Brain Injury: Concussion Recovery

19121669_mIf you suspect that you may have suffered a concussion, you should seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine immediately after the incident. If can take hours or days for symptoms to develop, and the damage can continue to progress over time, to the point that it is fatal. If you have been diagnosed with concussion, physical and cognitive rest are the key to recovery. Concussion recovery is different for everyone and you should go at your own pace.

Mental as well as Physical Rest

For the first three to five days, you should take a break from all cognitive and physical activity. The physical rest is usually the easy part. Taking a break from cognitive activities means no school or studying, no computer, smartphone, or video games, and minimizing more passive mental tasks such as watching television.

You should avoid physical activity such as exercise, housework, and yard work.

Resume Activities Gradually

When you feel ready to return to your normal activities, do it gradually. Start with light physical activity, and limit your mental task to short periods of time. If you experience symptoms such as headaches, irritability, dizziness, or fatigue, you’re overdoing it and it’s time to take a break. If your symptoms are severe or mild symptoms persist or get worse when you rest, talk to your doctor right away. Your brain injury may be worse than originally believed.

Avoiding Further Injury

You should avoid any activities that can cause re-injury, until your symptoms have subsided completely. This includes sports, especially contact sports, activities such as riding rides at amusement parks or carnivals, and bicycling for recreation or transportation.

Get the all-clear from your doctor before driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery. Your reaction time and coordination may not be up to par yet.

For more information on head injuries, please refer to our Head Injuries Guide.


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