Keeping A Normal Routine after a Concussion
Concussions are a significant brain injury that impact every part of a student’s life, not just sports participation. Concussion symptoms tend to worsen with concentration and with exercise, and it is important to pay attention when symptoms worsen. To help recovery, it’s important to take a break and stop pushing forward when you begin to feel worse. The first few days after an injury it is important to rest, but after that we recommend staying in a normal routine as much as possible, while taking breaks as symptoms worsen.
We recommend staying on the same sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at normal times, and only napping if absolutely necessary during the day. Years ago the recommendation was to stay in a dark room until all symptoms were gone. Thankfully, this is no longer what is advised; this ended up making those with concussions feel worse as they were secluded from all friends and activities. The importance of routine also applies to eating and drinking; we encourage eating healthy meals at normal intervals and drinking plenty of water.
School can be very difficult during a concussion, but it is important to attend school as much as possible during recovery, with some accommodations. Our goal is to find a balance of keeping you in your routine and allowing the brain time and rest to heal. Your concussion provider will go through this in great detail at each visit and discuss a treatment plan that is best for each patient and his/her parent(s).
Unfortunately, concussions do disrupt extracurricular activities. Even in the midst of a concussion, we encourage continued participation in extracurricular activities, as tolerated, (with the exception of contact sports) during their recovery. We want our patients to spend time with friends, doing quiet activities that are enjoyable, that do not worsen symptoms.
We know that your goal in the process of concussion recovery is to recover as quickly and safely as possible. This is our goal for you as well. One important piece of this recovery process is keeping a regular routine.