Concussion Protocol 10 Things to Do When You Have a Concussion
Concussion Protocol: What to Do When You're Concussed
Suffering from a concussion can be extremely debilitating. However, if you know what to do, the recovery should be much smoother. Read this concussion protocol to learn how.
I want to talk to you about something very serious: concussion protocol.
Now, I know movies would have you think that head injuries are this gateway to a new life: something someone gets for a second chance at life.
However, if the current news circulating NFL and brain injuries has taught us anything, it is that head trauma is nothing to be entertained by. And this form of injury affects way more people than the protagonists in films and thirty-two football teams. In fact, nearly 3 million people a year in the US suffer from a TBI (traumatic brain injury).
This is a topic I hold very close to my heart, due to how much just one traumatic brain injury changed my life forever.
Keep reading to learn what to do when you or someone you love has suffered a concussion.
Concussion Protocol 101
1. Know the Warning Signs of a Concussion
Concussions (like pretty much all things relating to your health) are something that will only get worse if they go ignored and untreated. And the first 24-48 hours after the injury are the most crucial time to pay attention to head injuries.
Be on the lookout for symptoms like nausea, vomiting, enlarged pupils, seizures, dizziness, and slurred speech. It is particularly important to pay attention to people's inability to recognize other people or familiar places, and if they are acting weird. Signs such as these can be indicators of a more severe brain trauma.
2. Go to the Doctor
On the Concussion Protocol list of things to do, this may seem like a "Well no-duh, Kelly" moment. But with how often certain sexes [men] tend to ignore health problems, this needs to be said.
According to the CDC, 153 people in the United States die every day from brain injuries, which cause about thirty percent of all injury-related deaths.
Even if your injury seems small, it is best to see a medical professional. With head injuries, it can literally be a matter of life and death.
3. Identify Triggers and Don't Let Them Add to Your Suffering
Anyone who has ever suffered from the flu or began a successful detox can tell you that your environment makes a difference in your abilities.
A largely ignored factor in people's concussion protocol is their physical surroundings. If bright lights are bothering you, take Corey Hart's advice, and wear your sunglasses at night (and during the day, of course). Extreme temperatures can affect how you are feeling, so make sure to dress (or have someone help you dress) for your comfort level. Stay away from crowded areas or locations that you know can contribute to your aching symptoms.
4. Rest More
Brains recuperate better when you are getting time into sleep.
While suffering from a concussion, you may feel as though a lot of the mundane things you do every day cause you to be sleepier than usual. That's expected, and it is ok for you to take time for you.
Try to get at least the amount of sleep recommended for your age every night. And if it doesn't affect your evening sleep, try to take short naps (20-60 minutes) throughout the day.
5. Turn Off the Blue Lights
It can be pretty hard to avoid electronics these days.
However, when you are recovering from a concussion, avoidance is a must. Studies show that using electronics with screens can double the time it takes for you to recover from your concussion.
If need be, get a doctor's note to inform your teachers and employers of this temporary need.
6. Keep a Journal of Your Symptoms
While this part of concussion protocol may not seem necessary, it can be extremely helpful. If you or someone close to you keep tracks of how you are feeling and your symptoms on a day to day basis, it can really help your doctors.
While doctors are helpful, they are also very busy, and they only spend about twenty minutes with you during your visit. So, while they may think your injuries are run of the mill, keeping track of them may help your doctor go beyond giving you a generic prognosis.
7. Pay Attention to What You are Using as Pain Reliever
When it comes to concussions, not all pain relievers are the same.
If you feel like you need headache medicine, take acetaminophen (i.e., Tylenol). However, it is imperative that you avoid ibuprofen and aspirin, because these medicines can increase the risk of bleeding.
8. Reconsider Your Approach to Physical Activity
There are some conflicting ideas about this part of your concussion protocol. However, doctors generally agree that you should take at least the first few days easy in the days following your head injury.
Things like light walks and stationary bicycles maybe ok. Don't rush back into your typical physical activities until you get an "ok" from your doctor.
9. Let Food Be Your Ally
Studies have shown that in almost all forms of recovery, what a person eats and drinks can have a huge effect on their body's ability to return to better.
While there are always obvious reasons to make a healthier food choice, there is no time better than the present to assess your eating habits. Your current decisions can help you along the way in your recovery. Healthy foods like celery, bone broth, dark chocolate, wild fatty fish, and rich leafy greens can be a great start on your journey to boost your brain power.
10. Learn To Be Patient With Yourself
When you sustain a concussion, it's not uncommon to experience brain fog and constant fatigue on a regular basis. Every day can be a struggle.
While your concussion can be anywhere from mild to severe, it is important that you are patient with yourself during the process.
Treat yourself as you would treat any loved one with an illness, and make sure you are taking time for self-care.
Health is a Journey
Brain injuries may make good stories for box office hits. In reality, however, they can make for some serious life drama.
While brain trauma can literally be mind-altering, there are several steps one can take to make things easier along the way. Whether your concussion is minimal or severe, it is critical that you pay attention to it and give yourself the utmost care.
Do not ignore your symptoms until it is too late. Your health is just as important as anyone else's.
If you interested in learning about a specific diet that can help ease concussion symptoms or symptoms experienced after a traumatic brain injury, be sure to read next week's blog post!
As always, I'd love to hear what you think and welcome your comments below. And if you need any help, keep in mind that we're just a click away!