Have you or someone you know been recently diagnosed with a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury? If so, you may be asking what are some strategies to manage symptoms while also staying at home? Good news – there is plenty you can do at home to promote recovery!
Here are five exercises for concussion recovery you can do at home.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that causes a temporary disruption in brain function and communication. Common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, visual disturbances, anxiety, irritability, changes in sleep patterns, and trouble concentrating. In the early stages following injury, mild to moderate rest is best followed by a progressive return to activity.
What are self-care strategies for individuals with a concussion?
Not all activities have been canceled! These can lessen the sense of isolation you may be feeling.
- Audio books
- @Concussion_Doc is a good resource
- Coloring and crafts
- Baking and cooking
- Board and card games
- Scavenger hunts
- Online support groups
- Send happy mail
- Call or video chat with a friend or family member
Working remotely and online school means more screen time, increasing cognitive demand.
- Take frequent breaks
- Print out assignments when possible
- Work in quiet areas to reduce distractions
- Wear blue light blocking lenses
- Use blue light filters on devices
- Practice upright posture
- Use a planner and lists
- Work on one thing at a time
Sub-symptom aerobic exercise can help improve brain oxygenation and reduce recovery time. Keeping the neck gently moving can help with potential whiplash injury and cervicogenic symptoms.
- Daily walks
- Track steps and set a daily goal
- Stationary bike
- Utilize fitness apps and YouTube – many are offering discounts or promotion codes
- Light postural exercises
- Shoulder blade squeeze
- Gentle cervical stretching and active range of motion
Find Your Inner Zen
These uncertain times are stressful, so take control of your mental health too!
- Practice mindfulness and meditation
- Body scan
- Guided imagery
- Journaling Ideas
- Problem solving
Maintain Proper Sleep Hygiene
These habits can help facilitate neurological recovery and boost energy and mood.
- No electronics 1 hour before bed
- No caffeine 4 hours prior to bed
- Try using a sound machine or binaural beats
- Follow a consistent sleep routine
- Limit naps
Due to the brain/gut connection, modifying your diet can help improve your brain health and reduce inflammation.
- Adequate hydration
- Reduce intake of red meats, refined sugars, and processed foods
- Enjoy good fats such as coconut oil, avocados and flaxseed and omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and herring
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
It is important to know that each concussion is unique, but whether you are a student, teleworking or a parent/caregiver, these self-help tips should aid in symptom management while at home. Be sure to seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen. Virtual healthcare or an in-clinic evaluation may be a great option while social distancing to allow for a detailed assessment and individualized plan of care.
This article was written by Paige Carroll, PT, DPT, CBIS
Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Centers offer a network of comprehensive rehabilitation and support services in Central Virginia.