Returning to Activity after a Mild Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury can be classified as mild loss of consciousness or confusion/disorientation that lasts less than 30 minutes. Other names for mild TBI include concussion, minor head trauma or minor head injury. Mild TBIs are often missed at the time of initial injury and 15 percent of people have symptoms that last more than one year. These type of injuries can cause headaches, memory problems, frustration and even seizures.

Your doctor will examine you for signs of brain injury and prescribe treatment as appropriate. Most people who suffer a mild TBI recover completely with time because the damage is minor and will heal. After treatment, many service members find it difficult to get back into their normal routines. Slow steps must be made as your brain heals. Review these tips to better understand what activity can be performed. Of course, everyone is different. Listen to your body and discuss your recovery process with your doctor before engaging in any of the below activities.

1. Rest
If you’re finding it difficult to concentrate on what you’re doing, take a break and relax. Stay in a quiet environment and sleep as needed. Trying to stick to your normal activities won’t help and usually causes frustration and stress.

2. Rate Your Symptoms
Each morning, rate your symptoms from 1-10 – 1 being none, rarely or never present and 10 being severe, always present, affecting work, school or home life. This will help you keep track of your symptoms and better communicate with your doctor. If symptoms worsen, stop what you’re doing and rest for the remainder of the day. If symptoms are consistently mild, you may be ready to increase activity, but make sure to check with your doctor!

3. Walk and Stretch
Research studies show that people with TBI who engage in light exercise show fewer symptoms of depression, fatigue, and cognitive problems. It can also reduce stress and improve concentration.

4. Write It Down
Trouble concentrating is a common symptom and can cause understandable irritability. Don’t try to do too much at once. Know your limits, and if you feel you can’t absorb any more information, take a break! Keep a notepad or cell phone with you to keep up with reminders, appointments and/or directions.

5. Plan an Enjoyable Activity Every Day
People can feel low when recovering from a mild TBI. Manage these feelings by planning an enjoyable activity for yourself! This will give you something to look forward to and can improve your mood. For example, try reading a book, taking a walk or playing a simple game.

Specifically, with regards to medical issues, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on a website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. IFHF does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned. Reliance on any information provided by IFHF is solely at your own risk.

Posted on August 22 2016 in Blog

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