20 Jul 7 Tips for Concussion Recovery
Last week, we discussed what really happens during a concussion and lightly touched on the recovery process. Since we’re on the topic, let’s dive more into the post-concussion days, providing more information on what’s best for one’s speedy recovery.
First, keep in mind that the concussion is actually the most common type of mild brain injury, and in most cases, people make full recoveries. The time and effort it takes to recover, however, varies person to person, so it’s important to prioritize the practices that will expedite your healing.
A concussion is a brain injury that’s caused by a fall, a direct hit to the head, or a jerk to the body that causes the brain to hit the skull. Surrounded by a special liquid known as cerebrospinal fluid, the brain floats safely, and is normally protected from shock and daily activity. However, sudden movements on the head or body can cause the brain to violently dash against the skull.
When this happens, it can cause shock the brain and lead to blackouts, disorientation, and dizziness.
The symptoms of a concussion may not show right away. In fact, you may not even see symptoms for up to 48 hours after a suspected concussion. If you’ve taken a hit or in some way hit your brain against your skull, here are the symptoms to look out for:
- Amnesia or loss of memory (generally this is a short term memory loss where you don’t remember exactly what happened immediately surrounding the concussion-causing event)
- Asking the same question over and over (or, less common, repeating the same words or phrases)
- Difficulty with balance
- Difficulty with concentration
- Double vision
- Lack of coordination
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Slow response time
- Trouble sleeping
Experiencing one or more of these symptoms can indicate a possible concussion. You won’t know for sure unless you get checked out by a specialized doctor, like the ones at Cerebrum Health Centers. So, if you suspect a concussion, make sure you seek medical attention.
Road to Recovery
Tips for Concussion Recovery
One of the last things you want to do is to put your life on hold and “take it easy.” What does that even mean, anyway? Are you really supposed to sit down and zone out?
Yes. That’s exactly the idea.
When recovering from a concussion, you should definitely slow down on physical activities. Spend a lot of your time doing nothing. While you may not be engaging in physical activity, your brain is hard at work, repairing itself.
To aid in that, get plenty of sleep. That means devote yourself to a full night of sleep and take plenty of naps, too. Sleep helps you shut down the rest of your body so your brain can get to work repairing itself.
But, be cautious — you don’t want to fall asleep immediately following a concussion. You’ll need to seek medical help first. Be sure to ask your doctor when you’ll be able to sleep normally.
Thinking is actually a physical activity. It requires a lot of neurological activity inside of your brain. When your brain is trying to recover from a mild traumatic injury, you definitely don’t want to put more strain on it by thinking about complex topics.
Avoid concentrating too heavily on anything, including work or study.
After you’ve suffered a concussion, don’t worry about your caloric intake. Now’s not the time to starve your body. You need all the nutrients you can get. Remember that you’re in recovery mode. Your body will use those extra nutrients to repair and replenish itself.
But since you’re in recovery mode, remember not to cook. Cooking requires mental processing. You shouldn’t do anything that forces you to exert mental energy. Ask friends or family to cook for you.
Here are the best foods to eat when recovering from a concussion:
- Lean Meats
As a side note, avoid alcohol when recovering from a concussion. Concussions can lower your alcohol tolerance. Plus, alcohol can also slow down your recovery.
You may not be able to do everything that you did before your concussion— at least not immediately. It takes time to recover from a concussion.
Like I said last week, be patient with yourself. For the time being, your brain won’t function as quick as possible. You may have a hard time with your memory, or trouble focusing. Having a concussion can even make you more emotional. You may experience increased irritability or sadness. Remember, it’s part of the recovering process and it will get better.
Take Medications Responsibly
For a headache, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen. But you don’t want to take matters into your own hands. In fact, certain medications can make your concussion worse, leading to bleeding in the brain. To be on the safe side, you’ll need to discuss the right treatment with your doctor first.
Ease Into Your Normal Activities
You don’t want to jump back into your normal routines, especially if “normal” requires a lot of physical or mental activities. Take it slow and give yourself plenty of rest in between activities. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself beyond what feels right, even if you could work much harder before your concussion.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Concussion?
There’s no overarching answer here. You can recover from a concussion in as little as 24 hours or you can spend weeks reeling from the effects. Most people recover from concussion symptoms within three weeks.
Even though you can’t see your injury, it still exists — and you still need care. You can’t do everything you could do pre-injury just yet, but eventually, you’ll bounce back. Remember that the sooner you rest, the sooner you’ll recover.