emergency surgery with a Nuero Surgeon. Really. Talk about scary. I was in my work clothes and expected to go right back to work after the tests. I was lucky and did not have a stroke, I am still having the lovely neck pain and the back of my head. I feel like I can never get enough sleep. I am having my second nuero angiogram Thursday for the nuero surgeon to measure th blood flow and the size of the tear (I hope it’s healed!!). I have lost so much vision in both my eyes. I am also on a high dose of aspririn until further notice.
I feel normal reading all these posts. I heard that this is a rare thing and I find this website. It is nice to know that there are so many of us. I am glad to read so many recovery stories.
I even asked my nuero surgeon what next he keeps saying we will know when we go in and see how the artery and tear is doing.

Has anyone had a stent out in? I am not finding that anyone has. My neurosurgeon said if the tear is worse and bad enough we will discuss a stent.

Hi im stephen 8 months ago i had my vad i recovered alittle i couldnt see talk or feel my whole left side i now see talk have use of leg and arm and hand still alittle numb and still weak i have muscle spasms in leg bad and although i can walk i cant run is it to late to recover anymore have i got back all im getting

Sounds like your recovery is coming along very well. Can you arrange with your neurologist for some PT to strengthen your left side? Keep confident that your remarkable recovery will continue, because it will. Keep after your doctors for any med that might address whatever deficiency you might need to improve. In other words, you will keep returning to normal for months and years to come but you will need to show your doctors that you are going to keep pushing yourself (and them) until you are totally well again. I had a VAD event over two years ago and only recently got a new neurologist who wanted me to try a med to address fatigue and neuropathy I was experiencing. Lo and behold the fatigue left, along with pain reduction, so I am seeing big improvements at the two-year mark. I am 78 and almost fully back to normal.


Hi all,had a VAD March12,2017 I am in need of DR who is caring and qualified in this area ,I live in SUFFOLK COUNTY NY ,close to SMITHTOWN . MY NEUROOGIST appt, is in SEPT, I NEEDto be able to communicate with my DR I Have issues
Good Luck to all…..Gina

Hi Gina- so sorry to hear you’re going through that. Are you in Suffolk County, VA? If so, there is a WONDERFUL neurointerventionalist in Charlottesville Virginia, it’s a bit of a drive as that is about an hour from Richmond, but he is a godsend and worth the trip- as he is extremely thorough, knowledgeable and knows this condition like the back of his hand.. and truly cares about each of his patients. let me know if you would like more information. Take care and wishes for swift healing .

I had two stents put in my left vertebral artery ten months ago. A few weeks earlier I had spinal surgery and shortly after I lost my voice – it sounded weak and gravely and I needed to breathe very hard to make a sound. I was fortunate to eventually be referred to a good neurologist who had me get an MRI / MRA. After seeing the results, I was immediately rushed to the hospital and prepped for the stenting. It seems that I had a dissection of the artery which resulted in about a half dozen strokes in my brain – one of which affected the nerve controlling the left vocal fold, the others landing in benign areas of the brain.
The procedure for the stenting was relatively quick and painless as I was administered anesthesia. I spent two nights in the hospital – one before and one after the stenting. A follow up angioplasty two months later showed the stents had repaired the dissection, but my blood flow through that area of the brain was on the low side of normal.
Possibly because of the reduced blood flow, I’ve been experiencing light headedness every day. That would be the only side effect of the stenting that I’m aware of. The feeling starts when I wake up in the morning and stays with me until mid-afternoon. It certainly affects my mood and my ability to be active, but I need to deal with it. Fortunately my doctors say that the stents saved my life and are working as expected.
One other thing – after four months my voice returned. So nearly a year after the stents were put in I can say that the only effect I’m experiencing is the foggy lightheaded feeling.

What a fine narrative, John. I am 2 years 3 mos from stroke and have noticed that the random dizzy spells I experienced the first year have stopped now and stabilized. (I am among the 20 % or more who developed post stroke neuro pain, which is a separate issue.) My guess is that your dizzy spells will wear off in time. I would say that you were very blessed.

John sounds like you did a great job and have a caring neurologist the best to you, i have no respecdt fpor drs saying aee you in yr or 6 months our condition needs a close watch constantly imo, Maybe I’ wrong ?

I have the same issues with escalators and elevators. It was really bad when it first happened . Standing over Heights. Some people just don’t understand, even when you try and explain. Take care.

My dear husband had VAD Nov26, 3 days in ICU, 2 days room. He’s been doing ok at home. Taking aspirin, plavix and blood pressure control medicine. Headache comes and goes. Stiff neck on and off. We booked Cancun trip while ago,, a gift for my parents their age are in middle of 70s. My husband insists that only cancelle his trip, rest of family (me, my 7 yrs son, my parents) go to Cancun Mexico as planed. I really worry about him. Is any one can give any comment should I leave himself 6 days alone at home US

I am 78 and had a VAD 2 years ago. The further away from the event, the greater the chances of not having another one. Strongly advise you stick around and let your parents have a trip with their grandson. I doubt you would enjoy yourself much anyway, worrying about how your husband is doing while you are gone.

It has now been almost a year since my VAD and I have found that even pushing myself a little hasn’t caused any problems. I would say that as long as your husband takes it easy and takes his meds he will be fine when you return. Not sure what caused his dissection but the doctors gave no apparent reason why. I say that to say unless he has a medical condition that increases his chances of another VAD the relaxation and meds will be fine. Hope you enjoy your trip and many years to come with your whole family.

Thank you, Mark. It happened after my husband did couple swings in golf court. He had stiff neck and headache two days before this happened. Now, 2 and half week recovery, he can take care of himself but still feel so dizzy when walking out side the house. I also wonder if VAD patient can take airplane in rest of life

My stroke was considered severe because they couldn’t operate because of were it was. But since it happened I have flown on an airplane a few times. I thought the same thing after it happened but my doctor said it was ok. I didn’t have any complications. It was about 6 months post stroke that I flew. I got my 2nd 6 month MRI results ,so 1 year next month, back yesterday and got great news as far as how everything looks. Thanks everybody for the support

I also have had to find a new normal. I had my first VAD in march of 2015 and a cerebral artery dissection they think it was from a cough. In Dec 2016 I started feeling horrible again so I went to the ER and my blood pressure was 189/100 and I had pain in my neck like 2015 but the Dr said it was unlikely for it to happen again gave me pain meds and told me I had occipital neuralgia. He sent me on my way no blood work said he was comfortable with vitals. 3 days later is when I think I had the mini stroke the next day I finally got into see my primary Dr and she found another VAD and the one from 2015 never healed. My Arteries were 3 times normal size lots of inflammation. It feels like something is crushing my brain everyday. Weather changes affect me, stress, elevators,driving,humidity, heat,bending forward. They really don’t know why it keeps happening to me or why mine won’t heal. It is frustrating not being the mom you once were for your children. I don’t like I will ever feel normal. I also have Trigeminal neuralgia that is flared up from the inflammation. Hang in there your not alone. Hopefully you have a strong support system to help you. We watch a lot of movies as a family now since I can’t do a lot of the fun things. It is hard and I cry a lot. I hope each day is easier for you.

