In the news, it’s common to hear scary things about concussions. But here’s some good news: Most concussions heal in 7-10 days. And those who don’t heal in that time frame still can make excellent progress, but they may need some guidance to help the recovery go more smoothly.
Research shows there are some key things to do after a concussion. The first is giving your body immediate rest. If you are in the middle of playing a sport, and you or your coach suspects you received a concussion, it’s vital that you stop playing immediately and take time to rest. If you are at work, alert your supervisor and take some down time. That allows the metabolic processes in the brain that are altered during a concussion to begin to return to normal. It also ensures that you won’t get a second concussion while your body is trying to recover from the first one – aka “second impact syndrome” – which can be very dangerous.
The second thing to do is see a concussion specialist right away. At NDBC, we have a team of medical and therapy staff dedicated to helping people recover from concussions. They perform audiology and balance testing to see if the vestibular system is affected, screen for neck injuries, and perform neurocognitive testing. Our team of PTs and OTs is trained to help guide patients back to health and prior activity level in a safe, effective manner. They and the medical team can provide guidance on when to return to your sport or work, and what activities to do in the meantime to help you feel better faster.
Things we commonly work on with concussion patients include headache management; vestibular (inner ear) therapy and balance retraining; multitasking and reaction times; exertional activities to get the heart rate up safely; vision therapy; cognitive therapy; neck stretches, strengthening and manual therapy, such as massage. Our goal is to use these tools to help you successfully return to your prior activity level.