Concussion Management

I was just diagnosed with a concussion, what now?

Most evidence suggests resting for the first 24-48 hours. This includes both physical rest and cognitive rest, avoiding activities that are physically strenuous as well as mentally stimulating (television, electronics, driving, work, and reading/writing) for the first day or two. Concussions have wide variety of symptoms, and each person will experience symptoms differently, be sensitive to different activities, and recover in a slightly different time frame; although, typically concussive symptoms resolve within 7-10 days.

After resting for 24-48 hours most people can begin to easing back into daily activities that aren’t symptom provoking. This means light exercise, some school or work assignments, and tv/electronics if they don’t bring on your symptoms. Recommendations will vary depending on the doctor’s judgment of how severe each concussion is, but generally extended total rest doesn’t lead to faster healing. But remember, start light and gradually work back into your daily routine with activities that are not bothersome.

What if my symptoms last longer than 10 days?

Although most concussive symptoms resolve within ten days, it is not uncommon for them to extend beyond that time period. At this point your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help treat residual symptoms to help get you back to work, school, or on the field.

Physical Therapy can help with the resolution of many lingering symptoms post-concussion including dizziness, balance and coordination trouble, difficulty concentrating, eye fatigue, neck pain and tension headaches, and general feeling of fatigue to name a few. Physical therapy has been shown to help with residual concussion symptoms but remember, just like any other injured body part, your brain will take time to heal.


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Ellis, M. J., Leddy, J., & Willer, B. (2016). Multi-Disciplinary Management of Athletes with Post-Concussion Syndrome: An Evolving Pathophysiological Approach. Frontiers in neurology, 7, 136. doi:10.3389/fneur.2016.00136

Leddy, J., Baker, J. G., Haider, M. N., Hinds, A., & Willer, B. (2017). A Physiological Approach to Prolonged Recovery From Sport-Related Concussion. Journal of athletic training, 52(3), 299-308.

Leddy, J. J., Sandhu, H., Sodhi, V., John G., & Willer, B. (2012). Rehabilitation of Concussion and Post-concussion Syndrome. Sports Health, 4(2), 147–154.

Thomas, D., Apps, J., R. H., McCrea, M., & Hammeke, T. (2015). Benefits of Strict Rest After Acute Concussion: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics, 135(2). doi:10.1542/peds.2014-0966d