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elvis presley, head injuries, chronic pain, and autoimmunity


Elvis Presley Head Brain Injury

Toru Watanabe

At the time, the public issue and controversy was centering on Elvis’ drug use, and whether he died of a heart attack or drug overdose. There was little interest in his underlying medical problems, pain, or why he died at the relatively young age of 42.  

Progress in modern pain management finally has provided us with enough scientific knowledge about traumatic brain injury (TBI), autoimmune disease, and pain to unravel his medical history. After piecing the evidence together, it is quite clear to me that Elvis’ major disabling medical problems stemmed from multiple head injuries that led to an autoimmune inflammatory disorder with subsequent central pain.  

Much to his credit, Dr. Nick gave Elvis the diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome, and believed his headaches were a result of his head injury of 1967.  Dr. Nick related to me that, “Elvis was never the same after he hit his head in 1967.”  Cherry-picked quotes from Dr. Tennant’s article below.

I was born in 1967 — the year that Elvis K.O.’d himself on the edge of a porcelain bathtub.  Fast forward 46 years.  Dr. Forrest Tennant publishes an amazing article for the June, 2013 issue of Practical Pain Management called, “ELVIS PRESLEY: HEAD TRAUMA, AUTOIMMUNITY, PAIN, AND EARLY DEATHBy the way, Elvis died 36 years ago tomorrow.

If you have had major concussions, head injuries (TBI), or WHIPLASH INJURIES; or if you have CHRONIC PAIN or a history of AUTOIMMUNITY (HERE is a short list of Autoimmune Diseases); or if you are simply intrigued by Elvis’ early death, I would strongly suggest that you take a few minutes and read this incredibly fascinating and informative article about the death of the “King of Rock-n-Roll“.


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