Physical and mental rest – In the first few days after a concussion, relative rest is the most appropriate way to allow your brain to recover. Your doctor will recommend that you physically and mentally rest to recover from a concussion. Relative rest, which includes limiting activities that require thinking and mental concentration, is recommended for the first two days after a concussion.
However, complete rest, such as lying in a dark room and avoiding all stimuli, does not help recovery and is not recommended. In the first 48 hours, you should overall limit activities that require high mental concentration — such as playing video games, watching TV, doing schoolwork, reading, texting or using a computer — if these activities cause your symptoms to worsen.
You also should avoid physical activities that increase any of your symptoms, such as general physical exertion, sports or any vigorous movements, until these activities no longer provoke your symptoms. After a period of relative rest, it’s recommended that you gradually increase daily activities such as screen time if you can tolerate them without triggering symptoms.
- You can start both physical and mental activities at levels that do not cause a major worsening of symptoms.
- Light exercise and physical activity as tolerated starting a few days after injury have been shown to speed recovery; however, you should avoid any activities that have a high risk of exposure to another head impact until you are fully recovered.
Your doctor may recommend that you have shortened school days or workdays, take breaks during the day, or have modified or reduced school workloads or work assignments as you recover from a concussion. Your doctor may recommend different therapies as well, such as rehabilitation for vision, rehabilitation for balance problems, or cognitive rehabilitation for problems with thinking and memory.
How do you immediately treat a concussion?
When to seek medical help – Concussion should only be diagnosed by a health professional trained in assessing patients with head injury. They will be able to rule out serious brain injury that needs a brain scan or surgery. You should visit your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department if you or someone in your care has a head injury and develops the following signs and symptoms:
- loss of consciousness, however brief
- memory loss, such as not being able to remember what happened before or after the injury
- persistent headaches since the injury
- changes in behaviour, such as irritability, being easily distracted or having no interest in the outside world – this is a particularly common sign in children under five
- drowsiness that occurs when you would normally be awake
- loss of balance or problems walking
- difficulties with understanding what people say
- difficulty speaking, such as slurred speech
- problems with reading or writing
- vomiting since the injury
- problems with vision, such as double vision
- loss of power in part of the body, such as weakness in an arm or leg
- clear fluid leaving the nose or ears (this could be cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds the brain)
- sudden deafness in one or both ears
- any wound to the head or face
Anyone drunk or high on recreational drugs should go to A&E if they have a head injury as it’s easy for others around them to miss the signs of a more severe injury. Phone 999 for an ambulance immediately if the person:
- remains unconscious after the initial injury
- is having a seizure or fit
- is bleeding from one or both ears
- has been vomiting since the injury
- is having difficulty staying awake, speaking, or understanding what people are saying
Certain things make you more vulnerable to the effects of a head injury. These include:
- being aged 65 or older
- having previously had brain surgery
- having a condition that makes you bleed more easily, such as haemophilia
- having a condition that makes your blood more prone to clotting, such as thrombophilia
- taking anticoagulant medication, such as warfarin or aspirin, to prevent blood clots
There are things you can do at home to help relieve concussion symptoms, including:
- apply a cold compress to the injury to reduce swelling – a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel will do
- take paracetamol to control any pain – do not use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, as these can cause bleeding
- avoid drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs
Read more about how concussion is treated, including information on self care tips and when you can return to playing sport.
How long does a concussion last?
Concussion recovery and treatment – Approximately 80 percent of concussions resolve over seven to 14 days, with an average of 10 days. People with concussions should never return to sports or other physical activity sooner than one week from sustaining the injury.
A concussed patient’s recovery has two and sometimes three phases depending on the severity of the concussion: Acute phase is the initial period after sustaining a concussion in which the patient is still experiencing symptoms. This phase can last a week or more. During the acute phase, the concussed brain requires mental and physical rest to recover from the injury.
Absence from school or half-day attendance may be recommended because academic work demands focus, memory, and concentration – all brain processes that are affected by a concussion. Decreasing the amount of activity in the brain through absence from school and schoolwork (and therefore achieving mental rest) will help decrease symptoms and begin the healing process.