I see a specialist in NYC, Dr. Jeffrey Olin at Mount Sinai Hospital. He and his team are amazing. You should be checked for FMD, fibermuscular dysplasia. Its common in woman with dissections. I have it. Its beading in the arteries that make them more likely to tear. Renal artery issues can cause spikes in blood pressure. Its not going to kill you but there can be complications like the multiple dissections so thorough follow up is key to prevent major complications. They screen all your arteries from head to pelvis ( by ultrasound and CT scan) to see if/where it is located and then provide all the follow up scans and care. Another great provider is Dr. Gornich ( sp) at the Cleveland clinic. Don’t think that your neurologists / radiologists will automatically catch FMD…. I found mine in a footnote on one of my MRA reports as a “possible cause”, it was never explained to me so I made my own appointment in a FMD clinic and I am VERY glad I did.

Hi Robert and everyone,
I’m a 53 yr old male from London. Last November (2015) I started having bouts of vertigo, followed by a couple of incidents of double vision. Doctors tested me for ear infection etc, then I started getting headaches. Long story – short, I went in late January 2016 to a private Neurologist who said I should have a MRI, and to his surprise, and mine, he found that I had a Vertebral Artery Dissection. I then had a CT scan and another MRI which showed up a number of very tiny interfractions, which I later found out were tiny strokes.
The vertigo went by late February and the headaches stopped after taking betablockers.
I”m just on aspirin everyday now to thin the blood. Had a MRI in June and only just got to see the consultant on 4 October 2016. He told me the artery had not healed but that I’d not had any further strokes.
However, about a week before I had my appointment with him I had another vertigo incident, only lasting a few seconds, I clicked my neck and it stopped, but enough to think ‘here we go again!’
The consultant has arranged another MRI for next week.
I was under the impression that the artery tear would heal itself within 6 months and that would be that. But he said that I would be on aspirin for the rest of my life.
I’ve not had any lost of feeling anywhere during these experiences, so it came as a shock when he told me I’d been having tiny strokes. Not something you expect to hear at my age.
Wish everyone the very best.
London, UK

Rob, I too experienced vertigo and vision change before a stroke. This was two years ago. I was taking a baby aspirin as part of my meds at the time of the stroke. Since the stroke I have been on Plavix. You might want to ask your doctor about taking Plavix. By the way, my pre-stroke symptoms sound similar to yours except that my right side was affected and mostly has recovered except for residual neuropathy-type, chronic post-stroke pain. Wish I could get rid of that (and the fatigue), but otherwise am grateful to have come out of it as well as I did. Am looking forward to the results of planned clinical trial (late 2017) of new pain med, led by two anesthesiologists at Cleveland Clinic, to reduce or eliminate the type of hard-to-reach pain which strokes often leave behind. You will be fine. Just keep bp down, drink plenty of water and stay calm. Brits are known world wide for staying calm!

Hi Mary,
Thanks for your reply. Not that I want anyone else to suffer, but there is some comfort to know I’m not the only person going through this.
I’ll take your advise on board and try not to worry too much about it.
Hope your pain soon goes away for good and you can get back to how you felt before.
Take care,

Hi Mary,
Just wondered if you had more information about the trial you’re taking part in. Is there a link with details? I’m interested in the progression of these new drugs. I wonder if you could also let me know how it goes?! Are you on any of the Facebook stroke groups? You can find me under Sara Jane sheikh on Facebook or on my writing blog where my stroke story is: if you’re happy to share. I too am left with chronic nerve pain. It’s mainly sciatic in nature and I’m having a lumbar facet joint injection in a few weeks in case OA is exacerbating/causing it. I did have some intermittent sciatica pre-stroke but my physio suggested that post-stroke neuropathy ‘turns the volume up’ on general pain. I came off Gabapentin and Amitriptyline a while ago as they made me gain weight, so I’m hunting down alternatives! I’m in the UK and am managing currently by stretching, walking, and taking co-codamol when the pain is at its worst. All the best, Sara 🙂 x

Sara, The trials on the new drug are only in the planning stage. I am not in the trial as they have not been set up, but whenever they are, I want to be involved.

I have little information on NTRX-07, but what I read sounded very promising. Here is the source:

From what I understand, the project still lacks funding and that is why the contact information given comes out of the Cleveland Clinic Development office. But as the article explains, they have enough funding to get started. The woman in the Development Office who is mentioned in the article is Lauren Maguire, and her email address is If you know of donors who could add to the funding of the project, she’s the one to contact.

Wish I could tell you more, but that is all I know. It is a project well worth knowing about I think. As the article says, there seem to be no side effects and could benefit millions of people. It is hopeful news for sure!

Sorry to take so long to get back to you!
Thanks so much for that information about the drug trials.
I will keep checking in to see what happens; these things just take so long to develop, fund, get off the ground etc. Definitely sounds promising though.
All the very best to you, S x

Hi all. Apologies if any of this has been addressed but I’m fresh into my second (SECOND😫) arterial dissection and recovery is long and painful. I am a 34 year old white female, thin and fairly active. 5 years ago I had “the worst headache of my life” for three weeks which was misdiagnosed multiple times. I was eventually diagnosed with a left intracranial vertebral artery dissection. It was spontaneous. I healed as expected and did not have a stroke. Fast forward until two weeks ago and I felt that awful familiar pain in my head. This time they knew exactly what to look for. Sure enough, right extracranial internal carotid artery dissection! I am two weeks out, home from the hospital and still in some really awful pain. I have extreme sensitivity to light, Horner’s syndrome, And the pain is just awful. There’s such little information available online but I was looking for some reassurance that this length of pain is normal. The first time around it took roughly 6 weeks before I felt like a human being again. This time I’ll have an extensive work up for auto immune diseases, including FMD. I live in Connecticut and so I am hopeful that some of the teaching hospitals in the area will be able to offer me some answers. I had anxiety after the first one now it’s through the roof! I did not have a stroke with this dissection either I’m terrified of it happening again

Hi Chrstina! I hope by now you are feeling a little more pain relief from your second dissection. I am thin and very active and at 47 had a dissection 7 months ago. I have had my share of anxiety too and have spent many sleepless nights hoping this never happens to me again. I can only imagine how you are feeling. In my case, I had the headaches, neckaches, and funny twinges almost daily for 4 months then they became less and less. Sometimes I can go for a week now without feeling pain then have a headache again and “catastrophize” thinking it will never go away. But sure enough, the next morning I wake up and feel fine. They checked me for autoimmune and connective tissue diseases which came back as negative but it’s good to get that checked out.
Hope you are healing well now. Don’t get discouraged!

