Safe activities after concussion

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Rest or physical activity after concussion?

Many people with a concussion are told by their healthcare practitioners to rest. In some cases, when their symptoms don’t go away, they are told to rest some more. But, is this the right approach?

While limited rest is important in the acute stage (24 – 48 hours), evidence continues to show that concussion patients should participate in sub-symptom threshold physical activity as early as 2 to 3 weeks into recovery.1

Why is physical activity important following a concussion?

Aerobic exercise has been shown to improve brain function and increase brain chemicals responsible for repairing injured tissue.2

Is physical activity safe?

Sub-symptom physical activity has been shown to be a safe form of treatment following a concussion in children and adults.3

When should physical activity begin?

There are many misconceptions surrounding concussion recovery. One of which being physical activity should begin only after symptom resolution. However, there is little to no evidence to suggest complete rest beyond 3 days is beneficial.2

A recent study found that children and adolescent patients who engaged in physical activity during their recovery were less likely to have prolonged symptoms.4 Researchers investigated youth athletes who initiated physical activity at 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6+ weeks following a concussion diagnosis. Their findings indicated that athletes who began physical activity earlier had better outcomes.5 Guided exercise has also been shown to be one of the most effective treatment options for someone who has prolonged concussion symptoms (i.e., lasting longer than 1 month).6

What type of physical activity should my child participate in?

Complete Concussion Management practitioners are trained in the latest exercise protocols based on research from the University of Buffalo. By undergoing a simple treadmill test, our practitioners can identify the amount and intensity of physical activity based on your symptoms, and create an individualized program. to find a clinic to help guide your recovery.

Yes. In many cases, you may be able to resume your workout routine after experiencing a concussion. However, the most important questions are “When?” and “How much?” The right answers will always depend on the nature of your concussion and your current stage of healing. Because concussions are very serious injuries, you should always check with your doctor before engaging in strenuous physical activity.

How Long Should I Wait to Exercise After A Concussion?

When it comes to exercise, you should always err on the side of caution after a car accident, workplace mishap, or other violent incident. Symptoms of brain injury or concussion sometimes don’t show up until months later, so it is important to lay low for a while following your accident, monitor your symptoms, and be in conversation with your doctor.

Some research also suggests that resuming physical and mental activity too soon could double your recovery time and cause symptoms like mental fogginess and fatigue to linger. This is why it is especially crucial to consult with a doctor before jumping back into your fitness regimen.

What Kind of Exercise Can I Do with a Concussion?

You may be wondering how long your concussion will last and you may feel ready to get out there and get your life back. However, you must still proceed with caution.

Jarring motions are to be avoided when you are healing from a concussion or suspect you may have a head injury, as these can make the damage worse and lengthen your recovery time. Steer clear of running, lifting heavy weights, contact sports, and other high-impact activities unless you have explicit permission from a physician.

Passive, low-impact exercises may be acceptable (again, only with an O-K from a doctor), but the best medicine for a concussion or other mild brain injury tends to be rest and minimizing demands on your body and mind.

Concussion Rehabilitation & Treatment in Houston

Our team at QualCare Rehabilitation works hard day in and day out to serve people like you, who want to heal and get back into a rhythm after a brain injury. We offer physical therapy, concussion therapy, and a number of other services that will be invaluable to you as you make your journey toward full recovery. If you suspect you are suffering from a concussion following a car accident, workplace injury, or other incident, please reach out to us so we can be involved in your care and make sure you receive the treatment you need.

Find the Houston location nearest you or call (713) 588-0042 to speak to a member of our team.

Concussions: Getting Better

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What’s a Concussion?

If you get a concussion, it means that you’ve injured your brain and you need to give it time to get better. That usually means rest. It also means following a doctor’s advice on the things you can — and can’t — do as you heal.

All body parts take time to heal, even brains. If your brain is injured again before the first injury heals, it can lead to serious medical problems.

The good news is that following a doctor’s instructions at home lets most teens recover from concussions in a week or two without lasting health problems.

How Can I Feel Better After a Concussion?

Sometimes, if concussions are serious enough, doctors send patients to the hospital for care. But most of the time, doctors send patients home to rest.

When you’re at home, you’re in charge of your own care. Take the role seriously and make sure you have what you need to follow all your doctor’s recommendations — like being able to stay in a dark or quiet room, if that is what makes you feel better. It’s the only way to help your brain heal fast and get you back in your best form for sports, studying, and other things that matter.

Here are the top things to do when healing from a concussion at home:

  • Follow all your doctor’s instructions.
  • Go to all your scheduled follow-up visits.
  • Call a doctor if you have headaches that get worse or other problems that don’t go away.
  • If your doctor says to stay home from school or work for a few days, do it — no matter what else you have going on. Don’t let anyone pressure you into something that doesn’t fit in with your healing plan.

Your doctor may want you to do some or all of these things:

  • Rest your body. Your doctor will tell you to avoid sports and some physical activities until your concussion is completely healed. While you still have symptoms (like a headache, trouble seeing well, or changes in mood), you’ll need to limit yourself to staying home to sleep or sit quietly. You’ll only do the basic things in life, like eating. This puts less stress on your brain so you avoid hurting it again. When all your symptoms are gone, you should return to physical activities slowly.
  • Rest your mind. As well as resting your body to prevent physical injury, your doctor might tell you to avoid any cognitive (thinking) activity that makes your symptoms worse. Resting your mind includes not looking at the screens on computers, cellphones, TVs, or other devices. Your doctor will probably also tell you to avoid schoolwork, reading, or anything else that might strain your eyes and mind.
    If these activities do not make your symptoms worse, you can start them again gradually, but you should stop immediately if any symptoms return. Some activities, like watching sports or playing video games, are especially bad for you because they require a lot of eye movement. Your doctor will probably tell you to stay away from these for a while.
  • Eat well.
  • Avoid bright lights and loud noises. These can make concussion symptoms worse.
  • Take a break from activities that require quick decisions and reactions, like driving or operating machinery.

When Can I Get Back to Normal Activities?

One thing is key in healing from a concussion: You need to get the OK from your doctor before you play sports or start doing any physical activities. Even if you feel better, your thinking, behavior, and balance might not be back to normal yet.

If you play sports and a coach or school official wants you to start playing again before a doctor says it’s OK, don’t let yourself get talked into it. Almost every state has rules about when kids and teens can play sports again after a concussion. These rules are there to protect players so they’re not pushed into getting back in the game too soon — when the risk of a second, more serious injury is high.