People who have had a concussion should avoid texting, computer use, video games, television, driving, loud music and music through headphones because all of these activities make the brain work harder to process information and can exacerbate symptoms and slow the recovery process. Additionally, people with concussions may not participate in any physical activity until cleared by a health care provider, including gym class, weightlifting and sports activities due to the risk of second impact syndrome.
This potentially life-threatening event may result from a second, often minor, blow to the head suffered before recovery from the initial injury has occurred. Ultimately, the key to a speedy recovery is both physical and mental rest. The patient may take pain medicine as prescribed, and use an icepack on the head and neck for comfort.
They may also sleep or rest. Recovery phase occurs once the patient feels physical improvement, such as headaches subsiding, and postconcussion neurocognitive test scores have improved. During this phase, the patient can gradually return to academic and athletic activity as directed by a health care provider.
However, academic accommodations may be required during the recovery phase because the concussion may still affect thinking, attention, focus, memory, learning speed and mental processing. Chronic phase occurs in some cases when the patient may experience more long-lasting (chronic) problems with cognitive function.
- This may require consideration of a 504 plan, home schooling or a medical leave of absence.
- If unmanaged, these problems have the potential to significantly impact the patient’s life as a whole.
- Patients who are in the chronic phase of a concussion will be referred to one of our neuro rehab specialists who will treat the chronic symptoms.
No two concussions are exactly the same, so individualized treatment is necessary. Developing brains are highly variable, so the symptoms experienced by one person may be completely different from another. Some patients will take longer to recover from a concussion for various reasons.
Do hot showers help concussions?
What you can do – Since the effects of a concussion go away over time, there isn’t a lot you need to do. Be assured that this problem is temporary. You’ll likely have a full recovery. In the meantime, talk with your healthcare provider about ways to relieve any symptoms that are bothering you. These tips may help:
Don’t return to sports or any activity that could cause you to hit your head until all symptoms are gone and you have been cleared by your doctor. A second head injury before fully recovering from the first one can lead to serious brain injury. Return to normal activities of daily living and normal social interaction is encouraged to speed recovery. Stress can make symptoms worse. Help calm yourself by resting in a quiet place and imagining a peaceful scene. Relax your muscles by soaking in a hot bath or taking a hot shower. Take over-the-counter acetaminophen to relieve headache pain. Take them as directed on the package. Don’t take ibuprofen or aspirin after a head injury. If you become dizzy, sit or lie down in a safe place until the sensation passes. Don’t drive when you feel dizzy or disoriented. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try to keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Avoid or limit caffeine and nicotine. Also don’t drink alcohol. It may help you sleep at first, but your sleep will not be restful. Give yourself time to heal. Your recovery will take some time. When you have symptoms, remember that you won’t feel this way forever. In time the symptoms will go away and you’ll be back to yourself.
The effects of a concussion often go away in 7 to 10 days and the vast majority of people who have had a concussion have recovered after 3 months. If you’re not feeling better as time passes, there may be something else going on. If your symptoms don’t go away or you notice new ones, talk with your healthcare provider. He or she can help you get the treatment you need. : Coping with Concussion
Will concussion heal itself?
– Most concussions resolve on their own without any lasting effects. However, some concussions can accompany a more serious injury that requires treatment. Seek emergency treatment if you notice any of the following after a concussion:
sudden, intense headachesdifficulty talking or finding the right wordstingling or numbness difficulty swallowing lethargyunusual sense of tasteloss of consciousnessseizures weakness in the arm or legincreased heart ratedouble visionloss of balance paralysis in any part of the body, including only one side of the face
To be safe, it’s best to talk to a doctor after sustaining any type of head injury. If it’s serious, your chances of making a full recovery are much better if you seek early treatment.
Can you recover from a concussion without a doctor?
What’s a Concussion? – If you get a concussion, it means that you’ve injured your brain and you need to give it time to get better. That usually means rest. It also means following a doctor’s advice on the things you can — and can’t — do as you heal. All body parts take time to heal, even brains.
Should I go to the hospital for a concussion?