Hello to Everyone! My name is Maggy and I am so glad I found this site! On January 9th I drove myself to the ER with an excruciating head ache. I was discharged with a “stress headache” and given ibuprophen. During the work week I had continued headaches, neck stiffness, and blurry vision in my right eye.
On the evening of January 15th, I had a stroke. I woke from a nap and was overcome with dizziness. I fell to my knees and vomited for about 16 hours while a friend watched my 3 kids. By Tuesday the vomiting had subsided but I was extremely dizzy and could barely walk. I had a major sensitivity to light as well. That evening I went to the ER where a CT scan was done. I had a VAD that caused the stroke a week later. I was floored upon the diagnosis. I was life flighted to Denver, CO and received treatment. I was home about 10 days later and feel better each day. I am on warfarin, as well as Tylenol and meclizine for pain and dizziness.

Last Friday, I went into the ER with neck pain and they discovered a tear in the other artery! Ugh! I see the neurologist tomorrow and hope to have answers. Apparently I am the 1% this happens to twice with no known cause.
I am so grateful for this site and all your positive recovery stories. I am 41, a mother of 3, an avid runner, and a teacher. Taking it easy to recover but so ready to get back out and run again. Thank you all for sharing! It has been such a comfort to know I am not alone in this:)

Hi Maggy, How horrible about your second dissection. I hope you are doing better. You should get checked for Fibromuscular Dysplasia ( FMD). I have it. Its a vascular disorder that can weaken and change your arteries. There is no cure for it but it can be successfully managed by a FMD expert doctor. Google it and find a good FMD specialist that you can travel to. I see Dr. Olin in Mount Sianai New York City. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon!

I had a VAD 2 weeks post Partum in March. Anyone ever have repeat ct scans? I’m Scheduled tomorrow for mine and a little anxious. Also anyone every have the artery enlarge? The doctor told me that it doesn’t usually happen.

Reading the stories has given me hope to see so many you doing better. Prayers to all!

Did you have head and neck pain? If so how long did it take for that to go away for you. I’m one week out from diagnosis and the pain is still fairly strong. Just wondering how long it lasts for people and when I’m going to be able to be a human being again. I didn’t have a stroke so I figured recovery would be fairly easy. Not so much.

Hi Kristin, those were my main symptoms. Neck pain lasted for about 3 weeks, more so because my neck was so tight because I was afraid to move it. And headache for about 2 weeks. Give it some more time…best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Neck pain… Sometimes it never goes away! Everyone is different! I have found the best help in the Facebook group called Vatebral Artery Dissection Support – check them out – so many answers, opinion and most important… Support!

Thanks Matt! Yes I did find that right away and “liked” it. Hoping I get learn more about this monster soon. There’s not a lot of info on it that helps me much.



Hi. I suffered VAD on Sept 5, 2016, just one month after turning 50 yrs old. I experienced severe neck pain on the left side that traveled up the left side of my face & head. I was transported to one of the best hospitals for strokes, Methodist downtown Houston where I spent 2 days in I.C.U. & 9 days in a room & had a team of doctors working on me. Surgery was too risky, so I’m taking plavix & an asprin daily. I suffered a TIA stroke, so there’s no long term damage. They tell me this is one of the most rare yet most painful strokes to have. The first 3 months following the VAD is very painful. I have pain meds & muscle relaxers to control the pain & I sleep on a heating pad. I have good & bad days. The CT Scan done 6 weeks afyer incident shows no change. I still have the pseudoanerisym in the artery. I still feel pain although I’m on strong pain medication. I’m an accountant for a company & cannot work, so financially, this is stressful. I also have moments that I literally cannot take a breath nor swallow. That lasts 2 to 3 seconds, bit is frightening. They say it’s due to the VAD on left artery. Has anyone else experienced that?

Hello, I just read your comment and was wondering how long the head/neck pain lasted? I’m 6 days post- VAD/TIA and I get sharp pains in my head & dizziness. I also still have the neck pain which scares me (but I’m also afraid to move it too much).

I had VAD followed by stroke 3 years ago. 6 months later I had a follow-up CTA which showed no improvement — it was still completely collapsed with little to no chance of it ever opening back up. Now, 3 years later, I just had another CTA which shows it is fully open and no evidence of any dissection. Yet, I still have an achy pain that has been there since the VAD…and will probably never go away. I limit exercise a little….as to not get my heart rate too high to cause strain to that area….and no bumper cars or roller coasters. Good luck and I wish you a happy, healthy life ahead.

Hi there! My name is Kristin. I was just diagnosed with a VAD of the v3/v4 junction. I was having serious head and neck pain for a week. When it started I went right to my doctors and they diagnosed me with TMJ and put me on prednisone and sent me home. 3 days later the pain was no better. It was probably worse and it was a Sunday so I went to urgent care where they took x-rays and sent me home with muscle relaxers and naproxen. I stopped the prednisone and took the other meds with little relief. Monday and Tuesday I got adjusted by a chiropractor and felt almost instant relief- the pain was not gone but halfed each time I went but some did come back. But then Wednesday it was so bad I drove myself from work straight to our local hospital where they did a CT scan and then ordered another with contrast. They saw an abnormality on my left side so they transported me to the Hospital of the University of Penn’s Neuro ICU. After several tests and and MRA the vertebral artery dissection was confirmed at the V3/V4 junction. They sent me home after one day in the hospital on an aspirin regimen and a follow up MRA in three months. I’m also out of work for the week and can’t lift, bend or carry anything. So I guess my question is , is this normal care? My head is still in a fair amount of pain and quite honestly I am scared of having a stroke. How long were you out of work? They say I didn’t have a stroke which is great but I’m worried I will. I have a connective tissue disorder so they think that with a weird move of my neck might be the cause of my VAD. Does this make me more susceptible to them in the future? Any insight would be helpful. I’m a first grade teacher and it’s a pretty physical job. They said I could go back after a week but I’m a little worried. Thanks!

Hi Kristin! My name is Leah. Its been a year since I had a VAD ( same place as yours). No stroke, thankfully. I had a migraine and neck pain on and off for two weeks before I went to the ER. I cracked my neck once and got instant relief as well. I was allowed to go back to work right way but the migraines were so bad I had to go on leave for two months. I would strongly advise you to do that if possible. I took it pretty easy for a full year. The anxiety has been horrible but I can say it does get better. One year out, one dissection has totally healed ( took a full year!), the other is very small and stable and probably wont at this point. I did loads of research and started taking dark chocolate after I read about cardiac patients arteries recovering better on
” chocolate therapy”. I eats a small amount of dark chocolate 72 % or higher almost ever day. I contribute the healing to that ( it wasn’t healing at all at 5 month MRA) before i started the chocolate . The doctors say food can’t do that , but whatever, its worth a shot and it helped me. I still have more headaches then I ever have had. My neck still hurts sometimes and I still worry a lot of about this happening again but the pain level, the tiredness,and most of the symptoms have decreased in the last year, so stay strong!! I recently went to see Dr. Jeffery Olin in NYC ( Mount Sinai Hospital ) and was tested for FMD ( its really only in women) and found out I do have it. Its mild though. He scanned every artery in my whole body and talked to me for hours about every question I have ever had about FMD and dissections. Hands down the best doctor ever in terms of patient care and engagement. We have a 1% percent chance of this happening ever again. Pretty positive, I would say!! Best of luck! Leah

Thank you Leah! Right now my primary doctor called me out of work until October 19 which is just about 6 weeks from my diagnosis. I’m sure he’ll allow more of needed. I will also see if we can’t rule out FMD. I’d not heard of that so thanks for mentioning it. It’s good to hear that others have had my issues and have gotten through them. I’m thankful for everyone’s support!

