For most people, recovery from post-concussion syndrome is usually achievable with stress reduction and optimal rest. However, pain medications can also be used in some cases. Leaving the condition untreated can have several detrimental effects, including reduced activity. The longer it goes unattended, the more recovery becomes more complicated and difficult.
Since there are no specific concussion recovery procedures, every person must have customized rehabilitation suitable for the the particular case. Working with a concussion professional is the best move in managing the situation promptly and effectively. Vestibular experts are some of the specialists you can try, but neurologists and psychiatrists can also help in some cases.
The following tips can help alleviate chronic effects, but you can also seek physiotherapy in Ajax for more professional assistance.
What Causes Post Concussion Syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome is a condition that happens after head trauma or injury. Those who suffer from mild traumas or injuries may not suffer the syndrome, but it may be worse in individuals who have suffered head injuries or concussions previously.
The syndrome is also likely to affect people who have gone through mental changes like amnesia or experienced headaches after an injury. Fatigue, cloudiness, and a history of headaches are also other possible causes. People who experienced headaches at a younger age, older patients, and women are also more susceptible to the syndrome.
The symptoms are usually vague in most cases, which is why it is better to get a clear diagnosis.
Post Concussion Syndrome Treatment
Reducing stress and getting enough rest is usually enough to reverse post-concussion symptoms in most people. In some cases, medication for pain or migraine is prescribed. Mental health experts like psychiatrists and neurologists have also been known to provide post-concussion syndrome treatment through psychotherapy or antidepressant medication.
Each person is likely to respond differently to the syndrome or medication. As such, you should seek professional help as soon as you suspect you have post-concussion issues.
Additional tips for treatment you can try include:
Regulating screen time
Light from digital devices like smartphones and televisions provide a lot of stimulation that is not advisable for post-concussion treatment. The level of straining that such light brings to the eyes can reverse some of the progress made during treatment. To manage your screen time better, try:
- Changing the display colours on the device to warmer tones. Every device comes with settings that allow you to change the hues from bright ones suitable for the day to calmer ones for the night.
- Investing in anti-glare covers for the monitors.
- Holding the devices at a distance and increasing the font for easy readability.
- Setting timers to take breaks from screen time regularly.
- Not using the devices in dark rooms.
Following the 2-point rule
For post-concussion treatment to be effective, stimulation has to be gradual without being extreme. Finding the perfect balance is very tricky, which is why working with concussion therapists is advised. You can also use the 2-point rule, which involves rating the symptoms out of 10, with ten being the worst-case scenario. You can then continue with one of your regular activities while paying attention to the increasing pain. If it increases by 2 points, you stop participating.
For instance, if you start with the pain level at 4/10, you must stop if it reaches 6/10, but the lower it is, the better.
During exercise, blood flow to the brain increases, and that enhances the healing process. When working out, the coordination between body parts also triggers positive nerve activity, reduces depression and anxiety, eliminates bad sleeping patterns, and improves mood.
Some of the exercises to try include walking and gradually engaging in physical activities that can increase the heart rate. Do not participate in activities that can increase the chances of hitting your head again.
Improving sleeping patterns
The rate of recovery in the body increases when you sleep, especially at stage four, when brain activity reduces and the heartbeat slows down. During that time, growth hormones are released to accelerate the repair of tissues and cells. You must get deep sleep for these to happen, and you can achieve that by:
- Avoiding TV or phone shortly before bed.
- Maintaining regular sleeping patterns and not napping for long during the day.
- Avoiding exercise at least 2 hours before going to bed.
- Purchasing a white noise machine or fan to mute the ringing sound that is often associated with concussion.
- Taking melatonin supplements when necessary.
Using brain breaks
Although often understood as resting, brain break is about reducing neural stimulation in the brain as much as possible. It means trying to intentionally reduce brain activity by avoiding anything that can activate it. You must take a cognitive, psychological, and physical break instead of putting your body in a resting state and continuing to think.
The brain has a limit to the amount of stimulation it can take. If it becomes overloaded, it reverses the post-concussion progress made. The brain break will ensure the stimulation reduces gradually, which will avert overload effects and allow normal brain activity. Meditation is the best way to get the brain to shut off.
Managing stress and depression
Stable brain wave activity is crucial in concussion recovery, and depression, stress, or anxiety can make the wave activity unpredictable. Managing these factors properly can prevent erratic behaviour of the brain waves and optimize recovery.
Accept that you have a problem and find out the possible triggers. Work on eliminating those triggers by adopting useful behaviour such as doing yoga or meditating. You can also join communities and groups with similar issues for support. Take the symptoms seriously and seek help from a psychologist or Cognitive Behavioral Therapist.
Adopt the right diet
The food you ingest can impact several aspects of the body. It can change the blood composition and flow, impact hormonal balance and release, cell activity, and brain functioning. As such, you must try:
- Eating regularly instead of skipping some meals to maintain consistency
- Drinking a lot of water and avoiding drinks that could cause dehydration, such as coffee and energy drinks
- Avoiding caffeine when possible to prevent overstimulation, which may over-excite neurons in the brain. It could also cause dehydration and make daily activities intolerable.
- Reducing consumption of foods that are likely to cause headaches by causing swelling, such as citrus or acidic foods, sugary meals, food items made with preservatives, and old cheese
Resuming normal routines
When dealing with post-concussion syndrome, getting back to your prior routine may be challenging but possible.
- Look for a quieter place for your desk
- Protect yourself from glaring light, even if it means wearing a hat
- Reduce distractions by investing in noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs
- Reduce visual stimulation when necessary by using polarized sunglasses – be careful not to get too used to them
- Create a checklist to keep the brain organized
- Involve a professional to create a good transition plan
Tracking the progress
Tracking the symptoms is the only way to determine whether you are making progress or not. It also helps you to understand activities that are enhancing the recovery and those that are not. Create an activity log to identify and follow your patterns and remain on schedule with the treatment plan.
Some of the factors to pay attention to include headaches, depression, anxiety, memory fog, tiredness, nausea, sleep patterns, therapy and general exercises, dizziness, and screen time.
Having realistic expectations
It is impossible to predict when post-concussion symptoms will vanish, and sometimes you may feel like there is no progress. Such uncertainties can end up causing stress, which will be detrimental to the healing process. Instead of worrying about the uncertainties, focus on what is sure such as:
- Most people who suffer from the syndrome get healed after months or years, showing it is not a permanent condition.
- Healing will likely happen in a wave-like process, so do not expect steady progress
- There is always room for improvement regardless of how long the concussion occurred
- Adapting the right rehabilitative procedures can help you recover quickly
CP Health has well-trained physiotherapists with the experience to handle post-concussion therapy when called upon. We are conveniently located in Ajax and are readily available to give you the help you need. Our post-concussion syndrome treatment approach is based on our ability to differentiate the conditions associated with the condition.
We still advise our patients to know what to do for a concussion, such as getting adequate rest and following the tips mentioned above. Remember, the longer the symptoms, the more prolonged the concussion will be and the higher the chances of other processes manifesting. You can reach us today for the commencement of the right treatment procedures depending on the conditions associated with the syndrome.