Performing cardio regularly is key to your Concussion Recovery. Although you don’t want to exercise too much in the beginning, you’ll have to start slowly and gradually. You don’t want to do exercises that jostle your head, but a stationary bike or elliptical machine are great for getting your heart rate up. Other exercises that will get your heart pumping include calisthenics. However, you should avoid doing exercises that aggravate symptoms, such as balancing or dizziness.
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1. Mental rest
While physical rest is important for concussion recovery, the importance of mental rest has been overlooked. The body needs time to heal after a concussion, and resting from brain-stimulating activities can conserve energy that can be used to treat the injury. But there is a downside to mental rest: too much of it can be harmful. This recent study shows that too much mental rest may aggravate symptoms and delay full recovery.
While moderate cognitive activity may help during the first 48 hours after a concussion, complete rest does not aid in recovery. Complete rest involves lying in bed with no stimulation. Activities that require mental concentration are discouraged during this time, since these can exacerbate symptoms. Additionally, physical activities should be avoided for 48 hours. This is because any activity that requires high concentration or attention can worsen symptoms. During this time, the brain has a hard time recovering from a concussion, and physical activity can make recovery even more difficult.
2. Avoiding unnecessary movement of the head and neck
The best way to avoid further complications after a concussion is to avoid unnecessary movement of the head and neck during concussion recovery. Sudden head movements can cause brain damage and may lead to problems with balance, focusing, and movement. Fortunately, some concussion treatments have proven to be effective for reducing these symptoms, including vestibular rehabilitation. This exercise-based treatment program can help individuals overcome vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance.
Getting plenty of rest and reducing stress are other concussion recovery tips. Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise while recovering. Additionally, a higher intake of protein can help improve cognitive symptoms associated with concussions. Try eating foods rich in branched-chain amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. They can be found in nuts, fish, beans, and meats.
3. Branched-chain amino acids
A new study, which was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, indicates that dietary supplements containing branched-chain amino acids may help patients with traumatic brain injuries recover more quickly. Researchers found that branched-chain amino acids improved recovery from a vegetative or minimally conscious state in patients with traumatic brain injuries. Researchers also found that BCAAs improved cognitive abilities of patients.
BCAAs are an important part of energy metabolism. Although their link to concussions is unclear, there is evidence that their metabolites are reduced after mild to severe traumatic brain injury. This imbalance in the brain’s hippocampus is believed to contribute to cognitive problems after a concussion. The amino acids may improve neurochemical balance and cognitive function by restoring this balance.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids
The use of omega-3 fatty acids in concussion recovery has been studied in a number of ways, including adding them to the diet or taking pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplements. While the recommended dose is 175 mg per day, an increased dosage over a longer period of time may be more effective, according to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Among the findings are the following:
Researchers have also found a link between regular exercise and lessening the duration of post-concussion symptoms. A study in 2006 correlated physical activity with a decrease in concussion symptoms. This may have something to do with the increased production of tau protein in the brain. In another study, DHA increased the length of time for athletes to return to full participation in physical activity. However, these results are not yet conclusive.
5. Physical therapy
A key element of physical therapy for concussion recovery is neuromuscular massage. This technique focuses on re-training the patient’s muscles to relax and function normally. Until recently, medical advice was to cocoon patients, limiting their activities to sitting in a dark room and not exercising. Then, during physical therapy, patients were encouraged to gradually re-incorporate these activities into their daily routine.
The benefits of physical therapy for concussion recovery are numerous. For one thing, it can minimize the risk of further injury. The physical therapist can assess the symptoms and prescribe a program of rest and recovery that will help the brain heal. Physical therapy also helps patients resume sports or normal activities, such as working out. In addition to educating patients about the importance of rest and physical therapy, the physical therapist can also help them learn how to properly manage their recovery.