Kristin, Its hard to read FMD in reports because its a rare disease ( esp. if its mild like mine), you should have an expert in the field take a good look. That’s great that you have 6 weeks off! I watched a lot of TV, read books, and sat out on my deck and really just tried to relax so I could heal. You should too. Good luck!

Hi Leah,
Thanks for your story! I was wondering if your dissection that healed with a scar showed any dilation of the artery? I’m trying to find out more information about that because it seems mine healed that way. It’s been 6 months for me.

Laura- I think mine totally healed. But I read in a blog regarding arteries once ” You can live a perfectly normal life with imperfect arteries”. MY FMD doctor reaffirmed that as well. I think most of us here on this website are proof! I take comfort from that. While mine was in the process of healing it was narrowed and had a pseudo aneurysm at the site.

I better start drinking a lot of water almost 5 months and still feeling numb painful and off balanced ,not to mention pain wakes me up every night , but im hanging in there not doing steps to much trying to gain strenght . taking 11 pills a day makes me sort of nausaus too. yes it takes time to heal GOD HELP US ALL!

I’m recovering from a bilateral vertebral artery dissection and I’m starting to have jaw discomfort. Has anyone else experienced this?

I am really glad I found this site, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone. I am 39 years old. I have had back pain since I was 16, some degenerative issues and my doctor sent me to a pain clinic to get cortisone injections. I had quite a few of them with no problems and no relief. The last injections I received caused my blood pressure to rise and it was high for a couple weeks. My doctor finally put me on blood pressure medication but I had a stroke 4 days later. I had severe pain in my neck that morning that kept getting worse. I finally decided to get in the shower and I started blacking out almost immediately after getting in. I had to have help putting clothes on. Fortunately my oldest son had just went to fire camp and learned some essential medical knowledge. He called 911 and told them I was having a stroke. I would vomit every time I moved my head. I was in and out and don’t remember a whole lot about that day. I was in the hospital for 5 days and could hardly walk. I would fall to the right side of I wasn’t supported. Now a year later I can walk fine although I still have to catch myself sometimes. I still have some memory issues as well. I plan to go back to school for nursing and I will go for my EMT in a month or so. I might have to work twice as hard but I won’t let it stop me. I am disappointed in the health care system here in WV. They never do a follow up so see if my artery has healed. I ended up having a CT scan a few months ago for my headaches and turns out my neck has not healed. I’m on plavix, aspirin and blood pressure medication. I know I will never get injections again so I thought about going to the chiropractor to get some relief but after reading this blog I will not even attempt it. My headache dr wants me to try Botox for the headaches but I’m scared to have another foreign substance injected into my body after what happened. Thank you all for sharing your stories!!

Hi there !
I had a massive stroke almost 4.5 years ago and I can tell you for 3 of these years have had trigger point injections for pain and Botox. I understand you are nervous about this . I promise you that you will get some relief with the Botox.
If you really don’t want to please try acupuncture. This too has been a God send to me. This was something new for me after my stroke . Stroke comes with no warning, one minute you are ok and the next minute your life has changed forever.
I hope that you continue to recover and I hope to hear again from you

Hi all. Last week I had a bilateral VAD with a mild stroke. My doctor gave me little info on the recovery process. How long do people typically stay off of work? I worry about going back too soon. Right now, I do a little walking and get tired and dizzy.

Hello Angela,
I don’t know what type of headaches you’re having, but I have had the same sort of things happening to me. I have carotid artery dissection, was blacking out and vomiting when I would turn my head a certain way, numbness in my right arm and middle and ring fingers on the right hand, and I have cluster headaches. Also known by the encouraging term, suicide headaches. It is supposedly the worst pain known to humankind. I only ever seem to get those sorts of things!
I have also had a dramatic decline in my vision in both eyes.
Could be the whole turning 40 thing!
The last time I had a life-threatening illness and excruciating pain that was supposedly one of the worst kinds of pain known to our species was an 8 1/2 lb gallbladder that was gangrened on one side and necrotic, (dead and already rotting) on the other. It was the size of a full term baby with rocks sized from golf ball through to what the surgeon called “sludge” which was like aquarium rock suspended in molten lava. The ultrasound they had done on it hadn’t given him a full scope of the size of it and when he went to try to remove it from my belly button using laparoscopic entry, he had to back out. Widen the incision. The first thing I said when I woke up was, “It feels like you pulled a watermelon out my navel!” He said “No, more like a really massive baby!”
It had ruptured on my tummy on the way out with only the slightest pressure and he told me there was so much acidic bile and infection in it if I had strained too hard while vomiting it could have ruptured. And if it had, there wouldn’t have been anything he could have done to help me. That acid would have damaged me so quickly, I’d have been lost before he could’ve prepped me for surgery. I was 31.
So, I seem to have this special knack for either being really healthy or going flat out GANGSTER on something hardcore!
These headaches I get are equally over the top and melodramatic! There were behaviors that I was demonstrating that were actually diagnostic clues as to the type of headache I was having, but I wasn’t able to accurately observe them because I was in so much pain. I was losing my usual hyper self-awareness.
I paced, held my head, panicked, and would even bang my head on something.
That sounds totally mental to me, but the pain is so severe, I suppose there is a reflexive urge to distract one’s self from it. I had been put on ever increasing amounts and strengths of heavy narcotics, culminating at the top with continuous release morphine. It held some of the frequency back, but I still had break-through pain. Morphine was never going to be an answer for it long term, anyway. It is, in every way, a drug to die on.
My neurologist told my GP to take me off of it and give me oxygen.
I was so distraught. I could not face the possibility of not having any pain relief at all and having to go back to suffering those things every two hours all day and night. I would rub the spot on my head where it hurts until I’d rubbed a bald patch. It is only ever in one single spot, every time. I thought I had a tumor, at first. Apparently, that’s what most people deduce with these headaches.
I couldn’t sleep. I could go to sleep, but I would wake in debilitating pain after about two hours of sleep and then be up the rest of the night wide awake in pain. If I got a single degree hotter than my internal thermostat allows for, the headache would be on me in a flash. Anything can trigger them. Or nothing.
Not much rhyme and no reason at all.
Well, normally, I’d have dismissed the oxygen thing outright and just gone back to my suffering, but I figured they would have to relent and give me my pills back if I was at least attempting to be compliant and it wasn’t working.
Very much to my surprise, it did work!
I can’t go anywhere for more than an hour or so unless I take my little portable tank with me, but, that’s better than being permanently homebound and in pain.
I don’t know if my cardiovascular situation has anything to do with these headaches or not, but I wanted to at least mention the oxygen thing before you have to have to succumb to bovine poison! Has your doctor ever discussed oxygen therapy with you? They had threatened me with botox, and I am petrified of needles and will do anything to talk my way out shots and IV’s. (Maybe at some point, vanity will overtake phobia and I’ll want it) But, I have even absconded from hospitals in a gown with my backside shining like the ivory moon trying to dodge an IV, only to be hunted down and returned by my Mom! .
Not even as a child, this is since I’ve had babies of my own! I have hidden in cafeterias and once ducked into someone else’s room to hide and just happened to have gone to school with the guy and we sat and chatted until a nurse found me and dragged me back to my room. Also, the thought of nasty cow rot paralyzing some part of my head or face terrifies me. I can’t stand not being able to feel a part of my body. The numbness in my arm and fingers has very nearly driven me insane. I suppose, judging from how all this makes me sound, it would seem like quite a short drive to insane from where I live!
I am so tired all the time. I have put on about 25 pounds and the constant swoosh, swoosh of my pulse wears me out as well.
There is a certain way I can turn my head to get it to hush for a while, but I have to be so careful. The first time I quickly moved my head and went sick and blacked out, I honestly thought it was just a reaction to the pain of it.
At night, if I lie on my right side, the numbness and pulse thing disturbs me.
But, I can’t turn on my left because that’s the headache side. Also, I cannot stand feeling my heart beating because I swear it skips around and often just stops for a good 10 or 15 seconds at a time and after 20 minutes of that frightening scenario, I just give up.
I am originally from the US, but I live in England now. I have wanted to live here since I was a little girl. I wanted a well-spoken, well-educated, blue-blood Englishman for a husband, a little blond boy with an Etonian haircut and a cute little British accent, and a grade II, listed character property. (not much, lol!)
I have all those things, and by all rights, should be blissful beyond belief.
It is frustrating to be dealing with the ancillary nonsense, but I am still very grateful to the universe. I have always found a way to make seemingly impossible dreams come true. I shape my will to a particular goal or goals, put it out there in the wide cosmos and focus, believe, work hard, and achieve!
We just get one spin on this rock, I plan to be full spun out before it’s over!
The one thing my parents gave me aside from unconditional love was a strong belief that I could do anything under the sun that I put my mind to.
And, strangely, I have always been able to do just that.
I guess health issues that are outside the margins of my control worry me particularly. And now that I’m 40, my mortality is so much more tangible than it ever has been before. It sounds like the healing prognosis on the carotid dissection is quite promising. I wish everyone here the very best!
These posts have been educational, informative, inspiring, comforting, reassuring…my adjectives are getting redundant! I will definitely come back to see how everyone is doing, maybe even write another medical drama novella!
(I think I may be proud of myself a wee bit for surviving these things that sought to take me out! And I am excited and thankful that you all are still here after what you have been through! It’s kinda like winning!! hahah!)
I hope you get some relief soon, my love!
Take care everybody!
All the best!

