Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are particularly common among children
and young adults. Even concussions can have long-lasting consequences
if not treated properly.
San Diego injury lawyers, we are interested in the results of a new study suggesting that rest
may not be the best medicine after a concussion. In fact, too much rest
may actually inhibit recovery.
“Contrary to expectations, strict rest for five days immediately
after concussion did not help teenagers get better compared to our current
advice of one to two days of rest followed by a gradual return to activity,”
researcher Dr. Danny G. Thomas told
Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee
followed 88 patients, ages 11 to 22, who were treated in emergency rooms
for concussions. The patients were randomly assigned to one of two treatment
protocols — five days of strict rest (no work, school or physical
activity) or one to two days of rest followed by a gradual return to activity.
The researchers found that teenagers instructed to rest for five days actually
reported more symptoms. The extra rest also did not lead to more rapid
improvements in balance or the ability to think clearly.
“The deleterious effects of strict rest may have more to do with
emotional distress caused by school and activity restriction,” the
researchers concluded. “Missing school interactions and falling
behind academically may contribute to situational depression increasing
physical and emotional symptoms.”
Despite their findings, the authors of the study caution that there is
not one single recommendation for all adolescent concussion patients.
Rather, the optimal rest period depends on “age, gender, point in
the calendar year, initial symptom level, the particular symptoms that
predominate, the level of cognitive function, or other variables.”