Let’s talk a little about what a return to play protocol and a return to activity process after a concussion looks like. I’ve heard a lot of concerns that an individual will never be the same after having a concussion, or that they won’t get to do the activities they enjoy. The good news is that if you see a trained concussion care provider, you can rest assured that you will feel better.
This information on returning to activity after a concussion comes from research and expert consensus. When you first receive a concussion, you’ll be told to rest for a day or two. The doctors will determine what “kind” of concussion you have, based on a comprehensive evaluation.
Based on your symptoms and areas that need improvement after concussion, you’ll be prescribed specific treatment and rehabilitation. Then, you’ll go through a progressive return to activity. You’ll start with light activity that doesn’t make your symptoms worse. You’ll progress to light exercise, then exercise specific to the activity you want to get back to. This means sport-specific activities for athletes, or everyday exercise for non-athletes.
You’ll increase activity in each step. If your symptoms get worse, you’ll move back down to the previous step and try again. A lot of people are surprised that doing activity makes your symptoms better, but that’s what the research has shown. Keep in mind that this is all supervised by a trained healthcare provider. You shouldn’t be trying to tackle returning to activity on your own. Finally, once you can do full exercise without symptoms, your doctor will clear you to return to full activity.
The important thing to keep in mind here is that you NEED to see a trained healthcare provider to do a return to play protocol safely. Visit ConcussionCareProviders.com to find a trained healthcare provider in your area.
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