Signs & Symptoms
There are several common symptoms caused by concussion, which often resolve quite rapidly. While some people recover quickly, others will need more time.
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Drowsiness and sleeping more than usual
If symptoms are present, encourage a slow transition to usual routines of physical, social and school/work activity and within the affected person’s limits. Encourage healthy sleep routines, but not total rest past the first few days.
Don’t worry, following a concussion it’s common to have physical symptoms like; dizziness, reduced balance and neck pain. Slowly getting back to normal activity is important as it helps recovery.
Following a concussion the affected person may find lights (e.g., daylight) too bright or sound too loud (e.g., tv). Don’t worry about, tolerable sensation is part of the recovery.
- Balance problems
- Clumsy movement
- Visual problems (blurry, double vision)
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
The affected person should take regular breaks between activities and allow time for symptoms come down after activity.
It’s important to incorporate some gentle exercise as part of the recovery plan. Total rest will not help the recovery process, the body needs to move.
Symptoms may develop in busy environments or when traveling in a car or on public transport. This is common, don’t avoid these areas. Regular ‘time out’ quiet breaks may be needed to manage the symptoms.
Make sure that regular breaks are taken between sensory stimulation or busy environments. Give time to let symptoms come down after they escalate.
Thinking & Memory symptoms
Straight after a concussion some people find paying attention, learning and recalling information more challenging.
- Acts or appears mentally “foggy”
- Has difficulty concentrating
- Has difficulty remembering
- Becomes confused with directions or tasks
- Answers questions more slowly than usual
Adults, you may need to take some time off work or study, caring for family and children, and reduce cognitively demanding tasks in the days immediately following a concussion. As symptoms gradually resolve you can begin to gradually reintroduce these activities.
Parents, check in with the amount of school your child is attending and school work they are doing. If this isn’t back to usual levels, add in more study or homework every day as tolerated.
Adapt your expectations to your child’s functioning. If they are overwhelmed with long instructions, or confused, use short simple sentences. Help them with rest breaks, a quiet study area, and any learning supports they needed.
Recovery from concussion can be a difficult time, but making a choice to deal with these things in a positive way will be beneficial.
- Appearance of sadness
- Increasingly emotional
If distressing feelings about the condition are experienced, encourage a different perspective to help reduce distress.
Practice a relaxation technique. There are lots to choose from –including belly breathing, visualisation, and mindfulness practice.