Hurrying back to sports and other physical activities increases the risk of a condition called second-impact syndrome. This can happen if someone gets a second head injury. It’s rare, but you don’t want to be the person who gets it because it can cause lasting brain damage and even death.

Anyone with a concussion needs to heal completely before doing anything that could lead to another concussion.

How Will I Know When I’m Healed?

Concussions are different from most injuries. Scabs peel and bruises fade. But you can’t see when your brain is healed.

Doctors have several ways to predict when someone’s brain is healed. Because every concussion is different, though, it can be tricky to decide when someone is OK to play sports or do other activities.

A doctor will consider you healed when:

  • You have no more symptoms.
  • You regain all your memory and concentration.
  • You have no symptoms after jogging, sprinting, sit-ups, or push-ups.

After a doctor tells you it’s OK to start doing your normal activities again, ease back into things. Stop playing right away if any symptoms return. You only get one brain — don’t take any chances with it!

Reviewed by: Nicole M. Marcantuono, MD Date reviewed: May 2017

About one and a half week ago I hit my head. Pretty hard. I started to get nauseous, got a really bad headache and felt really dizzy. After seeing my GP, it was clear I had a concussion and it might take a while before my symptoms would go away. What he told me, was my own personal definition of hell: rest a lot and avoid screens as much as possible.

But how? I’m a blogger! I basically live on social media and my laptop and I are in a loving relationship. My phone and I couldn’t bear to be apart… So, I went on a quest to find things to do while recovering from this concussion to keep me busy and entertained. If you have a concussion and are looking for inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. I hope one of these activities will help you battle the boredom!

Cheater!

Yes, I am behind a screen right now (yes, it hurts) and I shouldn’t be, but after a week and a half, I just have to share SOMETHING with you guys. I promise I am taking good care of myself and my health, but I figured I could make a short exception to help people going through the same right now. I’m definitely not doing this for myself and my sanity. Definitely not… 😉

Things to Do With a Concussion

All forms of stimuli, especially light, sound or physical activity can be extremely painful with a concussion. Lucky for me, the sound part is not as bad as the light/physical activity part (I wasn’t really a fan of working out anyway). Which means I am able to listen to audiobooks. Now, I realize not everyone can handle sound well when dealing with a concussion, so I’ll have plenty of options for everyone. You won’t leave this blog with nothing to do. I promise.

  1. Listen to audiobooks
  2. Cooking/baking. I mean, at least you’ll have good food and your house will smell amazing
  3. Writing (in a notebook, not on your laptop or tablet). Anything from journaling to writing a book
  4. Clean. This might not be your favorite, but I actually really enjoy cleaning now.
  5. Declutter
  6. Play board games
  7. Have a (non-alcoholic) drink with friends or family
  8. Listen to podcasts
  9. Take a walk. In nature for extra calmness and if you have any, bring your pets along.
  10. Take a bath. Light a candle. Combine with listening to audiobook/podcast.
  11. Read. If a book is too much to ask (it is for me), grab a magazine.
  12. Arts and crafts. Make jewelry, cards, a scrapbook, anything you like.
  13. Sewing/knitting. This is actually so much fun. It will make you feel productive too!
  14. Gardening. If the weather allows.
  15. Meditate
  16. Puzzles
  17. Listen to (soft) music
  18. Create a bucket list
  19. Make a vision board from magazines
  20. Draw/color

I hope you find something to do and I wish you a speedy recovery.

With much love,
Maud

No Screens? Try These Tips to Entertain a Child Recovering From a Concussion

Following a concussion, doctors often prescribe a period of screen-free resting to help the brain recover. Here are some screen-free ways to keep your child entertained during her recovery.

By Lisa D. Ellis

When Jenna Yakimowsky was 12 she suffered a concussion during gymnastics practice. In 2012, 330,000 children ages 19 and under were treated for concussions. When Jenna Yakimowsky of Attleboro, Massachusetts was 12 years old, a wrong move during gymnastics practice resulted in a concussion, which is a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when the brain is bumped or jolted. “I had asked my coach for a spot on a skill and I ended up landing on my head,” she remembers. Since then, 2 years have passed—she is now 14 and a freshman in high school—but the trying time is still fresh on her mind.
She remembers all too clearly the trip to the doctor, receiving the diagnosis, and a frustrating 4-month recovery period, in which she was instructed to avoid all electronics and to forego many of her favorite activities while her brain healed. The period felt long and difficult and made her feel socially isolated. She also remembers that her symptoms—headaches, dizziness, and trouble concentrating—didn’t resolve on their own. Physical therapy finally helped her ease back into her regular routine.

The Rise in Concussion Rates

Unfortunately, Jenna’s experience is fairly common, since concussion statistics among youth have been on the rise recently. In 2012, approximately 330,000 children ages 19 and under were treated for a similar sports or recreation-related TBI, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This number has more than doubled from a decade earlier.

The reason for the uptick in concussion incidents may actually be the result of better reporting. There has been growing awareness among parents and coaches about the signs and symptoms of concussions and related injuries, and recognition of the need to seek medical attention. “Parents are taking concussions more seriously in sports and are pulling their kids out of sports more often after concussions than they have in the past,” said Jason Liauw, MD, neurosurgeon at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California.
During her recovery, Jenna enjoyed spending time outdoors and was able to keep up with her favorite TV shows by listening to the audio without looking at the screen.

Risk Varies by Age and Gender

Dr. Liauw points out that while many people associate concussions with contact sports—such as football and hockey—they can also occur in competitive sports (as Jenna found out) and in other recreational activities. The risk and prevalence really varies depending on age and gender.

“For males, the leading cause of high school sports concussion is football; football accounts for 60% of all concussions. For females, the leading cause of high school sports concussion is soccer,” Dr. Liauw said. “Among children and youth ages 5-18 years, the 5 leading sports or recreational activities that account for concussions include: bicycling, football, basketball, playground activities, and soccer.”

