The concussed brain requires time to heal and that healing cannot be rushed.
Correct initial management can have a positive influence on the long-term clinical course of the person with a concussion. Just as every person is unique, no two concussions are exactly alike. Every person deserves individualized management but the same basic principles apply to all patients. Good hydration and nutrition should be maintained and a sleep schedule as close as possible to the a person’s usual hours of sleep should be adhered to; after the first 24-48 hours after the injury daytime napping should be kept to a minimum.
ALL patients require some period of physical rest but prolonged rest can do more harm than good. After the first 48 hours after the injury, the patient can engage in gentle, non-risky physical activity such as walking or gentle recreational swimming, as long as the activity does not not worsen any symptoms such as headache or head “pressure”. Prevention of physical deconditioning is a priority in concussion management.
As many persons with a concussion have difficulty with cognitive demands and those demands may worsen symptoms, reduction in mental demands are often helpful. A student may require temporary reduction in academic demands and environmental modifications for light and sound sensitivity.
For a patient handout that contains more information about steps to be taken after concussion, please click here.