How to Maximise Your Recovery from a Concussion
The do's and don't for physical activity.
- Treat initially with brain rest. Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid reading, watching television, texting, using a computer, playing video games, social activities, going out to busy places, attending work or school, household chores, playing musical instruments, or exercising.
- A concussed brain needs energy in order to heal; it also uses more energy to perform simple tasks. Both of these factors can contribute to the fatigue after a concussion.
- When you are in the resting period, this doesn’t mean that you have to do nothing at all, there are still activities that you can do that don’t tax your brain too much.
- Activities that you can do include audiobooks, meditation/ relaxation exercises, radio/podcasts, listening to television, easy walking and simple crafts or baking.
Gas Guzzling Activities:
- These are activities that might make your symptoms worse:
- Talking–usingthephone, being in crowded environments or focusing while others are talking.
- Visually stimulating environments/activities–bright lights, colors, movement (basically a trip to Wal-Mart).
- Driving–particularlywhenit is raining or snowing, on busy roads, or even as a passenger.
- Any activity that requires ‘filtering’–any noise in the background can; it takes a lot of energy to perform filtering tasks.
- Cognitive tasks (increased attention and processing)–reading, puzzles etc.
- Physical activity–simplephysicaltasks may be exhausting. Avoid elevating your heart rate to prevent bringing on aggravating symptoms.
Returning to activity:
- You can begin to start some type of activity within 2-7 days.
- There should be a graduated return to cognitive and physical activity; this is where your physiotherapist will guide you.
- Your brain will use more energy to complete everyday tasks than it did before the concussion. This is one of the reasons that you feel more tired than usual.
Pacing Activity: “Have a Green Day”
- Make a note of the activities that increase your symptoms.
- Plan ahead to structure your days.
- Minimise ‘on the spot’ decision making.
- Pace your activities so you are not doing too many of the things that aggravate your symptoms.
- Plan changes in the task–alternate between visual, cognitive and vestibular tasks, or low-intensity exercise.
- Use a timer to keep you on track. Return to Physical Activity:
- Your return to physical activity needs to be carefully managed; returning to physical activity too soon could set you back in your recovery, or even worse could lead to another concussion injury and potentially
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