Hello Charlotte- I just wanted to say I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Thank you! It is so positive, informative and it made me smile, laugh, cry, and find some inner strength over this whole VAD diagnosis that I didn’t realize I had- to help pull me through this process toward healing. Thanks again!

Hi,. A few weeks before my artetie dissection I had my second dose of steroids in my knee, who knows. Its been 3 month an I still recovering, currently taking comadin and doing nothing, my left side is waking up since I started feeling again warn and cold. But my left leg feels like having bengay on all the time, lime a burn sensation that dont go away. My right eye still a bit smaller than my left and I lost vision on that eye. Hopefully after 6 month and I get my new MRI is all good and could start a normal life.

Please go to the best neurologist available to discuss botox shots. 3 weeks after my VAD, a pain management Dr wanted to give me botox to help with the pain. I also suffer with migraines. Like yourself, I was skeptical. I have a fantastic team of Drs working on me with VAD & since they didn’t offer botox, I passed on the offer. I told 2 of my Drs about it the following week and both immediately were shocked and said absolutely not! They explained the botox needle is about 2 or 2 1/2 inches long. They showed me my CT Scan and how rhe needle could easily hit that artery & would cause death. I have a pseudo anerism as well. I don’t want any of us to have complications after we survived a VAD in which majority don’t survive! Take care & stay blessed

This site is incredibly helpful!

I’m 31 and I had a chiropractic neck adjustment 2 months ago. Immediately felt dizzy/vertigo and had memory loss. Life was still manageable though. However, a couple weeks ago I mowed the lawn for 45 minutes and suddenly felt very flush.

I had two MRIs, neither of which showed any stroke signs. However, I’m convinced I have VAD since this happened IMMEDIATELY after the adjustment. And now since mowing the lawn, I have the following symptoms:

-Off balance to the left
-Head pressure
-Muscle weakness in both arms and legs which worsens every day (very concerning. anyone else ever experience this???)
-Memory loss

I’m on Nattokinasse (blood thinner), but I’m not improving. In fact, my symptoms seem to worsen every day. Anyone else experience this? I wish things would just level out first, and then begin to heal. I’m afraid I’m going to lose all function and feeling in my limbs. Any encouragement would be very appreciated. Thanks!

You should do an MRA (or CTA) to check for a dissection. At a minimum, it could rule it out.

Personally, it sounds like a vertebral dissection of some sort. Dissections get worse when we lack water so mowing the lawn for 45 minutes could have narrowed the artery causing less blood flow to your brain.

You should also consider joining the facebook group: “Vertebral Artery Dissection Support”. People are very quick to answer questions and there are very useful discussions there. You may learn a lot!

Yeas I had those symptoms when I first suffer the stroke. Both of my arms and legs felt asleep, vertigo, vomiting and neck pain. I was lucky to go to a hospital were the had a stroke unit and the Doctor in charge of that unit was working in the emergency room that day and in less than two hours they new what happen to me. I spent two weeks at the hospital with vertigo and vad vision in one eye. The firs four to five days I suffer an incredible headache. If I was you, do an MRI or CT, they did both studies on me but the MRI show more. Also do a heart and lung MRI, you never know. My Mom suffer a pulmonary embolism and had same symptoms. Also you could have a pinch nerve..Go to a different doctor

I am a 41 year old, healthy, active father and I recently had a cerebellum stroke due to a vertebral artery dissection. It was in January and I had just gotten home with my daughter who said she was sick and needed to be brought home from school. We were only in the house for 15 minutes when I slipped trying to put on my shoes and my whole world started spinning. I bounced off the walls as I made my way to the bedroom to lie down, which brought to comfort to the spinning. I quickly made it to my bathroom and vomited constantly. I felt like I was going to fall off of the floor, so I just laid down and held on. After a few minutes I found that if I just laid on my right side and didn’t move, I was ok. If I moved an inch I would get violently sick and dizzy.
My first instinct was that I had vertigo and it would just go away. Luckily my daughter, who is 9, was home and she called my wife. I convinced my wife to not call 911 (this was a mistake) because I thought it would go away. I took some motion sickness pills and they didn’t help. After 12 hours of laying on the bathroom floor unable to move, I agreed that I had enough and was ready to go the emergency room. They initially treated me for vertigo and left me in the triage area for a couple of hours. When I didn’t get any better I was sent for a MRI and CT scan, where the stroke and dissection were found. I spent 5 days in the hospital just being watched because the artery that dissected isn’t able to be worked on. After a couple of days I was able to move off of my right side and everything slowly returned to normal. It has almost been 3 months since my stroke and after physical therapy, I am almost back to 100%.
My question is what are my chances of this reoccurring? My doctor thinks it was my artery bumping against the hole in my skull that it goes through causing the dissection. I have read all the stories above and recovery times vary. I am worried about returning to work and the stress my job entails, in turn spiking my blood pressure, and cause a relapse. Any thoughts?