Concussion Recovery Protocol

Once someone suffers a concussion, the recovery time can be 3 months or more. “The brain takes a long time to heal,” Dr. Liauw explains. Further, while every case is different, there are some general recommendations that most concussion patients are asked to follow. (The exact protocol and timeframe can vary, so be sure to follow your doctor’s orders for your specific case if you are coping with a concussion diagnosis.) Typical guidelines may include:

  • Taking mandatory rest periods. Most people who suffer a concussion must let their brains “rest” by avoiding most physical and mental activity. This includes getting plenty of sleep and taking it easy on school work and mental activities that can tax the brain. It’s important to ease back into school and other commitments slowly and listen to your body so you can adapt your activity level for your specific needs. “Parents need to be aware that after a concussion, kids need time to recover, even if they look well,” Dr. Liauw says.
  • Avoiding contact sports and strenuous activities. This is because of the danger that another injury could occur while the sufferer is still recovering. “There is such a thing as ‘second impact syndrome.’ Second concussions, especially if the brain hasn’t had time to heal from the first one, can be devastating for kids and adults,” Dr. Liauw says.
  • Foregoing electronics. Keep in mind that “strain and overstimulation can magnify symptoms (fatigue, nausea, headaches). The idea is that the brain circuitry is perturbed and hypersensitive, so over-activity makes the patient feel worse,” he says. “Using phones to talk is okay, but anything that is overstimulating or can trigger headaches or induce eye strain should be avoided including: TVs, video games, and phone screens. Generally, we recommend spartan use of these devices for the first three months following a concussion,” he adds.

Hanging Up Electronics

While following all of these recommendations can be difficult for concussion patients, it’s the last recommendation—foregoing technology, including smart phones, television, video games, tablets—that can be most challenging for kids today. It can be just as tough on their parents, who don’t know how to help their children pass the time productively without screen use throughout the long recovery period. In fact, replacing screen time requires some creativity, but it can also be rewarding since it offers your child a chance to return to a simpler time of life and simpler activities.

“When we found out Jenna had a concussion and had to avoid screen use, our first reaction was, OH BOY—how are we supposed to not use screens when life is all about technology? School work, texting, social media—this is the life of a teen,” says Jenna’s mom, Deanna Yakimowsky. But it did not take long before the family rallied around Jenna and helped her engage in other things, such as playing with her puppies, listening to music, making knot blankets, and enjoying simple things like a walk in a new area, a visit to a new store, or a trip to a local coffee shop to try a new menu item.

Finding Safer Alternatives

Other parents may also find incorporating simple activities or treats can take a stressful situation and turn it into something more enjoyable. If you are struggling to support a child diagnosed with a concussion, here are some suggestions for things your child can do to help make the most of the concussion recovery period:

Learning to play an instrument can be an effective way to avoid screens as your child recovers from a concussion.

  • Make the bedroom a quiet and appealing spot with cozy pillows and soft bedding to encourage downtime and resting.
  • Take a walk outside and enjoy fresh air and nature.
  • Listen to soft music.
  • Try a non-contact sport, such as shooting hoops in your driveway or at the local park. (Just be sure your child listens to his or her body and does not overdo it.)
  • Bond with your pets.
  • Plant—or tend to—a garden.
  • Learn an instrument.
  • Invite friends over for face-to-face conversations.
  • Do puzzles.
  • Take up a new craft, such as knitting, making jewelry, or painting.
  • Play games as a family.
  • Talk on the phone without looking at the screen.
  • Bake or try a new recipe.
  • Find new ways to do the things you love. For instance, Jenna kept up with her favorite TV shows by listening to the sound without looking at the images on the screen.

Dr. Liauw adds one important caveat: “Parents can encourage their children to take it slow and listen to their bodies and be flexible.” Over time, it will slowly start to get easier.

Keeping It In Perspective

Deanna also points out that communication was key. “Talk with your child daily. Ask how she’s doing and tell her it’s okay to feel the way she’s feeling. Be assured that as long as the child is following doctor’s orders she WILL get better and this will be a distant memory soon enough,” she stresses.
For additional ideas and resources, visit Screen-Free Week, a site devoted to an international effort between families, schools, and communities to “swap digital entertainment for the joys of life beyond the screen.” Each spring the group designates a “screen-free week” (this year’s celebration took place May 1–7, 1017) to encourage old-fashioned activities that don’t involve screens.

Updated on: 05/31/17 View Sources

Sources

1. Liauw, Jason MD, neurosurgeon, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, Laguna Hills, California. Email interview May 5, 2017.

2. Yakimowsky, Deanna and Jenna. (Concussion patient and mother.) Email interview, May 1, 2017.

1. Coronado VG, Haileyesus T, Cheng TA, Bell JM, Haarbauer-Krupa J, Lionbarger MR, Flores-Herrera J, McGuire LC, Gilchrist J. Trends in sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries treated in US emergency departments: The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) 2001-2012. J Head Trauma Rehabil 2015; 30 (3): 185–197. Accessed May 7, 2017.

3. “TBI: Get the Facts.” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed April 27, 2017. Accessed May 7, 2017.

Continue Reading: Sports-Related Concussions Overview

News

By Paul Stone On June 6th, 2017

Should you stop exercising after a concussion? New research says no.

While a lot has changed regarding concussions in the past few years, one thing has largely remained the same. When someone visits a doctor with a brain injury, they are typically told to rest and avoid exerting themselves with physical activities.

But, is that actually the best treatment for people recovering from concussions? More and more studies are suggesting exercise has little effect on concussion recoveries. In fact, it may even help.

One such study was recently presented at the American College of Sports Medicine 2017 by researchers at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. According to their findings, people with sports-related concussions recover at the same rate whether they continued to exercise or not.

“A lot of people think that someone with a concussion needs to lie in a dark room, but that’s not what we think,” said Justin Stumph, a medical student from Ohio University.

“This is important, because if you can exercise, why would you not?” explained Stumph. “There are so many benefits — physically and cognitively.”

To come to this conclusion, Stumph and his colleagues conducted a retrospective study which assessed 204 patients who were told to exercise before their symptoms resolved, as well as 153 who were told to avoid exercise.

While the team says exercise can be beneficial, they did tell participants to stop exercising if the exertion made symptoms worse.

“You don’t want someone to try to exercise through their symptoms,” Stumph said.

According to the report, both groups showed similar levels of concussion symptoms. The researchers do note that the median time between injury and symptom resolution was significantly longer for those who exercised, but they say the time between seeking medical help and recovery were much closer.

Based on this, the group concluded that exercise does not slow recovery for concussion patients.

The findings help support new guidelines released this year by the Concussion in Sport Group, saying that “patients can be encouraged to become gradually and progressively more active while staying below their cognitive and physical symptom-exacerbation thresholds.”

Because of studies like this, fewer physicians are limiting exercise after concussions. They say physical activity can help keep other parts of the body healthy through the injury and prevent issues with depression or isolation.

Is It Okay to Engage in Heavy Lifting After a Brain Injury?

I am sorry to hear about your multiple traumatic brain injuries, and it is good to hear that you are receiving rehabilitation and doing well enough to volunteer. I applaud your efforts to re-enter society and the work force at large.

