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A head to head with concussion

After a concussion, there are various questions that will come to your mind. Here’s some answers for you to help validate that your symptoms are normal and that you are doing the right thing to help yourself heal well. 

What to expect 

  • The average recovery for adults is 2 weeks and for children is 3-4 weeks. 20-30% of individuals will have symptoms longer than the average. 

What are the normal symptoms after a concussion? 

  • You may experience headache, dizziness, cognitive problems, mental health problems, fatigue, sleep disturbances and decrease alcohol tolerance.

What is the 1st step after a concussion 

  • Get some rest: Limit your physical, mental, and emotional stress for at least 48 hours but up to 10 days. 

  • Plan a visit to a health professional to complete your baseline assessment.

When should I see a health professional?

  • The 1st assessment should be performed in the 1st week after your concussion. 

Which health professional should I see?

  • The initial assessment can be performed by a physician, a physical therapist, or any other health professional with an expertise in the concussion assessment and management. 

  • For pain, muscle tension, headache you can see anyone from a physical therapist, a massage therapist, an osteopath, a chiro. 

  • For persistent symptoms, your health professional can refer you to a multidisciplinary team.

What should I do if 

I have Dizziness 

  • The 1st step is to allow your health professional to know about your symptoms. An assessment can be done to identify the cause. As it can be cause by your vestibular system (ear), your neck, your brain or even by sleep disturbance, blood pressure and medications.

  • Some exercises, manual therapy treatment, medication can then be given to you. In the meantime, avoid any triggering factors.

If I have headache

  • Seek for help with a health profession that can either prescribe you the right medication or perform manual therapy.

  • Apply heat around your neck and then self-massage your scalp and neck. 

  • Avoid any triggering factors.

I have sleep disturbances  

  • Allow yourself to keep a routine: Go to bed at the same hours. 

  • Allow yourself the amount of sleep that you need. Your sleep pattern may evolve over time. 

  • Limit your caffeine consummation and avoid alcohol

Should I drive? 

  • If you have any form of visual disturbance, dizziness, cognitive problems, nausea or any medication with contra-indication for driving, you should avoid driving a vehicle.

When should I exercise or work?   

  • Once you took a 48 hours of rest AND your symptoms have subsided you can progressively expose yourself to gradual screen time, low intensity exercises or social activity.  

  • If your symptoms worsen during the activity or the task, stop and wait 24 hours before assessing a lighter intensity activity.

What can you do to help?

  • Do not perform any activity that makes your symptoms worse.

  • Take actions to control your stress level and continue to eat healthy and hydrate yourself well.

Do I need to stay in a dark room with my eyes closed? 

  • It is a myth. Initially your brain needs some rest, however complete rest, such as lying in a dark room and avoiding all stimuli, does not help recovery and is not recommended.

If you have more questions about your post-concussion symptoms assessment and management, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

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