Getting Better After a Concussion

"Sometimes the best thing you can do is just rest and then try again later."

How fast people recover from brain injury varies from person to person. Although most people have a good recovery, how quickly they improve depends on many factors. These factors include how severe their concussion was, what part of the brain was injured, their age, and how healthy they were before the concussion.

Rest is very important after a concussion because it helps the brain to heal. You'll need to be patient because healing takes time. Return to your daily activities, such as work or school, at your own pace. As the days go by, you can expect to gradually feel better.

If you already had a medical problem at the time of your concussion, it may take longer for you to recover from your brain injury. Anxiety and depression may also make it harder to adjust to the symptoms of brain injury.

While you are healing, you should be very careful to avoid doing anything that could cause a blow or jolt to your head. On rare occasions, receiving another concussion before a brain injury has healed can be fatal.

Even after your brain injury has healed, you should protect yourself from having another concussion. People who have had repeated brain injuries, such as boxers or football players, may have serious problems later in life. These problems include difficulty with concentration and memory and sometimes with physical coordination.

Tips for Healing - Adults

Here are a few tips to help you get better:

01. Get plenty of sleep at night, and rest during the day.
02. Return to your normal activities gradually, not all at once.
03. Avoid activities that could lead to a second brain injury, such as contact or recreational sports, until your doctor says you are well enough to take part in these activities.
04. Ask your doctor when you can drive a car, ride a bike, or operate heavy equipment because your ability to react may be slower after a brain injury.
05. Talk with your doctor about when you can return to work or school. Ask your doctor about ways to help your employer or teacher understand what has happened to you.
06. Consider talking with your employer about returning to work gradually and changing your work activities until you recover.
07. Take only those drugs that your doctor has approved.
08. Don't drink alcoholic beverages until your doctor says you are well enough to do so. Alcohol and certain other drugs may slow your recovery and can put you at risk of further injury.
09. If it's harder than usual to remember things, write them down.
10. If you're easily distracted, try to do one thing at a time. For example, don't try to watch TV while fixing dinner.
11. Consult with family members or close friends when making important decisions.
12. Don't neglect your basic needs such as eating well and getting enough rest.

Tips for Healing - Children

Parents and caretakers of children who have had a concussion can help them heal by:

1. Having the child get plenty of rest.
2. Making sure the child avoids activities that could result in a second blow or jolt to the head - such as riding a bicycle, playing sports, or climbing playground equipment - until the doctor says the child is well enough to take part in these activities.
3. Giving the child only those drugs that the doctor has approved.
4. Talking with the doctor about when the child should return to school and other activities and how to deal with the challenges the child may face.
5. Sharing information about concussion with teachers, counselors, babysitters, coaches, and others who interact with the child so they can understand what has happened and help meet the child's needs.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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