Without knowing details about your injury, it’s impossible for me to provide an answer as to what, if any, lifting restrictions you might have. Certainly, having a traumatic brain injury, in and of itself, does not lead to an automatic recommendation for lifting restrictions, but issues like balance should play a part in the decision.

I cannot envision how lifting might damage your brain unless the active lifting was putting you at some risk for falling.

I always tell my patients, “If in doubt, ask.” My suggestion is to talk to a physician who knows your case and your risk factors for injury, if any, with lifting activities. Oftentimes, patients are referred for functional capacity evaluations when questions regarding physical demand capacities need to be answered. These types of exams don’t address the challenges faced by individuals with TBI relative to such issues as the impact of fatigue, cognitive impairment, and behavior challenges to work re-entry. Best of luck to you in your work re-entry efforts.

Sexuality After Traumatic Brain Injury

Changes in sexual functioning are common after TBI. If you are experiencing sexual problems, there are things you can do to help resolve these problems. The information below describes common sexual problems after TBI and ways to improve sexual functioning.

How does a traumatic brain injury affect sexual functioning?

The following changes in sexual functioning can happen after TBI:

  • Decreased Desire: Many people may have less desire or interest in sex.
  • Increased Desire: Some people have increased interest in sex after TBI and may want to have sex more often than usual. Others may have difficulty controlling their sexual behavior. They may make sexual advances in inappropriate situations or make inappropriate sexual comments.
  • Decreased Arousal: Many people have difficulty becoming sexually aroused. This means that they may be interested in sex, but their bodies do not respond. Men may have difficulty getting or keeping an erection. Women may have decreased vaginal lubrication (moisture in the vagina).
  • Difficulty or Inability to Reach Orgasm/Climax: Both men and women may have difficulty reaching orgasm or climax. They may not feel physically satisfied after sexual activity.
  • Reproductive Changes: Women may experience irregular menstrual cycles or periods. Sometimes, periods may not occur for weeks or months after injury. They may also have trouble getting pregnant. Men may have decreased sperm production and may have difficulty getting a woman pregnant.

What causes changes in sexual functioning after TBI?

There are many reasons sexual problems happen after TBI. Some are directly related to damage to the brain. Others are related to physical problems or changes in thinking or relationships.

Possible causes of changes in sexual functioning after TBI include:

  • Damage to the Brain: Changes in sexual functioning may be caused by damage to the parts of the brain that control sexual functioning.
  • Hormonal Changes: Damage to the brain can affect the production of hormones, like testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. These changes in hormones affect sexual functioning.
  • Medication Side Effects: Many medications commonly used after TBI have negative side effects on sexual functioning.
  • Fatigue/Tiredness: Many people with TBI tire very easily. Feeling tired, physically or mentally, can affect your interest in sex and your sexual activity.
  • Problems with Movement: Spasticity (tightness of muscles), physical pain, weakness, slowed or uncoordinated movements, and balance problems may make it difficult to have sex.
  • Self-Esteem Problems: Some people feel less confident about their attractiveness after TBI. This can affect their comfort with sexual activity.
  • Changes in Thinking Abilities: Difficulty with attention, memory, communication, planning ahead, reasoning, and imagining can also affect sexual functioning.
  • Emotional Changes: Individuals with TBI often feel sad, nervous, or irritable. These feelings may have a negative effect on their sexual functioning, especially their desire for sex.
  • Changes in Relationships and Social Activities: Some people lose relationships after TBI or may have trouble meeting new people. This makes it difficult to find a sexual partner.

What can be done to improve sexual functioning after TBI?

  • Talk with your doctor, nurse practitioner, or other health or rehabilitation professional about the problem, so they can help you find solutions. Some people may feel embarrassed talking openly about sexual issues. It may help to keep in mind that sexuality is a normal part of human functioning, and problems with sexuality can be addressed just like any other medical problem. If you are not comfortable discussing sexual problems with your doctor, it is important to find a health professional who you do feel comfortable talking with.
  • Get a comprehensive medical exam. This should include blood work and maybe a urine screen. Make sure you discuss with your provider any role your medications may play. Women should get a gynecology exam and men may need a urology exam. Ask your doctor to check your hormone levels.
  • Consider psychotherapy or counseling to help with emotional issues that can affect sexual functioning. Adjusting to life after a TBI often puts stress on your intimate relationship. If you and your partner are having problems with your relationship, consider marital or couples therapy.
  • Consider starting sex therapy. A sex therapist is an expert who helps people to overcome sexual problems and improve sexual functioning. You can search for a certified sex therapist in your geographic area on the following website: http://www.aasect.org/
  • Talk with your partner and plan sexual activities during the time of day when you are less tired.
  • When having sex, position yourself so that you can move without being in pain or becoming off balance. This may mean having sex in a different way or unfamiliar position. Discuss this with your partner.
  • Arrange things so that you will be less distracted during sex. For example, be in a quiet environment without background noise, such as television.
  • If you have trouble becoming sexually aroused, it may help to watch movies or read books/ magazines with erotic images and other sexual content.
  • There are sexual aids developed to help people with disability.
  • Increasing your social network can increase the opportunity to form intimate relationships. You may consider joining a club or becoming involved in other social organizations.

Importance of safe sex

After a TBI, it is just as important for you to protect yourself from unplanned pregnancy and from sexually transmitted disease as it was before your injury. Even if a woman’s period has not returned, she can still get pregnant. Here are some tips to help with birth control and protection from sexually transmitted disease.

  • Do research to help figure out what method of birth control and protection from sexually transmitted disease are best for you. The following website has some helpful information: http://www.plannedparenthood.org
  • Because of changes in thinking abilities, it may be harder for you to remember to use protection or to remember to take it with you.
    • You can plan ahead by always carrying a condom or other method of protecting yourself and your partner.
    • For women who use birth control pills, or a device that must be replaced, using a calendar or alarm on a smart phone can help you remember to take the pills or change the device.
  • If you are unsure whether your partner has a sexually transmitted disease or has been intimate with others who have such disease, it is safest to use a condom.
  • If you have engaged in any risky sexual behavior, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and get treated if you test positive.

Resources for further information

Sexuality Is A Family Matter by Carolyn Rocchio in Family News And Views: A Monthly Publication of the Brain Injury Association, 1993.

Disclaimer

This information is not meant to replace the advice from a medical professional. You should consult your health care provider regarding specific medical concerns or treatment.

