Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Athletic Trainer
Discussions about concussions are commonplace, but do you know what you need to do after one?
It floods all sources of media these days and was a heavy topic in the NFL this past season.
However, there is still misinformation out there as to what should be done after sustaining a concussion.
Concussions are not just a sports injury. Motor vehicle accidents, workplace injuries, and falls can all lead to concussions.
This means that anyone in their lifetime could sustain a concussion. Therefore, knowing what to do after you sustain a concussion is important.
Here are my top 4 things to do after a concussion.
Look for “Red Flags”:
After a person has sustained a concussion, it is important to monitor them for at least 3 hours post-concussion. The main thing to look for is worsening of symptoms which could indicate a more significant brain bleed that needs immediate medical attention. For the first 3 hours post-concussion, you want to keep the person awake and talking to be able to fully assess current status and symptoms.
Red flags that would indicate a significant brain bleed or increased pressure in the brain include:
- Severe or worsening headache
- Weakness in arms or legs
- Decreased alertness
- Changes in vision
- Numbness or tingling
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Difficulty understanding speech, writing, or reading
- Loss of balance, coordination, or fine motor skills
- Abnormal sense of taste
- Loss of consciousness
If after 3 hours and no worsening of symptoms, allow the person with a concussion to rest. There is no need to wake the person, but if there is any concern you can wake and check on them 2 hours after they are asleep.
Protect Your Head:
If you have recently sustained a concussion, it is important to prevent yourself from getting another concussion which could lead to second-impact syndrome and a significantly longer, more complex recovery. Protecting your head includes sitting out of your sport or activity and completing low-impact movements (walking instead of running).
If you have a high physical demanding job, it may be in your best interest to take some time off of work to ensure that your head is protected in this healing time.
Low Inflammatory Nutrition:
Inflammation throughout the body, specifically the brain, plays a large role in recovery from a concussion. By following a brain recovery nutritional plan for a month, you can change the level of inflammation creating a better recovery from the concussion.
A brain recovery nutritional plan includes:
- Hydration: water, pure veggie or fruit juice, green/herbal tea. The goal is 3-4 liters daily!
- No/low processed foods: prepared fresh, home-cooked from scratch meals are best
- NO refined sugar or additives!
- Rich in vegetables, herbs, and fruits: eat the rainbow of colors
- NO alcohol and caffeine!
- Increase in Omega 3 and healthy fats
Seek out a trained, healthcare professional:
Research shows that the sooner a person who has sustained a concussion sees a concussion-trained medical professional, the faster and less complicated their recovery will be. Not all medical professionals have the knowledge and experience to properly treat concussions.
Finding a medical professional who has had training in the assessment, treatment, and management of concussions is the most important.
Apex’s Brain Team are highly trained therapists with the knowledge and skills to properly evaluate, assess, treat, and manage concussions from day one.
We can provide education and tailor a plan specifically for an individual’s recovery. If you or a loved one you know has sustained a concussion, call and make an appointment today.
Don’t let a concussion keep you from living your best life.