It’s no secret that concussions continue to be a hot topic across the globe, especially in North America. Whether you’ve suffered a concussion or know someone that had the misfortune of coping with its side effects, you are probably familiar with the traditional treatment prescription: rest, avoid electronic devices, limit physical activity, etc. But are there alternative tips for concussion recovery that you might want to explore?
With Concussion Awareness Month in full swing, we’ve searched the web and curated some of our favorite alternative concussion recovery tips:
1. Mother (nature) knows best
Believe it or not, there are many natural remedies for concussion recovery that you can find at your local grocery store. Holistic experts cite many ingredients which they deem helpful for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) recovery:
- Load up on antioxidant-rich foods: Think green tea, blueberries and leafy green veggies. Bonus - those leafy greens are also packed full of folic acid and calcium, two more nutrients that help out with TBI recovery.
- Give trendy turmeric a try: Turmeric is the hottest superfood, with multiple health benefits. More generally, it’s known to reduce swelling and provide pain relief, which is just what your brain needs during concussion recovery.
- Fish for those omegas: Omega 3 fatty acids have long been proven to be good for brain function. You can find these in fish oil and in fish like sardines, mackerel and tuna.
2. Keep your hands busy
One of the biggest challenges people cite while recovering from TBI is that they feel frustrated and bored, because they’re often told not to watch too much TV or use other electronic devices, and reading a book all day could prove too tiring.
Those who have recovered from concussions often refer to alternative activities that helped them stay busy, such as knitting and cooking. These creative outlets require logical thinking and troubleshooting, putting the brain to good use without overly straining it.
Of course, take it slow. And above all - don’t get frustrated!
3. Train your brain
Although recovering from a concussion can be tiring and frustrating, it’s important to gently workout your brain as you would your body. In fact, it’s pretty well known that by regularly engaging in mental challenges, you will hold off mental decline.
Puzzles, like color-based Sudokus stimulate memory building, without the numerical strain. You could also try Tetris if the screen isn’t too disruptive. Tetris players have been found to have thicker cerebral cortexes, so this is definitely a good brain tool!
Finally, try your hand and pull out a simple card game like Go Fish or Old Maid. These are good for memory and numerical comprehension.
4. Make self-care a priority
Overall, what’s going to make you heal is taking good care of yourself. It’s important while recovering from a concussion that you get plenty of rest, hydrate, and eat a nutritionally rich diet. But you probably already know this.
However, change it up a bit. Make your self-care your central focus. If you’re feeling discouraged, or less productive, try making yourself a daily to-do list. This could include simple tasks such as ‘cook dinner tonight.’
It may sound silly, but there is something to be said about the self-pride you feel by checking off all the boxes! Give yourself some praise - recovery is tough.
5. Engage in mild activity
Lastly, there have been studies focusing on the impact of integrating low levels of physical activity after a concussion, rather than the traditional recommendation to avoid exercise, and its effect on athletes. In most cases, researchers noted a positive correlation in patients that engaged in mild physical activity as compared to athletes that did not exercise
Some argue that low impact exercise, such as walking, swimming and stationary cycling, reduced the likelihood of nausea, headaches and dizziness one month after the concussion. This exercise increases blood flow to the brain, speeding up healing and cognitive functions. Low impact exercise has also been argued for improving mood and sleep cycles during recovery.
Remember: each case is different. Take the necessary time off to recover and talk to your doctor before engaging in activity post-concussion. Your health should always be your priority!
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