Hi Mark,

Your experience sounds similar to mine (I wrote the original blog posts about my VAD and stroke here). It does seem like you’re on the mend, which is great. And, feeling afraid of a recurrence must be normal—I know it loomed large for me initially. I still have a bit of fear about another VAD/stroke from time to time, but it no longer dominates my thoughts.

If you’re controlling your blood pressure and taking it relatively easy for a while to confirm your vertebral artery has recanalized. If there were no genetic factors in causing your VAD, your other risk factors are controlled (hypertension, smoking, etc.), and you’re not subjecting your neck/arteries to trauma, then you’ll likely not experience a recurrence. However, everyone is a unique snowflake, so it’s not a guarantee.

It has been 4 1/2 years since my VAD and stroke. I try to be as active as I was before the stroke. When I’m riding my bike and pushing myself in a workout, I get my heart rate up into the 170s without any issues. So, if you want to stay active, my bet is that you can. Working with your physician(s), especially your neurologist, will help you figure out when you can resume more strenuous activities.

Thank you for writing in and sharing your story. I hope your recovery continues!


First, thank you for sharing your experiences in an open forum where others can learn and help understand VAD; it is greatly appreciated.
My Sister is 38, plays tennis every day, and is a picture of health; she had a dual VAD 6 days ago. She had partial paralysis immediately afterwards and due to her excellence health, was walking around the hospital until yesterday, it seems she had an episode that caused permanent paralysis for about 1 hour. Within 8 hours, she was able to move all her limbs and hobble to the bathroom with assistance. Because she was in such good shape, she wants to get up and walk but I fear she is pushing it too much and risks another clot or aggravating or re-injuring the tear; the doctor said most people don’t survive a double VAD so I am fearful she is not taking it easy enough.
As a big Brother, I have to be careful not to overstep my boundaries so I thought I would ask the question to this group of people with first hand experience.
I think she should try to keep her neck as static as possible to give those arteries time to heal properly. Since I am not a doctor I am hesitant to say anything unless I have some type of factual data to back me up; her doctor told her no neck manipulation but has fallen short of neck immobilization.
Because of her active lifestyle, she inadvertently does things out of habit that I feel can harm her long term. Texting in her hospital bed with her head looking straight down. Bending down to pick up something she dropped out of her hospital bed and other small habits she has that I feel might re-injure her.
Am I being paranoid or is there a real danger here? If you guys could give me a glance into your recovery and PT I would greatly appreciate it. I wish you a speedy recovery and thank you again for taking the time to edify others.

I can’t wait to get out on the playing field again. My wife graciously acknowledges my whims but strictly holds me back from maybe hurting myself.

At least 3 month off work, but be careful. My Doctor told me to be relax for 6 month and do a new MRI to see the healing progress.

Hi, I was off of work for 3 months and I am on limited activity for a year. I am fully functional and have no problems with anything I do but to play it safe, my doctor asked that I do not play any sports for a full year. It took about 2 1/2 months for me to fully regain mobility. also I have had to schedule an MRI every 6 months to make sure my artery is healing properly.

I has a VAD followed by a stroke…its been a year now and a half now. I was short sighted before and it seems to have gotten worse, as I sometimes get blurry vision. My neurologist thinks it has more to do with my eyesight and so planning to see an ophthalmologist. I have a 2.5 year old son and would really want to have another/others, anyone with an experience of pregnancy after a VAD followed by stroke??

There are neurologists who specialize in eyesight- they can be hard to find – the one I saw was at New York Presbyterian. They go way beyond what an opthamalogist would do – may be worthwhile seeking that out…

I was 12 wks postpartum when I had my VAD and 5 strokes of the cerebellum. It has been a very long road, but I am going to bed tonight for the first time in nearly two years without pain. I credit that to excellent physical and vestibular therapy. It look 16 months for my VAD to heal, but it has. I was cleared by neurologist and high risk pregnancy physicians to have another child if desired. Their recommendations were close monitoring and daily Levonox injections throughout the pregnancy and for 90 days postpartum. I have decided against further pregnancies, but have two beautiful daughters to enjoy. Best of luck to you.

Hi, I’m a 36 year old woman and mother of four young kids and I have two dissected arteries, Right carotid and Left Vertebral . Both are inside my brain. I never had a stroke but had head and neck pain and sinus pressure one the left side of my face and arm and leg tingling and numbness. I went to the hospital after 11 days of this- the symptoms were mostly mild and would come and go- I thought I had pulled a neck muscle in spin class. The NP at the ER diagnosed me right away with the VAD! Thank God for him too, he possibly saved my life. (During those 11 days I was working out at crossfit, camping outside with my family, jumping on the trampoline, and playing in the swimming pool- its amazing that I am not dead.) I got the diagnosis and returned home paranoid as all heck to even turn my neck. I have never felt such utter terror- sheer sweat drenching terror- that I was going to do something to make it worse. Every twinge created panic. Those first few weeks I would lie awake at night feeling every particle in my body and head, terrified I would not wake up- or even worse perhaps, wake up as a diminished shell of my old self due to stroke. Eventually I stopped fixating on it and started feeling better. Four months out I go to see a Hopkins specialist and they do a repeat MRA. The radiologist sees the right carotid was dissected and missed on the two previous MRAs. Note: make sure you have a radiologist that knows what they are doing. At four months- no healing has taken place on either dissection. I’m bummed to put it lightly. I still have symptoms that randomly come and go. Neck pain/ headaches tingling and numbness on my face. The Hopkins neurologists says this isn’t from the dissection, but I know it is,never had it before the dissections. I’m working on being positive, eating and sleeping well. My question is did anyone have dissections inside their head that healed? It seems that the arteries on the inside are more fragile and I’m wondering if that’s why they aren’t healing? Thank you all- I’ve read and re-read yours posts about a dozen times!

