Concussions can happen to anyone at anytime and the side effects range from mild to severe. Although most concussions are not life-threatening, they still require proper medical care and support. Complete rest is the common recommendation given to patients who have just had a concussion. This is usually initiated to help manage and reduce short-term side effects like headaches and migraines, blurred vision, dizziness, ringing ears and head trauma among others. However, new studies indicate that complete rest can slow down the recovery progress, especially when patients avoid physical activities for a long period of time. Working out may actually speed up recovery by healing and reducing concussion symptoms. Below is a brief look into how physical activity impacts post-concussion recovery and whether it is safe.
Safety vs. benefits
Physical workout has several benefits to the body. New research on post-concussion recovery also suggests that beginning exercise as soon as possible has more benefits that resting. In one study, groups of patients were made to begin physical exercise 2, 3, 4 and 5 weeks after having a concussion. When the results were out, groups that began working out 2 weeks after their concussion showed greater improvement and reduction in short-term symptoms that those who started weeks later.
Essentially, physical activity increases brain activity stimulating the chemicals responsible for repairing injured tissues. Aerobic activity also promotes new tissue growth and reduces inflammation. However, it is important to fully comprehend the severity of a patient’s concussion before initiating physical activity. If anything, all workout routines should remain sub-symptom and supervised by trained medical staff. Intense exercise can worsen the condition or even prompt long-term side effect.
When to begin exercise
A post-concussion workout is all about managing the intensity of exercise routines. There are various misconceptions about concussions and physical exercise. Most patients are advised to avoid any physical straining activity until their symptoms are resolved. New studies seem to contrast this belief with all indications suggesting that sub-symptom, physical activity can be initiated within 3 days of suffering a concussion. What’s more, no research proves that resting for more than 3 days will yield any benefits unless it is truly necessary. It is important to note that each case is unique as the effects of a concussion will manifest differently, depending on the patient and the severity of their accident/trauma. Concussions can lead to coma, immobility and/or short-term memory loss all which will render the patient unable to engage in any physical activity until the symptoms are resolved.
The workout protocol
Physical activity can speed up the recovery process following a concussion. However, it must be supervised by trained concussion specialists and nurses. There is no one-fit workout routine for all patients. This means each program is customized to the unique need of a patient. Trained doctors can develop a workout protocol based on the patient’s symptoms and capabilities. Although the target is quick recovery and management of post-concussion symptoms, the top priority must remain safety to avoid aggravating the situation.
It is recommendable to work out after a concussion, especially if the symptoms are not severe. Physical exercise can give your body and brain the boost needed to quickly recover from trauma. Nonetheless, concussions have varied side effects and can prompt repeat concussions causing further damage to your body and brain. This is why professional medical attention and supervision is very crucial to any recovery process. Make sure you choose reputable facilities that specialize in post-concussion recovery.