When to Visit the Emergency Room – Anyone who has just sustained an impact to the head should immediately seek emergency medical care by calling 911 or visiting an emergency room if they experience any of the following symptoms:
Loss of consciousness Inability to recognize people or places Trouble with balance or walking Repeated episodes of vomiting or nausea A worsening headache Sudden change in vision Unusual behavior or confusion Slurred speech or trouble speaking Difficulty falling asleep or waking up Uncontrollable drowsiness at inappropriate times Any seizure activity – uncontrollable shaking of the arms and/or legs Numbness or weakness of the arms and/or legs Thoughts of hurting yourself or others
Also, a person who sustains an impact to the head at a high speed – for example, in a car accident or as a result of a steep fall – should seek immediate medical attention regardless of their symptoms. Dr. Bailey cautions that the signs and symptoms of a concussion may not be immediately obvious.
Discharge of clear fluid or blood from the nose or ears Signs of disorientation or memory loss
Very few cases of concussion (4% to 6%) are associated with any observable changes to the brain that a doctor can see using common neuroimaging technologies such as computerized axial tomography (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imagery (MRI). Symptoms are instead related to changes in brain function rather than any large-scale changes in brain structure that are detectable using neuroimaging.
What is the 3 concussion rule?
When to Quit Contact Sports Due to Concussion When is a hit to the head one too many? For sports fans, athletes, coaches and parents, this question regarding the consequences of possible brain damage from mild brain injury is becoming a daily debate.
- Wide receiver Wes Welker has sustained three reported concussions in the last nine months, but he’s staying in the sport.
- Catcher Alex Avila says his three concussions this season won’t prevent him from continuing to play.
- Yet David Ash, former football standout at Texas, and Casey Cochran of Connecticut, both gave up their NFL hopes due to concussion.
Thousands of former NFL and NHL players are suing their respective leagues because of potential brain damage sustained during their tenure in the game. Yet, hundreds more are still playing. There are two sides of the coin: One side says it’s just a part of the game.
- The younger the athlete, the more vulnerable the brain is to concussion, requiring longer recovery periods. The brain continues developing through the age of 25. Therefore, concussions in our youth and collegiate athletes can result in greater damage and potential risk to cognitive impairment.
- A concussed athlete is more likely to sustain a repeat concussion, with the greatest risk in the first seven days.
- Sustaining a repeat concussion before recovering completely from a concussion is associated with a risk for Second Impact Syndrome. This condition of acute cerebral swelling is fatal in 50 percent of sufferers and associated with serious long term neurological deficits in 100 percent of the survivors. Fortunately, this condition is rare and preventable with proper concussion protocols.
- Repeat concussions are slower to recover.
- Athletes who have sustained three or more concussions are more likely to have long-term cognitive impairment and emotional struggles.
- Concussions can accelerate the onset of and an Alzheimer’s disease-like condition known as,
- People with a history of are more vulnerable to concussion injury.
- Females are more vulnerable to concussion injury than males.
When the brain meets enough force to cause it to bump against the inside of the skull, a variety of short-term symptoms can arise. And unfortunately, long-term and dangerous consequences can develop as well. A concussion, considered to be a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), can either: Heal quickly (about half recover within 10 days, over 90 percent within 30 days); or be the starting point of future problems; as well as complicate existing brain-health issues that accelerate the onset of more serious conditions, neurological disorders, and other brain drama.
- Recently, there has been increasing concern about repetitive “sub-concussive” hits.
- These hits to the head are strong enough to be considered “abnormal” in the sense that they exceed the forces that occur during normal activity during sport.
- Through review of scientific study of accelerometer data, the Sports Legacy Institute has adopted 20G or more force as the threshold for such a hit.
The main concern is that although each of these hits are not in and of themselves associated with symptoms of concussion injury, over time they may cumulatively contribute to sustained brain injury. Further studies will be needed to define how many and over what period of time these sub-concussive hits are associated with neurological consequences.
- Other than dying or paralysis from complications suffered from brain trauma, the most serious concussion repercussion is a decrease in overall quality of life due to a variety of cognitive and emotional impairments that may develop as the post-concussion syndrome.
- Loss, span, poor are warning signs of brain-related trouble.
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from disorders of the brain or, which is a pretty good-sized chunk of the 317 million population. Some brain disorders are influenced by, some are environmental, others from spinal cord or brain injury, and some result from a combination of any or all of these factors.
- When you play a contact sport, you may be trading cognitive function for the thrill of the game, playing Russian Roulette with your future.