My wife has been in hospital for 15 days with 2 corotid artery dissection from just a sudden fall. Hopefully I can learn a few things from here

Bobby, welcome and sorry to hear the news about your wife. I’m recovering from a vertebral artery dissection from August of last year. I did not stroke but it’s always touch and go. Following my near fatal rollover I spent a lot of time researching this condition. To date the artery remains occluded and unlikely to ever function. Fortunately the two vertebrals feed into a manifold called the circle of Willis which though now only receives blood from one side it still fills an distribution to both sides of the hind brain received at least a sufficient amount of blood. Your wife’s carotid is a much larger concern as it is a much larger and necessary source of blood. I’m assuming that along with blood thinners the Neurovascular doc plans to address this through more invasive means. Specific medical info along with emotionally supportive details are the purpose of this site and would be interested in trying to help if you could provide a current status and prognosis as is available to date. For you to be strong for the kids is important but you need support and positive energy along the way to sustain your own well being at this time. Please let me know any relative info and I will, and others here can better help to that end. For now, as you look for signs of hope, be vigilant to the data from the doc and keep close to whatever support bases you can. We are all here for this reason. Refuah Shlemah (complete healing prayer) for your wife.- Brandon

Hi Bob, Such a scary time for you both. I remember those early days just dragging on.Did your wife have a stroke? I imagine she did if she’s still in the hospital. All the journals that I have read state that if you survive the initial event and are young and healthy, ” 90% of people have an excellent prognosis for recovery”.

Leah, you have such a pleasant and invigorating approach. You commented on a post of mine from Feb 10 or so. I wanted to thank you for recognizing what I was trying to convey. I remember my first several posts here. Not atypical! We all want answers and we would like them as soon as possible, if you don’t mind… I’ve been there! So I can make fun of those of us who have spent way too many hours researching and self/web prognostications. I felt inclined to share something that struck me as I read your posts. First, I understand that there are few medical conditions that demand imminent attention more than stroke or dissected arteries/occlusion. The rate and rapidity that rarely precedes these is much of what causes our dramatic reactions. And who wouldn’t? But beyond the first 48, and into the third, fourth and fifth months, morbity greatly diminishes. The tough stuff out of the way, what if we learned from our experience the obvious, redundant and trite life lessons that our predecessors tried to convey to us? The true meaning of life… The existential. To maintain brevity I conclude, in summary, instead of worrying about the granite stone and what it should read, we set out to, as best we could, carve our living into the hearts and minds of our loved ones, friends and heck, the world!! I hope this doesn’t seem inconsistent with my sincere empathy for my partners here. I should have died. No one survives “that crash”. But I did. And to the end I battle with the aftermath but G-d only knows how much my wife and boys have benefited from my desire to pass it on and give them every tool I cannot take with me to the dust, whether it be tomorrow or 30 more years. The quiescence stands firmly in the way of love. Love is trans-generational unless it gets trapped in a pine box having never shared.

Brandon, Do you write? Your message are always elegant so I wonder if you write as a profession or pastime? I am a professional researcher- something that has definitely NOT been healthy for my sanity the last few months! I have self diagnosed myself with everything under the sun. I find I alternate from freaking myself out to to searching for articles and books to calm my panic and soothe my soul. The logical thing to do is stop looking for answers and statistics and just try to lighten up. You are right, if you survive- and everyone here did- chances are excellent that you will be just fine !

hello, I am so glad to have found this site. I had bilateral vertebral artery dissections in 2008 and have never been the same since. Even after followup scans showed they healed in 2009, I have horrible neck pain from being afraid to move my neck, and it has gotten worse in the past two years after an MVA in May 2014. My neck pain is to the point where it hurts to walk, chew, etc. and daily migraines and can’t look from side to side. I miss my active lifestyle so much. And as you all know after having this happen to you, you fear the worst- brain tumor, recurrence of dissection, etc etc. I just got done with an ENT work up because my new primary thought my pain is from my sinuses. Today I have an appointment for psychical therapy because my Dr’s think my pain is from not having a good range of motion. But what if in 2014 during the accident the arteries tore again and just havent healed? I am just so frusterated with all of this and don’t know where to go. I don’t have a neurologist that takes me seriously either, they think depression/anxiety is causing all my issues. Of course I feel depressed, this has taken over my life. If anyone has ideas on how to find proper care and reassurance after this sort of thing. please let know. Most people don’t even know what VAD is .

I didn’t even know a site like this existed! I just had a second dissection. My first was in 2013 a left vertebral artery with a stroke caused by a chiropractor and I just had left spontaneous carotid artery dissection in January, thank good no stoke this time, but, they can’t tell me why it happened. I’m a RN and I work on the unit and am horrified to work in fear that I may cause something to make it happen again. I am on a 20 pound weigh restriction and do you know how hard that is to actually adhere to in everyday life especially working as a floor nurse with sick patients? But on top of the dissection they are telling me that there is a 3mm psedoanyersm. They are sending me to every which doctor now but no answers so far. I have chronic pain, headaches all on the left side of my head, fatigue, foggy headed, numbness tingling in my hands and toes, I repeat myself, diagnosed with narcolepsy after my first dissection and stroke and now it all flared up and intensified. Neurologigist had NO answers for me today, do t have a reacan until April to see if the artery I’d healed and the clot and anysem is going away to see if they want to do any intervention or not. They are sending me to a rheumatologist to work me up for possible connective tissue dissorers?!? Has anyone ever had a third or fourth dissection ?? This is what I really fear?? Can this just keep happening????

Hi Ruby- For your own piece of mind, find a neurologist that will listen to you and rescan with an MRA so you can rule out dissections from the 2014 accident. That alone will make you feel relieved- it would for me. I suffer from severe face pain that is partially caused by the dissection and partially from me being so tense all the time after this has happened. My teeth are inadvertently clenched ALL THE TIME. It took me a long time to figure this out though. I got on muscle relaxers and consciously unclench my teeth and the face/neck pain has gotten better. So my problem was a combination of a real problem being made way worse by something I was doing inadvertently. The more I focused on the pain the worse I felt, the bigger the problem became. I am in no way discounting your pain or your situation but if you can get on some muscles relaxers that may help you. I am praying for you that this resolves. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel.

Leah, Thanks for mentioning muscle relaxer for facial pain. You have confirmed what I had been thinking, so I will ask my doctor for mild muscle relaxer.

I noticed that at night while in bed, and upon waking up, I have very little facial pain so a muscle relaxer during the day might help. Would like some suggestions for dealing with muscle pain and acute hand numbness (and extreme coldness) on my right side. Sometimes I feel as though I have been wrapped in ropes that tighten themselves often around my upper right arm. My fingers feel as though I am wearing stiff leather gloves. It has been 1 year 4 months since the stroke and my post stroke pain is hanging in there like a pest. I will appreciate suggestions of what others are doing to make the pain easier to live with since it has become my constant companion. Someone who works in stroke rehab has written that people who have had strokes have to work twice as hard as people who have not had one, and I believe it. Whether washing dishes or making a meal, it is twice as much effort. Would love to hear from others what lightens the load and relieves the pain. By the way, I am still making progress and believe that eventually I will be my old self, but it is a solitary road with few “experts”. That is why hearing from others is so uplifting and helpful to me.

