Should you rest or exercise for concussions?
The topic of whether you should rest or exercise for concussions is a hot one. Rest used to be the standard of care, but things seem to be changing quickly.
Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injuries that occur in a wide range of sporting activities. Sports concussion, in particular, has been a significant problem for years but has only recently started to come to light. Although most athletes will make a full recovery from a concussion, severe ones can present a wide range of symptoms that not only interfere with sports performance and participation but also with an athlete’s everyday life. Recognizing a concussion, understanding the different signs, and providing personalized treatment is especially important because it can help with the rehabilitation and healing processes.
While CT and MRI scans typically provide doctors with detailed images of the skull and brain, they, however, are not effective form the diagnosis of concussions. A concussion is typically short-lived and, in most cases, people recover within 7 to 10 days but sustaining repeated blows to the head can have long-term consequences, which is why it’s crucial to knowhow to recognize the most common symptoms such as:
- Lethargy and dizziness
- Appearing dazed and memory loss
- Headache and ringing in the ears
- Loss of consciousness
- Balance and coordination problems
- slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of sleep or oversleeping
Exercise for Concussions
The key to healing from a concussion is likely graded exposure to exercise. While complete rest used to be the standard of care current research is indicating that inducing light stimulus is a much better way of dealing with concussions. A new study from the University of Toronto’s Facu
A new study from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education found that participating in low-impact, aerobic activity as early as three to seven days after a concussion diagnosis may contribute to a more favorable recovery trajectory. Contrary to recommendations where concussion management was based on resting until symptoms dissipate, today, studies suggest that prolonged periods of inactivity may have a negative impact on recovery and symptoms may even take longer to resolve.
While it seems like re-introducing exercise soon after a concussion could help reduce the undesired effects of physical and mental deconditioning, more research is required in order to fully confirm the study’s findings and to help determine how to properly implement their findings. With that said things seem to be pointing more and more towards active rehabilitation of concussions. Performing exercises that do not exacerbate the condition is likely an effective way to help patients overcome concussions.
About the Author
COOR Wellness guest writer Alex Tauberg is a chiropractor serving the Fox Chapel area of Pittsburgh. Dr. Tauberg practices in an evidence based manner to get people out of pain and back to enjoying their active lifestyles. Dr. Tauberg has been certified by the University of Pittsburgh as a Primary Spine Practitioner, is a certified chiropractic sports practitioner, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and is an emergency medical responder. He is also the team chiropractor for The Pittsburgh Vengeance.
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