Source

Our content is based on research evidence whenever available and represents the consensus of expert opinion of the investigators on the TBI Model Systems Directors.

Authorship

Sexuality after Traumatic Brain Injury was developed by Angelle M. Sander, Ph.D. and Kacey Maestas, Ph.D., in collaboration with the investigators of the TBI Model Systems Collaborative Project on Sexuality after TBI, and the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center. Portions of this document were adapted from Sexual Functioning and Satisfaction After Traumatic Brain Injury: An Educational Manual (authors: Sander AM, Moessner AN, Kendall KS, Pappadis MR, Hammond FM, Cyborski CM).

Sex after Brain Injury: What does this look like for me?

Posted by Evan

in Mental Health, Medical Resource, Lifestyle

= Authors =

Gabi Kaplan, Student Occupational Therapist

Jenni Diamond, OT Reg. (Ont.)

Evan Cole Lewis, MD

Sexual Function following a Brain Injury

Sustaining a brain injury can lead to a variety of physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioural issues that can change your sexual functioning and intimacy experiences.

Women & men may experience sexual issues differently

For instance, following a brain injury, you may be experiencing (1,2):

  • Decreased or increased desire to have sex
  • Decreased arousal
  • Decreased quality of sex
  • Difficulty or inability to reach climax/orgasm
  • Inadequate energy for sex

Women and men may experience sexual issues differently (2).

Some of the most commonly reported issues following a brain injury are (2):

Women Men
Difficulties with initiation and arousal Difficulties initiating sex
Difficulties with orgasm, or reduced sensation Difficulties reaching orgasm, or less intense orgasm
Difficulties with lubrication, leading to vaginal dryness Getting and maintaining an erection
Painful sex Premature ejaculation
Discomfort in positioning Body positioning and movement
Changes in menstruation
Inability to masturbate

These changes in sexual function might be due to (1,2,5):

  • Disruption of normal brain functions
  • Hormonal changes
  • Autonomic dysfunction (see explanation below)
  • Medication side effects
  • Fatigue
  • Movement and balance issues
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Changes in thinking
  • Emotional changes
  • Changes in relationships

Autonomic Dysfunction and Concussions

Following a concussion (also known as a mild traumatic brain injury), you might be experiencing similar sexual functioning issues that are listed above. One plausible reason for your changes in sexuality may be due to autonomic dysfunction, which can occur after a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or concussion (3).

… one plausible reason for your changes in sexuality may be due to autonomic dysfunction…

Our autonomic nervous system is involved in influencing certain involuntary bodily functions, such as our:

  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Digestion
  • Urination
  • Sexual arousal & orgasm

In fact, innervation of sexual organs is primarily mediated by the autonomic nervous system (4). So when this system is not properly functioning, your sexual response can be impacted.

What can I do to improve sexual functioning and intimacy?

  1. Communicate with your partner

Don’t assume your partner knows exactly what you are going through. Try your best to be as open as possible when speaking about all aspects of your brain injury, including your sexual issues.

  1. Plan and prepare for sexual activities (1,2)
  • Plan sexual activities for when you have the most energy and are less tired
  • Limit distractions in the environment (for example, set up a quiet room with limited background noise)
  • Create a relaxing and sensual environment (for example, light candles or have a warm bath together beforehand)
  • Stay hydrated before and after sex
  1. Pay attention to your body position during sex (1,2)

When having sex, position yourself so that you are not causing pain or dizziness. If you are having balance issues, position yourself to avoid falling or exacerbating the symptoms.

  1. Try new things to increase arousal and/or comfort (1,2)

If you are having difficulties getting aroused, try watching movies or reading books/magazines with sexual content. Additionally, try initiating sexual activity with foreplay, which can help psychologically and physically prepare you for sex. If penetration causes pain due to vaginal dryness, consider using a lubricant.

… your doctor, nurse practitioner, occupational therapist or psychotherapist… may be able to help you in identifying the underlying issue, manage your symptoms, and help develop a solution.

  1. Speak with your healthcare provider and seek advice (1,2)

This might include your doctor, nurse practitioner, occupational therapist or psychotherapist. They may be able to help you in identifying the underlying issue, manage your symptoms, and help develop a solution. Often, speaking about sex and sexual issues makes people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Try to remember that sexual activity is a normal aspect of our everyday lives. In addition to speaking to healthcare professionals, you may choose to talk to close friends or family members.

The Effects of Sex Differences and Hormonal Contraception on Outcomes after Collegiate Sports-Related Concussion

Introduction

A concussion is a brain injury induced by a blow to the head or body that initiates a cascade of pathophysiological processes, resulting in clinical symptoms such as acute altered consciousness, headache, fatigue, slowed processing, and emotional lability.1 Approximately 1,600,000–3,800,000 concussions occur in sports and recreational activities each year in the United States.2 Among varsity collegiate student-athletes, ∼10,500 concussions occur annually, with incidence rates steadily increasing over the past several decades.3–6 Student athletes who sustain a concussion often experience disruptive academic, emotional, cognitive, and physical difficulties. 1,7–9 Although a majority of student athletes recover within 1–2 weeks after injury, many continue to experience symptoms outside of this time frame.1,10 Multiple factors are associated with poorer outcomes (e.g., longer symptom duration) following concussion, including age,11 pre-existing depression,12–14 and loss of consciousness from injury.1 The effect of sex on outcomes following concussion, however, remains controversial. Several major studies have highlighted the need to further understand whether females are at risk for greater impairment following concussion.15,16

Studies examining sex differences in outcomes following concussion yield conflicting evidence. Some studies report that females experience greater symptom burden17–20 and greater cognitive deficits in certain domains17,18,21,22 than males post-concussion. Other studies, however, do not find any significant sex differences in symptoms 21–24 or cognitive performance 25 post-concussion. Ambiguity regarding sex differences in post-concussion symptom levels may stem, in part, from a reporting bias, as females may be more likely than males to be forthcoming when reporting concussion symptoms.4,16

There is limited research regarding sex differences in length of recovery (LOR) following concussion. Three prior studies have examined sex differences in recovery time. Frommer and colleagues did not detect sex differences in symptom resolution time in high school athletes.23 However, the data were collected across 100 high schools with inconsistent operationalization of outcomes across sites. Baker and colleagues found that adolescent females had a significantly greater number of days between injury and symptom resolution than did adolescent males following sports-related concussion.7 Stone and colleagues found that females took ∼6 days longer than males to begin their return-to-play progression in a combined middle school, high school, and collegiate athlete sample.26 To our knowledge, sex differences in LOR following sports-related concussion have not been studied specifically among college athletes. With >460,000 collegiate student-athletes competing at the varsity level alone in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and with concussion incidence at this level on the rise, study of this population is critical.27

Another area warranting further study is the hormonal influence on concussion outcomes among females. Preliminary evidence suggests that hormonal contraception (HC) may moderate outcomes in female athletes following concussion. In the single human study to date examining this topic, concussed women taking oral contraceptive pills (OCP) had significantly lower total symptom severity and fewer number of symptoms than concussed women not using OCP.28 In the rodent model, higher estrogen levels exacerbated brain injury effects in female rats.29 OCP regulate, and generally lower, estrogen and other female reproductive hormone levels in the body.30,31 Therefore, the decrease in circulating hormone levels found in HC users may be a protective factor following concussive injuries. To our knowledge, there are no studies to date examining the relationship between hormonal contraception and LOR following concussion in collegiate female athletes.

