Everything You Should Know About Concussion Recovery
The brain is the command center of the body—and this is why any head injury is considered ultra-serious, especially concussions. A concussion involves the movement of your brain within the confines of the skull, resulting in varying degrees of swelling. Unfortunately, this can have detrimental and long-lasting impacts on your brain health and cognitive function.
However, many individuals bounce back after a concussion, as long as they seek out and receive the appropriate treatment. So, what is the best way to manage a concussion? How long can a concussion last exactly? And when can you safely return to sport?
Concussion Management 101
Concussion recovery, ultimately, depends on the severity of your concussion. Typically, concussions are graded in the following way:
- Grade 0: Trouble concentrating and headache
- Grade 1: Trouble concentrating, feeling dazed, and headache
- Grade 2: Grade 1 symptoms, along with confusion, amnesia, irritability, dizziness, and irritability
- Grade 3: Less than a minute of loss of consciousness
- Grade 4: More than a minute of loss of consciousness
For grades 0-1, individuals usually return to their regular activities and sports within a couple of days. For grade 2, a person may require a more lengthy period of rest. For grades 3-4, it could take weeks or longer to make a full recovery.
Usually, this means moving through the following return-to-activity steps and a slow and customised pace:
- Return to limited activities that don’t cause worsening of symptoms.
- Return to light aerobic activity where a person doesn’t exceed any more than 70% of their maximum heart rate.
- Return to sport-related activities.
- Return to non-contact training regimes.
- Return to full contact training.
- Return to gameplay.
For each step above, the person must be symptom-free for 24 hours before moving on to the next step. Throughout recovery, it’s also encouraged for individuals to perform challenging cognitive task after performing their physical work. This can help promote and encourage the production of the brain-neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which may help the brain heal and improve cognitive flexibility.
Additionally, your practitioner or doctor will advise you to perform activities that help manage your stress and anxiety. This can help avoid autonomic nervous system dysfunction and aid in a smoother recovery process.
Your doctor may further recommend:
- Avoiding screens, especially at the beginning of your recovery
- Try to do some normal activities, as tolerated
- Not pushing yourself beyond your limits and not rushing your recovery (This can actually result in various setbacks.)
- Doing everything in your power to avoid getting a second concussion while still healing from the first (A second concussion during concussion recovery can lead to long-term brain damage.)
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs
- Focusing on one task at a time
During the first 24 hours, it’s also a good idea to have someone nearby to look after you if you need any help. Furthermore, with concussions, it’s usually advised to wake the person every four hours to check their condition and reactions.
How Long Does a Concussion Last?
Again, this entirely depends on the severity of your concussion. As mentioned above, a second concussion can hinder your progress and worsen your situation during recovery.
At the same time, about 80% of people experience recovery from a concussion within two weeks. However, this still means you have to take it slow when returning to sports or your regular activities.
Recover Safely & Effectively With Chatfield Chiropractic!
If you have extreme fatigue, inability to recognise other people or places, a high fever, slurred speech, or extreme confusion, seek out emergency care. A head injury should never be taken lightly.
For getting back to your normal activities and returning to sports safely, the Chatfield Chiropractic team is here for you. Book your appointment with our caring and compassionate team today!