Following a concussion, a brief period of rest is recommended for the first 24-48 hours, such as avoiding intensive work or pushing yourself cognitively or physically. Rest does not mean lying in a dark room with no stimulation and avoiding all activity. We now know that isolating yourself in a dark room is not helpful and can actually prolong your concussion symptoms.
After the brief rest period, gradually increase your activity levels while still taking it easy by staying just below your symptom threshold (e.g., onset or worsening of symptoms), taking breaks as needed to stay comfortable, and not pushing into and making your symptoms worse (Type A personalities beware!).
In fact, ignoring and pushing through your symptoms will not get you back to life faster. Instead, it could make your recovery take longer.
So, what does a Type A person with a concussion do?
Don’t beat yourself up. Take it easy, take breaks as you need, make room for some self-compassion, and gradually increase activities over time over the next couple of weeks. After the initial rest period, research has shown that light cardio exercise (e.g., walking) can help with recovery. But don’t push into your pain and symptoms. In the case of concussion, “no pain, no gain” does not apply.
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