The purpose of this study was to examine sex and female-specific differences in clinical outcomes following concussion in collegiate varsity athletes. First, we examined sex differences in clinical outcomes following concussion in collegiate varsity athletes, including LOR and peak symptom severity. We hypothesized that females would have longer LOR and that peak symptom severity would be predictive of longer LOR in both males and females, controlling for premorbid and injury characteristics. Second, we examined differences in clinical outcomes following concussion among female athletes using HC (i.e., oral contraceptive pills and NuvaRing) versus females not using HC (non-HC) at the time of injury. We hypothesized that non-HC females would have longer LOR and higher peak symptom severity scores than HC females, controlling for premorbid and injury characteristics.

Methods

Participants and recruitment

All varsity athletes at a single Division I university who sustained one or more concussions during their collegiate athletic careers between January 2011 and December 2016 were recruited for this study via email to provide electronic consent for review of their student treatment record. Diagnosis of concussion was made by a team physician according to the criteria put forth by the International Conference on Concussion in Sport (3rd and 4th).1,32 Of the 238 individuals who sustained a concussion during this period, 121 provided consent, 6 actively declined consent, and 111 did not respond. Records were reviewed for compliance with the following inclusion criteria: no history of a neurological disorder (e.g., epilepsy) other than migraines; no psychiatric disorder other than anxiety and depression; specific dates of injury and clearance to return to full contact participation; recovery period uninterrupted by an extended school holiday break such as spring break, winter holidays, or summer; and having been assessed in the clinic within 3 days of injury (although within 24 h is standard practice and was true for the majority of cases). Of the 121 cases, 92 met inclusion criteria. Two additional cases were excluded because recovery from concussion was complicated by a simultaneous illness (i.e., viral illness and a sinus infection); clinician notes indicated ambiguity regarding whether persisting symptoms (e.g., headaches, fatigue, nausea) were caused by post-concussive effects or the unrelated illness. Approval for this study was granted from the Northwestern University’s Institutional Review Board.

Procedure

Athletes’ electronic treatment records were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic and medical history information, including history of concussion prior to college, was abstracted from the health documentation completed by medical staff upon a student’s entrance to the university. Records were reviewed for concussions sustained during the athlete’s collegiate athletic career. If an athlete sustained multiple concussions during his or her collegiate career, data from the first injury only were included in this study. In eight cases, the athlete’s first injury did not meet study criteria (e.g., recovery was interrupted by a school break or there was missing recovery information), so data from the athlete’s second concussion were used for this study.

Determining sex and HC-group classification

Sex was determined based on sex assigned at birth recorded in health documents completed upon entrance to the university. Females were divided into hormonal contraception users (HC) and non-hormonal contraception users (non-HC) based on (1) the medications recorded at the time of injury, which was individually confirmed and recorded by the treating clinician in the injury notes, and (2) review of the female health questionnaire completed prior to each academic year. Women taking OCP (n = 23) or using the NuvaRing (n = 1), which releases similar hormone levels as OCP into the bloodstream, were assigned to the HC group. Women not using oral contraceptive pills, NuvaRing, or any other hormonal contraception method (n = 25) were assigned to the non-HC group. The single female in this study using an intrauterine device (IUD) (Mirena®) was excluded from HC vs. non-HC analyses because of the unique nature of the Mirena IUD. The Mirena IUD releases hormones that primarily remain concentrated in the uterus. However, a minimal amount of hormones, relative to OCP-users, circulates through the bloodstream.33 Because of the variation in plasma hormone levels in Mirena IUD users compared with OCP/NuvaRing users, the Mirena IUD user was excluded from the HC vs. non-HC analyses, but was included in the male vs. female analyses.

Concussion outcomes

Primary concussion outcome variables were abstracted from the athlete’s clinic notes, which are composed of assessments completed by team physicians and athletic trainers. Per the university’s athletics’ recommended protocol, athletes completed the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, 2nd ed. (SCAT-232) or 3rd ed. (SCAT-31) with an athletic trainer immediately after the concussion was suspected or reported. The SCAT-2 and −3 contain an identical symptom rating scale, composed of 22 total symptoms rated on a seven point Likert scale of severity from 0 (none) to 6 (severe). Therefore, the symptom evaluation yields two scores: (1) total symptom number (range: 0–22), and 2) symptom severity score (range: 0–132). In accordance with university recommendations, athletes diagnosed with concussion completed a symptom inventory at least every 24 h following the suspicion or reporting of a concussion until clearance for full return to play. The athlete’s peak symptom severity score was used in analyses as the indicator of peak symptom burden. For all athletes in this study, the peak symptom burden ratings occurred within 5 days of injury.

The university’s athletic protocol requires concussed athletes to refrain from all physical activity, including athletic participation, until symptoms have returned to baseline levels for at least 24 h. At this time, athletes begin the return-to-play protocol, which, at the time of study, consisted of gradual, stepwise increase in physical exertion, starting with light aerobic activity (e.g., stationary biking) and progressing to noncontact athletic participation. After progressing to noncontact participation, athletes complete computerized cognitive testing (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test ) and are evaluated by an external independent neurology consultant. The team physician then makes final clearance for full-contact athletic participation. The return to play protocol takes a minimum of 5 days. LOR was calculated by subtracting the number of days between final clearance by the team physician and the date of injury. The physician clearance date was used instead of the symptom resolution date, because some athletes experience a return of symptoms once they begin the gradual return to play protocol, indicating that the injury has likely not resolved.

