You might not know that technically our full name is “Competitive Edge Sports Therapy and Concussion Management.” It’s a bit of a mouthful, so we end up going by Competitive Edge or just “CE” to our inner circle.
BUT we do designate a lot of our time working directly with individuals who have sustained a concussion. Most of these clients fall into two main groups a) Young athletes who are enrolled in our concussion management program with their sports team and b) Adults who have sustained a concussion either from a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, etc.
So for the sake of concussion awareness and management, we have compiled our best pieces of advice to help you recover from your concussion as quickly and safely as possible!
We are hoping that this isn’t news to you and that either your Athletic Therapist, doctor or other health care provider who has evaluated you has given you this guidance already. Physical and Mental rest is a MUST for allowing your brain to heal. On the physical side, you shouldn’t be doing anything that gets your heart rate up. So this means no sports, work-outs, long strenuous walks, etc. Just take it easy (especially at first!). Mental rest means avoiding things that take a lot of mental energy; this may be work or school, reading, etc. Focus on gentle, restful activities that will allow you to recover.
Your body will tell you what is too much for you. When you notice symptoms coming on or worsening, that is your brain saying “Woah, that’s more than I can handle right now!” and that should be your cue to back off. Go lay down in a quiet and/or dark room and rest until your symptoms return to a more manageable level.
If you pay attention to your symptoms, you will start to notice your triggers and can better avoid things that are going to make you worse. Every person, every brain, and every concussion is different. Triggers for you might be bright lights, loud noises, social interaction, screens, visual tracking, mental stimulation, etc. Figure out what your triggers are and do your best to avoid them.
If your injury was your ankle and you were to run on it and cause pain and swelling, you would, of course, understand when that evening and the next day it felt substantially worse, and it took you longer to recover. It’s the same thing with a brain injury!
Anything that is strenuous on the body is also strenuous on the brain. Meaning, if your eyes are straining and/or tired from looking at a TV, phone, tablet, or computer, then more stress and strain is on your brain as well. Limit your use of screens as much as you possibly can while you recover from your concussion.
We know it can be boring to lay in a dark, quiet room and do nothing but rest. And moments like that are precisely when you are tempted to go out and do things you shouldn’t do (meaning potentially leading to a flare-up, an increase in symptoms and prolonging your recovery!). Find ways to occupy your time without increasing your symptoms. For example things like listening to podcasts/ comedy / music quietly, quiet socializing, crafts, cooking or baking, simple puzzles or games, etc usually feel fine for most individuals.
Remember that starting to feel better doesn’t necessarily mean you are better. Feeling ok while laying in a dark room is very different than feeling ok while going about your day to day activities. Slowly add in a little mental stimulation in small increments. Remember that a spike in symptoms doesn’t always happen immediately and can take 24-36 hours to come on. So try a little bit one day and wait to see how it makes you feel. If you are still feeling good, do a little more the next day.
And if your symptoms don’t seem to be improving with rest alone, remember that there is more that can be done! Book in for an Athletic Therapy appointment for us to provide concussion treatment to aid your recovery. We will evaluate you and determine if anything is delaying the healing process. We will asses your vision, balance, head, neck, jaw and spine and provide hands on manual treatment as well as guidance on what to do or not do from home and exercises that can speed up your recovery. Give us a call to discuss how we can help!
Looking for help with your injury, ache or pain? The experts at Competitive Edge Sport Therapy can help! We can identify and resolve the root cause of your complaint and pain. Contact us today, at (403) 252-6222 | [email protected]