Rest may not be best after concussion for children

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Rest may not be best after concussion for children

Concussion is a form of mild traumatic brain injury and its effects may last for weeks or even months. According to a recent study, strict rest may not be the best approach for concussion management. On the other hand, returning to activity too quickly after an injury may lead to greater injury; however, the new research suggests activity can actually expedites recovery from an injury.

According to the new research, children who returned to activity within seven days of injury were less likely to experience persistent symptoms than children who did  rest  for the first seven days after the injury. Pediatric guidelines recommend an initial period of physical as well as mental rest following a concussion until the symptoms resolve.

Dr. John Kuluz, director of traumatic brain injury and neurorehabilitation at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, said,  “a lot of doctors are already following this approach instead of advising total rest until symptoms disappear.  And no one is advising vigorous exercise. After a concussion, I think getting up off the couch and moving, at low intensity, for short duration, one or two times a day, is important. It helps to reduce the deconditioning" he added.

According to Dr. Zemek R, light jogging, walking or light activity on a stationary bike probably would be useful after a concussion.  Beyond expert input, he said, "there is very little evidence'' to support the advice to avoid physical activity after a concussion.

To investigate the possible effects of physical activity on recovery, Zemek and his colleagues assessed the data of more than 2,400 children, aged 5 to 17 year with confirmed dagnosis of concussion. Persistent post-concussive symptoms (PPCS) were defined as three or more symptoms, such as headache or problems thinking or learning. They reviewed persistent post-concussive symptoms and physical activity levels in the month after concussion.

In the early-activity group, 25 percent patients reported ongoing or worsening symptoms, 28 days after concussions and 44 percent of the non-early-activitygroup,  still had symptoms. More research is needed to determine the ideal duration and intensity of physical activity to recommend to patients after concussion. In addition to this, he said that this approach should be encouraged  in patients with post-stroke, as such patients may benefit from it, however, doctors want their patients out of bed and moving as soon as possible.

Thus, it can be concluded that physical activity may increase blood flow to the brain and may heal the brain injury, while inactivity may deprive of the benefits.


United Press International

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Original title of article:

Physical activity soon after children's concussion better than complete rest


Dr. Roger Zemek

United Press International
Exploratory, Concussion, Brain
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