- From a medical perspective, playing contact sports is not a healthy or risk.
- Although I enjoy sport and realize there are many benefits from the game and being on a team, I caution you with the following conditions that can result if the gamble goes wrong.
In my practice, I avoid using “labels” for various conditions, preferring to understand the physiological issue causing the symptoms. Nevertheless, I’ve grouped a number of cognitive and emotional impairments that may occur should a concussion, or repeated sub-concussive hits lead to degenerative brain or neurological damage (in alphabetical order):
- Attention problems
- Behavioral problems
- Brain fog
- Chronic fatigue
- Language and speech difficulties
- Memory and learning problems
- Movement disorders
- Sleep disturbances
So when should an athlete call it quits? It’s a very personal issue and one that should be made along with a healthcare provider who has gathered necessary information to evaluate the risk-versus-benefit scenario. Then, with “informed consent,” the decision can be made.
The primary litmus test is determining if there is evidence of experiencing persistent or progressive concussion symptoms over time, which demonstrates possible progressive cognitive impairment. These symptoms can include ongoing headaches, mood and sleep abnormalities, memory loss, brain fog, sensitivity to light and sound as well as attention deficits.
If any of these are persistent or progressive, additional investigation would be recommended. The number of concussions an athlete suffers starts to play a role in the decision making when considering from the sport. Three concussions carry with them a higher risk of long term neuro-cognitive deficit.
More importantly, there is heightened concern if these repeat concussions display a progressive pattern, such as worse symptoms or prolonged recovery with each successive concussion. Often in these cases there is also a pattern of less force of collision resulting in each concussion. These issues increase the player’s risk for long term neurological consequences in continuing to play.
The decision to continue to play the game after repeated concussions is a risk-benefit analysis. The risks of long-term brain dysfunction must be weighed against the benefits of the sport including the physical, psychological and potential monetary (professional) gains associated with participation.
- Has your sports team has implemented a concussion management protocol, such as to provide appropriate, baseline measurements, sideline assessments and return-to-play guidelines to minimize the risk of future concussions?
- Are you familiar with established guidelines such as those provided by the American Academy of Neurology, the American Association of Sports Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Athletic Trainers Association, to help guide athletes in prevention and care of concussion injury in sports?
- The sooner we can start tracking “Hit Counts,” the better. With new accelerometer technology, we can add a device to helmets to count and measure the severity of hits taken to the head. Then, after every game, month, or season, we can review the number of possible sub-concussive hits to help measure the risk moving forward. The concept of the “Hit Count” is similar to the concept of the Pitch Count in baseball. Exposure to sub-concussive hits is limited by pulling the athlete from practice and gameplay when the Hit Count threshold is reached.
The real challenge with this topic is being able to look at the long-term implications as compared to the short-term opportunities. Ultimately, more research is needed to provide clear guidelines. But in the meantime, you can either read my advice now or see me as a patient later. Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today.
: When to Quit Contact Sports Due to Concussion
What should you not do with a concussion?
5 steps to take after a concussion – Follow these tips to start the healing process after a concussion:
- Identify and avoid triggers. Any activity that produces or increases symptoms is considered a trigger. It’s important for you to know what aggravates your symptoms to help recovery. For example, if bright lights are bothering you more than they have in the past, control that brightness by turning down the light, wear sunglasses or use a brimmed hat such as a baseball cap.
- Get some sleep. Our brain recovers during sleep. Sleep is even more important when recovering from a concussion. Dr. Figler says it’s common to feel more exhausted from daily activities such as school or homework while recovering from a concussion. If needed, take short naps (30 to 60 minutes) when tired. But try not to take so many that they interfere with your ability to sleep later on at night. Minimize any distractions, such as TV or phones, while trying to fall asleep.
- Rest your brain. Over stimulating your brain after a head injury will not allow it to rest and recover. Using your brain to think hard, read, study or try to learn new material may be very difficult and may aggravate your condition. Processing new information can be harder for anyone who is concussed. If you have work or studying to do, spread it out and take frequent breaks. Students should talk to teachers about adjusting assignments while they recover.
- Rest your body. While recovering, avoid doing anything that significantly increases your heart rate unless you’ve been cleared by a physician. Light activity, such as walking or riding a stationary bike, may actually help in your recovery, as long as it doesn’t worsen the symptoms.
