Health

It Turns Out Rest After A Concussion May Not Be Best

New evidence is challenging long-held beliefs about concussion treatment.

If you’ve ever gotten a concussion, you were likely told to rest up and avoid any physical activity. However, it turns out prolonged rest may not actually be the best approach to optimal healing. A recent article published in the journal Neurosurgery suggests that a more active, but targeted, individual approach might actually provide better outcomes for some patients who have suffered a concussion.

Current approaches to treatment of concussions emphasize immediately removing the injured person from the activity and prescribing periods of physical and mental rest, gradually returning the patient to physical activity. But a team of concussion experts from various healthcare disciplines as well as sport, military and public health organizations met recently at a conference and agreed that there is “limited empirical evidence” to support the effectiveness of prescribed rest, and that rest may not be the best approach for all patients.

So far, there is limited research to support specific treatments for concussions, but the team agreed that “multiple active rehabilitation strategies” could be more effective in speeding up recovery than just having a patient rest. People can actually begin activity early on after sustaining a concussion as long as doctors treat each case individually.

“No single treatment strategy will be effective for all patients after concussion because of the individualized natures of the injury and its clinical consequences,” lead author Dr. Michael W. Collins, of the University of Pittsburgh, and his coauthors wrote in the study.

Overall, the team of experts hopes to emphasize that not all concussions are the same, and that individual treatment is key. So if you or a loved one sustain a concussion in the future, rather than just sticking to rest, be sure to consult with a doctor about the best ways to speed up and enhance recovery.