Saturday, July 02, 2016

Complete rest until symptom-free after concussion may not be best for recovery

Public Release: 30-Apr-2016
Complete rest until symptom-free after concussion may not be best for recovery
New study to be presented at Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting found that youth who exercised within seven days of head injury had nearly half the rate of persistent post-concussive symptoms a month later
American Academy of Pediatrics

Rest has long been the cornerstone of concussion treatment. For sports-related head injuries, for example, current guidelines say children should avoid returning to play --and all other physical activity--until all concussion symptoms such as headaches are gone. A research abstract to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2016 Meeting, however, suggests those who exercise within a week of injury, regardless of symptoms, have nearly half the rate of concussion symptoms that linger more than a month.


Contrary to recommendations, researchers said, most (58 percent) of the children still experiencing concussion symptoms resumed exercising a week after being injured, and more than three-quarters (76 percent) were physically active two weeks later.

Ordinarily, discovering so many patients weren't following strict medical guidelines might be cause for alarm. But in this case, researchers said, the non-compliance was associated with faster recovery.

"Exercise within seven days of injury was associated with nearly half the rate of persistent post-concussive symptoms, or those that last beyond a month," said principal investigator Roger Zemek, MD, FRCPC, who directs the clinical research unit at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and serves as Associate Professor in the departments of pediatrics and Emergency Medicine and Clinical Research Chair in Pediatric Concussion at the University of Ottawa. He said the findings echo some previous, smaller studies calling into question the benefit of prolonged physical rest following an acute concussion, particularly exceeding three days.


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