Statistical analyses

Descriptive analyses were conducted to evaluate group differences in demographic and injury characteristics (males vs. females and HC vs. non-HC females); one way analyses of variance (ANOVA) was used for continuous data and χ2 tests were used for categorical data (α = 0.05). Because of non-normal distributions, LOR and peak symptom severity were log-transformed for main hypotheses testing.

To evaluate sex differences in symptom burden and LOR, we conducted a regression analysis predicting LOR by sex and the sex-by-symptom severity interaction. To evaluate the effect of hormonal contraception on symptom severity and LOR outcomes in female athletes, we conducted two separate ANOVA tests evaluating group differences on LOR and symptom severity. Post-hoc testing was conducted based on main omnibus test results. Effect sizes were calculated using Cohen’s d formula34 on non-log transformed values.

Results

Demographic and injury characteristics

See Table 1 for group demographic information. The racial composition of the current sample was similar to that of all Division I, II, and III athletes combined for the 2012–2013 academic year.35 In the total sample, ∼50% of concussions occurred during practice, 40% occurred during competition, and 10% were non-athletic but occurred during the competitive season. The majority of injuries analyzed took place during freshman (26%) or sophomore (38%) years of college, which is not unexpected given that an athlete’s first concussion was typically used in analyses if multiple concussions occurred over the course of that person’s collegiate athletic careers. A diverse number of athletic teams were represented in this sample, but the majority of individuals were members of the football (26%), soccer (20%), basketball (14%), or swim and dive (10%) teams. Although athletic protocol mandates that athletes report concussion symptoms immediately and abstain from play until further evaluation, ∼46% of men and 44% of women reported returning to play during the same game or practice after an initial blow to the head that was later determined to be the causal impact of concussion symptoms (Table 2). Reasons for athletes returning to play, abstracted from clinic notes, included symptoms not commencing until several hours after the hit or the athlete failing to recognize symptoms as being reflective of a concussive injury. Although not reported in clinic notes, it is also possible that athletes returned to play in the same game or practice because of a desire to remain in competition or a desire not to let teammates down.36

All data are represented by group count (percentage of group) unless otherwise noted. One female with an intrauterine device was excluded from the hormonal contraceptive (HC) vs. non-HC group analyses.

All data are represented by group count (percentage of group) unless otherwise noted. One female with an intrauterine device was excluded from the hormonal contraceptive (HC) vs. non-HC group analyses.

M(SD), mean (standard deviation); p, statistical significance value for group comparisons (either Pearson’s χ2 or analyses of variance tests); ns, group comparisons are not significant at the p < 0.05 level; RTP, return to play; LOR, length of recovery; Peak Symptom Severity, the individual’s highest symptom severity score from the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT)-2 or SCAT-3 during recovery. Note that log-transformed scores were used in the main analyses.

Male and female athletes significantly differed in their history of concussion: 56% of males had experienced one or more prior documented concussions (15 with a single prior injury, 7 with two to three prior injuries) compared with 24% of females (eight with a single prior injury, four with two to three prior injuries) (Table 1). Males were also significantly more likely than females to experience either retrograde or anterograde amnesia associated with the concussive injury (Table 2). To determine whether history of previous concussion and/or amnesia should be added as covariates in the main hypotheses tests, analyses of covariance tests were conducted. Results indicated no significant relationship (p > 0.05) between either of these variables (history of previous concussion and amnesia associated with the injury) and outcome variables of interest: LOR and symptom severity. Therefore, these variables were not added to the main statistical models. HC and non-HC females significantly differed by age; however, the mean difference was only 1 year, and not of clinical significance given the outcome variables.

Sex differences in symptom severity and LOR

Males and females did not significantly differ on symptom severity (Table 2). Regression analysis indicated a main effect of sex (F = 5.021, p < 0.05, d = 0.49) on LOR, such that males on average were cleared for full return to play within 13 days and females within 22 days (Table 2). There was also a significant interaction between sex and symptom burden (F = 4.357, p < 0.05) such that symptom severity was strongly related to LOR for males (r = 0.513, p < 0.01) but not females (r = −0.003, p > 0.05); correlations were conducted on log-transformed LOR and symptom severity. Correlations on raw data (non-log transformed) are presented in Figure 1.

FIG. 1.  Sex differences in the relationship between symptom severity and length of recovery. R values indicate Pearson’s correlation coefficient values for each sex using non-log transformed data. * indicates significance at the p < 0.01 level. Peak Symptom Severity score is the athletes’ highest Symptom Severity (range 0–132) recorded on the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool, 2nd ed.32 or 3rd ed.1 during recovery. Note that for main omnibus tests, Peak Symptom Severity and Length of Recovery values were log transformed.

HC effects on symptom severity and length of recovery

Discussion

This study sought to examine the effects of sex and hormonal contraception on outcomes following concussion. We found that female collegiate athletes’ experienced, on average, longer LOR following concussion than male athletes. Further, symptom severity was strongly related to LOR in males but not in females. Among females, athletes using HC (e.g., OCP or NuvaRing) tended to report lower symptom severity during recovery from concussion than females not using HC. No differences in LOR were observed in female athletes using HC versus those not using HC.

To our knowledge, the current study is the first to examine sex differences in length of recovery among collegiate athletes. Prior studies of adolescent athletes have yielded inconsistent results regarding sex differences in recovery time.7,23,26 In this study, males showed comparable severity scores and shorter recovery time than females. Further, male athletes’ self-reported symptom severity was highly correlated with LOR. The consensus statement from the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport states that “the strongest and most consistent predictor of slower recovery from is the severity of a person’s symptoms in the… initial few days, after injury.”37 Our data suggest, however, that self-reported symptom severity data may have predictive validity regarding LOR for male, but not female, athletes.

