Exercise, Not Bed Rest, Can Speed Concussion Recovery

News Picture: Exercise, not bed rest, can speed recovery from concussions

SUNDAY, 11/14/2021 (HealthDay News)

Contrary to long-standing belief, adolescent athletes recover from concussions faster if they do light aerobic exercise rather than resting in a dark room, new research suggests.

Instead of the so-called “cocoon therapy”, a new research-based therapy is encouraging young concussion patients to get out of bed earlier and move around in a protected manner.

“The research found that if we turn them off completely, adolescents have a hard time recovering from exercise-related concussions,” said study author Dr. Travis Miller of Penn State Health Sports Medicine.

“Our recent studies show that it is okay to return to light, subliminal exercise when supervised by trained professionals,” Miller said in a Penn State press release. “Using light, non-deteriorating exercise can help speed recovery and get our athletes back to exercise and other activities more quickly.”

Treatment of teenagers with suspected or diagnosed concussion usually begins with 24 to 48 hours of relative rest, followed by gentle exercise.

“Patients usually begin with light cardio training, such as walking, an elliptical machine, or a stationary bike. I wouldn’t put anyone on their regular bike where they could fall and injure their head, ”said Miller. “As the symptoms subside and the days go by, you can increase the intensity and duration of the exercise.”

Young athletes may want to rush into full activity, but that’s not a good idea because they can develop chronic symptoms – like headaches, thinking problems, and difficulty concentrating – and are more prone to further concussions.

“We realize that they want to return [to full participation] as quickly as possible. As sports medicine specialists, we want that too. We grew up loving gaming. We have been trained to get you back as safely as possible, “Miller said.

“It is important to make sure that symptoms are successfully resolved and we meet all guidelines for recovery before going back to the pitch, field or ice rink,” he said, emphasizing that this increases the likelihood of a recurrent concussion decreased.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about concussions in children.

SOURCE: Penn State Health, press release, Nov. 11, 2021

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