You have a concussion aka mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and you’ve had to go to the doctor or hospital to get it checked out. Then the doctor tells you, “Don’t go on the computer, use your phone, watch tv, read, walk around, or act like a human person in any way – just rest.”
LISTEN TO THEM. Seriously.
I know it sucks. I know you just want to jump back into life after a short, maybe one or two day break, but don’t! The better a rest you can get after getting a traumatic brain injury the less likely you are to experience the long term effects of concussion injury.
Ideally you will allow your brain to take a break from over-stimulation for at least two weeks. This means minimal screen time, lots of napping in a dark room, and very little activity. For most people the symptoms of a concussion will be gone after 7-10 days.
As you begin to feel better reintroduce your regular activities and stay aware of any symptoms which may come up. When it comes to physical activity err on the side of caution; many sporting groups follow the guideline of “if in doubt, sit it out”.
20% of people who get a concussion are still experiencing symptoms after 6 weeks.
You are more likely to suffer long term consequences if you don’t care for yourself properly after getting a concussion and the more often you get concussions. Take it from me – post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is no joke.
I got a concussion Easter of 2016 and I am still dealing with the symptoms to date (November 2018). I had to make a lot of changes in my life to be a reasonably functional human being, and I still have a number of limits around my activities and what I am capable of.
I’m not saying that if you get a concussion you’ll end up with PCS and a whole slew of challenges; I’m saying that if you can avoid it by listening to your doctor in those first crucial weeks do it.
Put down the phone! Turn off the lights! Learn how boring being bored is.