Hello Ruby, I am Robbin 60 years just hadVAD which happened at work just while sitting giving report to fellow nusrses! I am experiencing headaches and am very cautious about turning my head and the neck is sore feels tight and yes I too feel very anxious at times which gets me depressed as it is not my basic makeup! I used to take care of everyone , go everywhere so to let you know apparently that we are not alone and I do believe there are still mysteries of medicine and on behalf of all of us who share these oddities of s/p VAD maybe they will put all of our side effects , neurocies whatever one wishes to label it ! And possibly gather some conclusive evidence , that these are things that go along with certain particulars involving some dissections , as mine was referred to as “Spontaneous dissection” ! And I also pray and give thanks to God everyday !! I am going to Doctors today … Let’s see what questions can be answered! Today we can smile at the sun!

I had spontaneous bilateral vertebral artery dissections with dissecting aneurysm that did extend up into the base of my brain. This was 19 years ago! And yes, they can heal. I still have scar tissue in the arteries which is visible on subsequent imaging and I have some pain still but it’s manageable. My right side had the aneurysm and that’s the area that gives me the most pain still….whenever I’m very tired, sick or very stressed it hurts the most. I hope you heal soon and completely! Take care and don’t give up hope. I was 34 when this happened and I’m now 53 and have raised my two daughters and now have 2 grandchildren and one on the way 🙂 Stay strong!

Diana, Thank you so much for your kind words of hope and strength! It brought a tear to my eye actually. I’m doing better. Have a small bit of healing on my carotid ( it took 8 months for that!) but no healing on my VAD but I’m just taking it day by day and trying to not hyper- focus on this so much. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to reach out to me, it really meant a lot and made me feel better. Leah

Hi all,
A lot of time has passed since I post my message . In my last visit with the neurologist, she told me that my two arteries were totally healed. Now I am having just an aspirin for six months and that’s it. I am practicing all kind of sports. The doctors told me to do just what I was doing before the dissections.
Recurrence in dissections is very rare so I am living my life like this wouldn’t have happen. I will remember all my life this experience, my fears, my family absolutely worried at hospital but as time passes this memories are very far from me.
I wish a lot of luck to all of you that are in the healing process and think positive, you will be healed in months.
Kind regards

Thank you. Joe. for the encouraging update and to know that you have made it back to health and an active life!

God Bless you and your family.


Thanks Mary, we all know how important is our family in this process. Unfortunately all of us have seen the suffering in our families. So we have to give them back as a present our recovery

Thank you I had a VAD a week ago and I am scared but will get better. I am scared it will happen again but I believe in God and positive thinking, Love Heather

Heather, it is normal to be scared. I was too when I first had a stroke 18 months ago. Not so much any more. At this point I am working on dealing with residual effects of the stroke and am going to be assessed soon by a team specializing in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). I have a feeling that concentrating on strengthening certain muscles which were weakened by the stroke is going to be the key to getting rid of what chronic pain symptoms I have. I am over 75 and I think no-pain recovery is taking longer than as if I were 40 or 50 years younger. If it would interest anyone, I can report back what I am told at a clinic where I will be evaluated for CRPS. There is an excellent explanation at this link

Hi everyone I am Sharon I had a VAD also a mild stroke on the 21st March was in the hospital for 6 days I am so scared I will not get better ,I work in a nursing home the work is very heavy and hard I an scared I will not be able to provide for my 9 year old son ,my neurologist told me I can lift more than 10 lbs so
No work for me ,does anyone know how long this takes to heal

Its been 3 month for me, I guess you never stop thinking that it will happen again. I am hopping that at six month the arterie heal so I could relax and get back to my life.

I was on the squash court and started losing my vision about an hour after playing. I went into hospital and a CT with contrast revealed I had the VAD. I am male 35 years old. It was suggested that an odd neck movement could have been the cause since I am generally healthy and fit. I was told to avoid any abrupt neck movements or massage/chiro for at least 3 months while remaining on blood thinners.

I was told I could resume exercise normally, but no roller coaster type activities to keep my neck from being tossed around. Please share with me your doctor recommended recovery time. Thanks!

I am a 33-yr old female that had spontaneous VAD followed by a stroke 3 years ago….reason unknown. A vascular neurologist mentioned at that time that there was little to no chance of my right vertebral artery opening back up. Upon a CTA scan a few days ago, I found out my VAD has completely healed. I look forward to my dr appt with the neurologist coming up. I will continue to live with a few restrictions that include no bumper cars, roller coasters, and any quick neck manipulations (some sports that require lots of neck turning).

I also had a vertebral artery dissection. On April 28, I was hiking and ended up calling 911 when I suddenly lost my walking skills and started feeling pain in my jaw. Speed forward I have had numerous doctors appointments and it now looks as if the artery has healed itself. I was taken off of warfarin and now take aspirin each day. Now what? Can I return to a normal routine with the exception of neck jarring activities? I want to start running again and working out without the thoughts of what if…I feel great and have seen the scans and the doctors have said I can return to a normal routine, however they haven’t suffered this trauma so I’m a bit of a skeptic. Any thoughts or suggestions from anyone that has been through this?

Rich… the first thing to do is to realize how lucky you are… if you read some of the stories on the site, you will realize that many others are not so fortunate. I am glad to say that I was one of the fortunate as well… and for two years after my stroke I stopped working out and literally didn’t move my neck. I would turn my whole body. I stopped running and swimming out of fear that the physical activity would create some sort of re-lapse… the fact of the matter is… you’re healed.

You’re healed… I was told that many times by many people but it so hard to believe someone who didn’t go through what you went through. Six years after my episode I look back and am upset that I didn’t move my neck for two years (that created other problems)… that I didn’t start working out again, swimming, tri’s, etc.

I am not a doctor, but from everything I’ve been told and experienced… your dissection is healed… get back to life. It is incredibly hard because a VAD is so scary. I know… but, really, get back to it… you will be ok. You may, like many others, experience weird things our brains healing have done to us, weird sensations, numb cheeks, hot hands or feet… but it passes, and its not another stroke.
Best of luck,

So none of you remember my story. It was eight months ago and I lacked brevity in the telling of it. But I get these updates and I read them. Briefly, I didn’t stroke, may HIS name be blessed, but I lost the left vertebral artery in a rollover. I have fought little battles v. The horrendous wars that have beleaguered most of you. Though commonality is crevaced I just wanted to weigh in by saying that to all of you, as mentioned, consider yourself blessed or lucky if you are Irish but either way consider yourself. Consider the future of yourself. Are you thankful? For what and to whom? And in that consideration are you willing to take what you have and inspire those who are not so inspired… This can be the opportunity to make your generations proud. Survivors preclude surviving. Not so trite is the “pass it on” mentality. But to pass it on means that you first, must endure. Our being on this earth depends on those who went before us and endured hardship in many facets. Peace and life to all of you and may your name be for a blessing in due time. A blessing to those who come after. It was well said that those who overcome become the lit path to them that search for hope. Thank you for the stories of inspiration that many of you have shared. To those who are still struggling, find peace in those who have struggled before you and overcome. G-d bless you all!!