On the Up and Up: Feeling Better With Concussion
It’s Saturday evening, around 5:30 PM, and my brain is tired. The way that I usually describe when I’m feeling brain exhaustion/easily confused/too tired to function normally is…. “out of it”. I just say. “I’m out of it”. If you’ve ever felt “out of it”, you know exactly that feeling I’m talking about. And with a brain injury, “out of it” comes way more often than feeling “into it” – for me, it’s over 75% of the time. I tend to want to push through that feeling, but then… I’m even MORE “out of it”. Pushing through isn’t the answer (unless you want to feel worse).
Over the last 7 years, I’ve learned that the only way to feel better is through resting my brain (which means literally doing nothing). Brain stimulation is one of the hardest things to avoid, and I’ve found from personal experience that screen time (ex. smartphone use, computer, TV) can have the most harmful effects and actually slow down improvement!! (Some background on me: TBI 12/2/07 – 10 repeat concussions since then, and 5 within Dec 2013 – Dec 2014…yeah that was a hard year LOL).
Today I found a great resource on the CDC website! I copied the tips for adults here. They also have tips for children. Follow this link to read the full article about getting better! :)
Getting Better: Tips for Adults (source: CDC)
•Get plenty of sleep at night, and rest during the day.
•Avoid activities that are physically demanding (e.g., heavy housecleaning, weightlifting/working-out) or require a lot of concentration (e.g., balancing your checkbook). They can make your symptoms worse and slow your recovery.
•Avoid activities, such as contact or recreational sports, that could lead to another concussion. (It is best to avoid roller coasters or other high speed rides that can make your symptoms worse or even cause a concussion.)
•When your health care professional says you are well enough, return to your normal activities gradually, not all at once.
•Because your ability to react may be slower after a concussion, ask your health care professional when you can safely drive a car, ride a bike, or operate heavy equipment.
•Talk with your health care professional about when you can return to work. Ask about how you can help your employer understand what has happened to you.
•Consider talking with your employer about returning to work gradually and about changing your work activities or schedule until you recover (e.g., work half-days).
•Take only those drugs that your health care professional has approved.
•Do not drink alcoholic beverages until your health care professional says you are well enough. Alcohol and other drugs may slow your recovery and put you at risk of further injury.
•Write down the things that may be harder than usual for you to remember.
•If you’re easily distracted, try to do one thing at a time. For example, don’t try to watch TV while fixing dinner.
•Consult with family members or close friends when making important decisions.
•Do not neglect your basic needs, such as eating well and getting enough rest.
•Avoid sustained computer use, including computer/video games early in the recovery process.
•Some people report that flying in airplanes makes their symptoms worse shortly after a concussion.