A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can affect your cognitive, physical, and emotional functioning. It can occur from a blow to the head, a fall, a car accident, or any other event that shakes the brain inside the skull. If you or a loved one has suffered a concussion, you may wonder how long it will take to recover and what you can do to speed up the healing process.
The answer will vary, as every concussion is different and depends on various factors. It is important that you seek professional medical evaluation as soon as possible. A doctor, nurse, or medic can help advise you based on the severity of your specific injury, your age and overall health, and the type and intensity of the symptoms you’re experiencing.
However, some general guidelines can help you understand what to expect and how to cope with a concussion. Our team at The Brain Injury Law Center has compiled the recommendations below.
The Brain Injury Law Center is located in Hampton, Virginia. We have represented individuals with brain and spinal cord injuries to secure crucial funds to cover past and future care. Founding attorney Stephen M. Smith has a background in neuroanatomical studies that informs our litigation focus — we work to secure the most robust verdicts and settlements for those dealing with concussions, TBIs, and other forms of head trauma and brain injury.
How Long Must Your Brain Rest After Concussion Injury?
The CDC outlines the average recovery time after a concussion to be between 16 and 29 days, or roughly between 2-4 weeks. However, while most people recover in that time period, an estimated 20% of people need more than 6 weeks to recover from persistent symptoms of concussion.
Your necessary period of rest will depend on your unique injury and personal health condition.
The Mayo Clinic outlines diagnostic tools that may be used to evaluate what your concussion injury needs for treatment. After a neurological exam that checks your vision, hearing, and balance, and a cognitive evaluation to test your memory and concentration, your doctor may order an MRI scan of your brain. Depending on the results, you may need to be hospitalized overnight for observation. After that, the majority of your recovery can happen in the comfort of your own home with the following guidelines.
3 Key Ways To Rest After a Concussion
Recovery from a concussion brain injury involves both physical and cognitive rest. Here are three ways to support your recovery:
1. Refrain From Exertion
Limit activities that require a lot of physical effort, including sports, workouts, and certain household chores. While life must go on and your responsibilities may involve physical activity you can’t avoid (like childcare), rest your body as much as possible during the initial weeks of your recovery.
The energy you save is being spent to repair your injuries on a cellular level. Additionally, by avoiding intensive activities, you also reduce the risk of reinjuring your brain while it’s most vulnerable after a concussion.
2. Avoid Mental Strain
Concussion symptoms often include disorientation, confusion, and feelings of “brain fog” that make concentration difficult. While your brain heals, it’s useful to avoid mentally strenuous tasks like schoolwork or exams, playing video games, or interacting with social media.
These activities can make your symptoms worse, cause headaches and eye pain, and slow down your recovery. Follow your doctor’s advice on when and how to resume these activities gradually and safely.
3. Engage in Self-Care
Embracing basic self-care activities can improve your physical health by lowering your stress. This may include meditating, taking a calming bath, enjoying a slow walk, listening to soft music, or enjoying a healthy meal with unprocessed natural foods (lean proteins, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds). It’s also important to give yourself ample time to get a full night’s sleep.
Try to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and foods that are high in sugar, salt, or fat during this initial recovery period. Stay hydrated, and do all that you can to give your body what it needs to repair itself.
You don’t have to drastically change your lifestyle or deprive yourself of all stimuli while recovering from a concussion. Simply follow your doctor’s advice, and take it easy for a few weeks. Doing so could help you avoid permanent damage to your brain.
What Happens if You Don’t Rest After Concussion?
If you are unable to properly rest after a concussion, you may experience serious and lasting consequences, including:
- Sustained brain damage that can lead to chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and neuronal death
- Delayed recovery, also known as persistent post-concussive symptoms or post-concussion syndrome — this can last for weeks, months, or even years, interrupting your enjoyment of life
- Increased risk of another concussion and second-impact syndrome, which could lead to brain swelling, coma, or death
The directives for concussion recovery are relatively simple, while the risk of ignoring them or underestimating the danger can be devastating. That is why it’s advised that you follow your doctor’s advice and rest after a concussion.
Contact Experienced Brain Injury Attorneys
A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury. While many people are able to recover completely after a concussion, that does not mean it isn’t a serious medical condition, and a threat to your health and independence without proper care and rest.
At the Brain Injury Law Center, we understand that the ability to rest is frequently a privilege many cannot afford without injury compensation. A concussion injury settlement or verdict can help provide the funds necessary to access high-quality medical care and time off to recover. This can help prevent permanent injury, or in the event of worsening symptoms that need treatment, provide the long-term, dignified care you deserve.
If your concussion resulted from someone else’s negligence (as in a car accident), or unsafe premises (as in a slip-and-fall injury), you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our experienced brain injury attorneys online or by calling (757) 244-7000 for a free case evaluation and to discuss representation. Then rest well knowing that proven legal professionals are by your side.