Concussion and Exercise

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The Sports Injury Clinic

Tim Strahan

December 8, 2021

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Many of us consider rest to be the fast-track to recovery. However, as many of you who have sought treatment from a Physiotherapist will know, this is not always the case. Just like we expedite the rehabilitation of a shoulder or a knee through exercise, the same can be said for a concussion.

For anyone who has experienced a prior concussion, you may have been told to rest by avoiding work or school for some time. Some of you might even have been told to rest in a dark room, free from all light and noise for days on end. Whilst this was accepted advice at the time, recent studies have shown that extended periods of complete rest are not only not as beneficial as we once thought, but may be detrimental to our recovery and even prolonging the process in some cases.

We now know that the earlier someone returns to suitable non-contact exercise, the less likely they are to suffer from prolonged symptoms and that prolonging rest beyond 2 days results in delayed recovery verse those who rest for only 1-2 days before returning to exercise, school or work. Those who spend prolonged periods of time resting are not only experiencing the physical deconditioning that comes with rest, but are more likely to experience increased symptoms of depression and anxiety which can exacerbate concussive symptoms (as we have discussed in a previous blog).

So, what does this mean? It certainly doesn’t mean that people should be returning to the sporting field early, as this brings with it the risks of Second Impact Syndrome, which we have also discussed in a blog, previously.

This means that the approach to concussion management, with respect to rest and exercise, needs to be re-shaped. It meant that, rather than withdrawing from work, school, and socialisation for prolonged periods of time, a return to normalcy should be expedited, and can be done so with safety. This means that not only people can return to light, non-contact exercise much earlier than previously thought, but doing so will also greatly assist in a faster recovery!

Here, at The Sports Injury Clinic, with the help of our association with Complete Concussion Management International we help to ensure that people are able to return to the things they love, as early and safely as possible - including exercise. We do so by strongly promoting the findings from the most recent research; conducting the relevant tests in order to establish the safe level of exercise that is tailored to your particular needs. This, in conjunction with treatment under the care of our concussion-trained Physiotherapists helps to ensure an expedited recovery and return to normalcy.

For many of us, exercise can be a central part of our life and life doesn’t have to stop just because of a concussion.

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