- Be smart. Rest and recover. Returning to sports or other activities too soon after a concussion can worsen symptoms and keep you off the court or field longer.
What is the best medication for concussion?
Management During the Acute Symptomatic Phase – During the first 24 hours you should avoid medications that can increase risk of bleeding. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen sodium (Naprosyn, Aleve). During the first 24 hours acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used for pain relief.
After the first 24 hours, ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Naprosyn, Aleve) are generally more effective for pain relief, and are safe. In some patients, nausea and vomiting can be bothersome, and prescription medications can help. Restful sleep is important in all stages of recovery from concussion.
If getting to sleep or staying asleep is difficult, discuss this with your doctor for further recommendations. Sleep behavior techniques may be helpful as is the use of certain medications. Throughout concussion recovery you should be sure to stay hydrated (60-80 ounces of water or non-caffeinated beverages per day), and eat normally.
Can you watch TV with a concussion?
Limiting screen time for young adults after concussion results in shorter duration of symptoms September 07, 2021 A clinical trial of 125 young adults shows that those who limited screen time for 48 hours immediately after suffering a concussion had a significantly shorter duration of symptoms than those who were permitted screen time. Theodore E. Macnow, MD An estimated 2.5 million people go to the emergency department annually because of concussions. Many of these patients are children aged 10 to 19 years old. In 2017, 15 percent of high schoolers had reported being diagnosed at least once with a concussion.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the International Concussion in Sports Group recommend a period of complete cognitive and physical rest for 24 to 48 hours following a concussion diagnosis. Yet, there are no clear guidelines regarding what constitutes cognitive rest during this period. “It’s one thing parents and children always ask in the emergency department,” said lead author Theodore E.
Macnow, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics. “Is screen time allowed?” The average American teen spends as much as seven hours a day in front of a screen, not including time spent doing schoolwork, and many clinicians caution against screen time following a concussion, said Dr.
Macnow. Other clinicians, however, believe limited screen time, so long as it doesn’t induce symptoms, is permittable as one of the few forms of safe distraction during this time. “We’re still learning how to treat concussions and there are no clear recommendations regarding screen time,” said Macnow.
“Nobody has yet looked at this question in a rigorous way. We wanted to get a better handle on this question, so we conducted a randomized clinical trial.” From June of 2018 to February of 2020, Macnow and colleagues assessed 125 patients age 12 to 25 who presented with a concussion to the Emergency Department at UMass Memorial Medical Center, the clinical partner of UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester.
- Patients were assessed and randomly placed in one of two cohorts.
- The first cohort was instructed to abstain from any electronic screens for 48 hours, while the second group was allowed any form of screen so long as it didn’t induce symptoms.
- Both groups were advised to avoid work and schoolwork for the first 48 hours.
Patients completed a Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS) at the time of diagnosis and every day for the 10-day study. The PCSS is a 22-symptom scale, which grades each symptom from 0 (not present) to 6 (severe) and reliably detects change over time in concussed patients.
- In the absence of a head injury, a baseline score of less than 3 on the PCSS survey is considered normal.
- Additionally, patients completed a screen time survey on days one to three and an activity survey from days four to 10.
- An analysis of the data showed that the group permitted screen time during the initial 48 hours after a concussion experienced a significantly longer time to recover, measured by a PCSS score of less than three.
On average, this group experienced a median time of eight days until symptom resolution compared to 3.5 days for the group that abstained from screen time. During this time, the cohort permitted screen time logged a median of 630 minutes over the 48-hour period while the cohort abstaining from screen time logged a median of 130 minutes.
These findings support the conclusion that brief screen time abstinence following a concussion is associated with a faster recovery,” said Macnow. “Given this data, preliminary clinical recommendations should be to limit screen time.” Macnow added, “It’s not clear why screen time exacerbated concussion symptoms but there are a lot of reasons to suspect it’s not good.” Macnow said.
It’s possible that electronic photons, which are known to triggers migraines, could play a role. Or that screen use may detract from sleep and resumption of normal activities, both of which are felt to be beneficial to concussion recovery. “These findings suggest that a larger, more diverse, multicenter study is warranted to see if the results are consistent,” said Macnow.