Steps to Take After a Concussion
There are varying myths about how to care for your self and your brain after you have suffered a concussion. Most patients don’t realize the seriousness of an indirect or direct hit to the body or head causing even a mild concussion. Keep in mind that not all concussions are caused by sports injuries. A simple fall or car accident can cause a concussion too. Whether mild or severe, all concussions are complex injuries that can have extensive consequences if not managed properly right away. Getting care during the first 7-10 days is critical to a successful recovery. Fortunately there is concussion treatment in San Diego, CA.
Immediately Following the Incident
Not sure what to do after an accident? Follow these helpful steps:
- Stay awake for 2 to 3 hours after the incident. Make sure someone is with you to monitor you.
- Do not drive or be left alone.
- Sleep in 2-3 hour increments.
- Someone should repeatedly ask you simple questions to make sure a more serious brain injury hasn’t occurred.
Go to the Emergency Room if You Experience the Following:
Rapid deterioration of symptoms
Severe headache that came on quickly
Inability to be woken up
Rest Your Brain for a Quicker Recovery
A concussion is like any other injury. If you had a sprained ankle or a broken arm, you could physically see the injury and you would rest. A concussion is basically a bruised brain. Although you can’t physically see the injury, you should still rest. In fact, you should rest as much as possible.
How do you rest your brain?
Take a leave of absence from work and school. Also, avoid all physical or mental activities even if you are asymptomatic. Remember, the first 30-days are the most critical after a concussion. With that, it is crucial that during the first 10 days you avoid any activity that could put you at further physical risk. Even if you don’t feel any symptoms, the brain is extremely vulnerable after a concussion. Any sudden movements, even small impacts, can cause more severe brain injury. In this situation, your symptoms don’t always match how well you are recovering.
The Recovery Phase
Step 1: First 3-4 Days
Rest completely. No physical or mental activities are recommended. No driving, no computer screens, no phone screens, no physical activity, no work, no reading, no school, no homework. Rest in a room with dim lighting with very little stimulation. When you don’t experience symptoms for at least 24 hours, you can graduate to Step 2.
Step 2: After 4-5 days
If you are still symptomatic with complete rest, tell your Upper Cervical chiropractor right away. Underlying neck injuries may need to be addressed. Treating your neck injury will be just as important in your recovery. After all, it is impossible to have a head injury without a neck injury. You need to be monitored closely in the begin. Only light cognitive activity is recommended. During this step, you should be resting for the majority of the day.
You can try to do homework or read a book for a maximum of 30-45 minutes. If symptoms recur when you do this, go back go back to step 1 for a full day.
Discontinue all cognitive activity after 30-45 minutes even if symptoms did not recur. Proceed to step 3 the following day.
During this step, you can try to go to school or work for half a day. No driving, no exams, no recess, no homework, no gym, no manual labor.
If you experience symptoms while or after school or work, return to Step 2 for the following 24 hours. If you don’t experience symptoms, move on to Step 4.
Go to school or work for a full day but avoid the above mentioned restrictions. If any symptoms occur, return to Step 3. If you don’t experience symptoms, move on to Step 5.
Allow yourself plenty of breaks throughout the day with approximately 50-70% of your normal workload. Still no tests, deep thinking, note taking, crowds, loud noises, overstimulating environments or sudden movements.
Little by little, begin to decrease the number of restrictions and prepare for a full return to school or work as tolerated. We recommend you remove one restriction every 24-hours, as long as you continue to be asymptomatic. If you experience symptoms, cut back, do less, rest more.
Return to school or work with no limitations. You are now allowed to drive. Physical activity should be kept to very light walking or very gentle range of motion stretches. Do not push yourself. Give yourself time to fully integrate back to your normal daily activities. It is super important that you have an upper cervical chiropractor on your health team to avoid post-concussion syndrome.
Feel free to call us with questions or to schedule a complimentary consultation at (619) 313-5403.
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