The common perception was that patients who suffered a concussion need to rest in order to for the body to heal faster but a new study reveals that prolonged rest may be harmful for concussed patients
According to statistics, concussions are the most common sport-related injuries, accounting for more than 10%. Recent reports show that in the last 10 years the visits to the emergency department because of traumatic brain injuries have increased by 60%.
Most of the patients who went to the emergency room after suffering a concussion were advised to rest in order for the body to recover. The current guidelines instruct the patients with various forms of concussion to avoid any physical activities until the concussion symptoms resolve.
The patients are recommended physical rest in order to avoid any further injuries during the recovering period. But recent discoveries contradict what was known as common perception.
Two of the scientists involved in the new study showing that prolonged rest may be harmful for concussed patients, Dr. Richard Bachur and Dr. William P. Meehan III, from the The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention in Waltham, MA, explained that the
“relative lack of evidence is due, in part, to the difficult nature of quantifying and tracking levels of physical and, particularly, cognitive activity.”
The study involved 88 patients between ages 11 and 22 who have suffered concussions. The patients had to rest 5 and 1-2 days before returning to their usual activities.
The patients on a strict 5 days resting period were not allowed to go to work or to school or to engage in any physical activity during the rest period.
The team of researchers found that the strict period of rest did not help the patients at all. The patients showed signs of difficulties in thinking clearly and balance, and their symptoms did not improve visibly during the rest period. In fact, the symptoms worsened than those of the patients who only rested for 1-2 days.
The scientists said that the doctors should be more cautious when they impose a strict rest period to patients who have suffered a concussion because this could influence the patients’ perception of their illness and instead of helping them recover, it could make the symptoms worse.
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