Several explanations may account for the longer LOR in female versus male athletes. Female athletes generally have decreased neck strength compared with male athletes, and females tend to have greater head-neck acceleration and displacement upon impact than males.38–40 Greater head-neck acceleration and head displacement have been associated with longer recovery time and cognitive deficits following brain injury.41 It is also possible female athletes approach return-to-play following concussion with more caution than males. Prior work suggests that females with head trauma may have greater self-awareness of their cognitive deficits than males;42 if this holds true in mild brain injuries, perhaps greater insight yields greater caution among women. Female collegiate athletes may also approach return-to-play more prudently than males because of females’ greater emphasis on academic success in college43,44 and could have lower aspirations for professional athletic participation than males because of decreased professional opportunities and compensation. In addition, female athletes may be handled more cautiously by clinicians following concussion than males, which could lengthen time to clearance for full return to play.45,46 Finally, baseline differences in hormones such as progesterone and estrogen may be implicated in the differential sex outcomes between male and female concussed athletes, but this has not yet been elucidated in the literature.17

The current study replicates the findings of Mihalik and colleagues with regard to the effect of hormonal contraception on symptom outcomes.28 Specifically, both the Mihalik and the current studies found that women not using HC reported significantly higher peak symptom severity scores. There are several explanations for lower symptom severity ratings in women using HC. Some studies have found that higher levels of hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, are associated with increased pain perception.47,48 Therefore, it may be that HC users and non-users have similar neurometabolic responses to concussion, but that the subjective appraisal of symptom severity is lower in females using HC. An alternate explanation is that decreased and regulated estrogen and progesterone levels provide a neuroprotective effect for HC users following head trauma.29,49 Emerson and colleagues demonstrated that female rats with acutely elevated estrogen experienced worse neurometabolic disruption and adverse functional outcomes than female rats without elevated estrogen.29 This finding suggests that decreased estrogen, observed in females using hormonal contraception, may be advantageous in concussion recovery. This finding stands in contrast to a larger body of literature demonstrating the neuroprotective effects of increased estrogen and progesterone in moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).50 It may be that women using HC are protected from a sudden drop in progesterone and estrogen that is experienced by non-HC users following concussion.49 Specifically, Wunderle and colleagues proposes that women with unregulated progesterone levels injured during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, when progesterone levels are highest, experience a sudden drop in progesterone, which adversely affects outcomes. Therefore, women using HC that regulates progesterone are not prone to the adverse consequences associated with the abrupt progesterone drop.

Several limitations to the current study warrant mention. First, a selection bias may exist in which men and women who experienced more profound and lasting effects from concussion were more motivated or inspired to respond to the recruitment email to provide consent. Therefore, LOR and symptom outcomes may not be representative of all intercollegiate athletes. Similarly, athletes in this sample are from a Division I university; pressure to return to play may be greater at this competitive level compared with others, which could limit the generalizability of the LOR data. Second, symptom outcomes were not evaluated by domain, and there may be more sex-specific patterns of symptoms by domain (e.g. somatic, emotional). Finally, results should be interpreted with caution given the retrospective nature of the study. Future studies are needed to thoroughly investigate the effects of sex, hormonal contraception, and menstrual cycle on specific domains of symptoms and cognitive performance following concussion.

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

Getting back to work or school after concussion

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Concussion guide for adults focuses on return to work

Doctors and other health professionals who treat adults with concussion symptoms that last for months now have an updated set of guidelines to consult.

The most frequent symptoms of concussion are headache, dizziness, nausea and imbalance. Most resolve relatively quickly but about 10 to 15 per cent of people with a concussion don’t improve.

The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation published its “Guidelines for Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Persistent Symptoms” on Tuesday to help doctors treat patients whose physical or mood symptoms like irritability persist for weeks to months.

While concussions are commonly thought of as a sports injury, many of the brain injuries come from falls, car collisions, assaults or recreational activities. In all concussions, resting the brain is the first step. The guidelines offer direction for the minority of patients for whom rest alone isn’t enough.

Dr. Shawn Marshall is the lead author of the guidelines and a doctor at The Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre.”We’ve given more emphasis and direction on how to manage patients with regard to return to work issues and return to school,” he said in an interview.

For adults, return to school may include university students, which he called an important population because they tend to be more physically active and prone to concussion.

The guidelines include a symptom-based approach. For headaches for example, the guide covers assessment, what to avoid, how to mitigate the effects of headache, and medications.

Leah Braithwaite of Ottawa was one of the minority of patients with concussion whose symptoms persisted after she was knocked down by a beginner skier in February 2011.

“My physician diagnosed my concussion, but didn’t have a program for managing my lingering and debilitating symptoms,” she said in a release.

Braithwaite used sick leave and spent time in a darkened room. When Braithwaite returned to her job, extended time working brought back the physical symptoms. She couldn’t bear the sound of dishes being unloaded from the washer.

Now, 2½ years later, she is managing some symptoms such as fatigue and headaches but has returned to her previous level of activity after easing back into full-time work nine months after sustaining the concussion.

The foundation expects to publish guidelines on managing persistent concussion symptoms in children and youth next year.

How Long Will I Be Off Work If I Get A Concussion?

Were you involved in an accident at work that led to a concussion? If so, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. You will need to seek medical care right away, and your physician will most likely tell you not to return to work immediately.

After suffering a concussion, you are usually required to take one or two days of work for rest and recovery. More serious concussions might require a lengthier recovery and involve an extended absence from work.

Cognitive as well as physical rest are important and play a major role in your recovery and health.

What Happens When You Get A Concussion?

A kind of brain injury, a concussion happens when there is an impact or blow to the head or body. The impact causes the brain to either twist or bounce inside the skull. This kind of sudden movement can lead to chemical changes in the brain or lead to cell damage.

A concussion causes a short-term disruption in the brain’s functioning. This brain disruption will cause sleep-related, cognitive, physical and emotional changes. During the recovery process, you are very likely to have less energy.

There are several symptoms that can result from a concussion:

  • Nervousness or anxiousness
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Sleep disruption
  • Easily agitated or irritable
  • Blurred vision

The key to recovering is giving your brain time to rest and recover. Because of this, the treating physician will require you to take a couple of days off work.

How Do I Rest My Brain After A Concussion?

Getting brain rest after a concussion is important. This means you should take time off work and adjust any demanding projects. You should focus on only task at a time, which will give your brain time to relax.

Do some light housekeeping duties, but don’t do tasks that are physically or mentally challenging. Don’t take on tasks that require hand and eye coordination, such as driving. Don’t make any major decisions. Instead, save the big decisions for after your recovery.

Your short-term memory might be affected, so rest your recall powers, so you can heal better and more quickly.

What To Do After A Work Accident

If you have been hurt on the job, you need to notify your supervisor or manager right away. An accident report will need to be filed. However, since you have suffered a head injury, you should wait until you have recovered somewhat before giving your statement detailing the incident.

You want your details to be clear and concise, so you don’t need to be in a foggy or confused state. Seek medical care right away from a physician on the approved workers’ comp list. Call an ambulance for serious injuries. Don’t drive yourself when you have a concussion.

Consult With A Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you have suffered a concussion while at work, consult with a workers’ compensation attorney. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to get your case reviewed today.

Additional Resources

  • Tips for Applying for Workers’ Compensation with a Concussion
  • Concussions and Workers’ Compensation Claims

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