Stuck in The Trench
The trench? Now you are asking yourself- “what is the trench?” The trench is the lack of improvement from symptoms after the initial concussion. Specifically what happens is you get a little better then you get worse in a repetitive pattern. There is no long term or short term improvement in your symptoms.
If you remember in the article Anatomy of a Concussion the actual concussion lasts for 10 days.
The first ten days is critical on how you manage your concussion.
In fact a reset program is what you need. What you do not know is about 70-80 % of the information that is processed in the brain comes through the eyes.
So it is important that you minimize the amount of visual stimulation. You need to give the eyes rest from working. The challenge with many undiagnosed or non-assessed concussions is that you will want to try to work through your dizziness, blurred vision and headaches for example.
When you do this you force the brain to work so much harder and this prevents the brain from getting the rest it needs.
Then when you realize you have done too much you take a few steps back, rest for a day or two then you force yourself again to work through the headaches, rest a bit then go back at it!
Early return to work school or play may lead to delayed recovery or the Trench. This leads us to the next step once you are symptom free. Gradual return to sport or activity. This will be discussed in a future article.
Welcome to the Trench!
You did not get help for your concussion
You did not have a reset plan.
You continued to text, watch TV and Youtube.
If you continue this way you will become tired, anxious and depressed. This is the opposite of what you want. Your brain is not your shoulder, knee or ankle.
You may need to take time off work or school. You may not be able to drive. These are things you need to take into consideration moving forward. The TRENCH is not where you want to be.
Keep in mind that you still may have symptoms after the 10 days. Symptoms last from a few minutes to many days and months and more. The key for you is that reset plan in the first ten days!
The Reset Program for Concussions
Once you have been assessed or diagnosed with a concussion you need to follow a specific reset/ rest program. This program will be specific to your symptoms. The first ten days is crucial to your recovery.
If you decide to do everything on your own you will fail and you will end up in the Trench tired, anxious and possibly depressed.
You need to be empowered and this occurs when you follow a specific reset program.
As you have read above, 70%-80% of the information you process is through your eyes. Thus it is necessary to limit the amount of work done by the eyes. So what does that mean to you?
You may need to wear shades if the light is too bright both inside and outside of your house.
Some of your social activities such as texting friends, playing games on the computer (Xbox, play station), loading posts on Facebook and watching youtube may be cut out or reduced. The less information the brain needs to process the better.
You will also need to get into a structured sleeping pattern. You may be experiencing either too much or not enough sleep at this time. This will have a significant effect on your recovery.
Remember your concussion is different from everyone else’s thus your reset program will be different.
Next depending how strong your symptoms are you may be able to go for a twenty minute walk everyday if this does not make your symptoms worse.
Depending on whether you are in school or at work you may have to miss either one of them totally or be on a modified return school or work schedule. This is dependent on your symptoms.
Keep in mind a few things as you move forward in your recovery. Your symptoms may resolve before ten days. Your symptom recovery may occur before your cognitive (mental) recovery hence the importance of baseline concussion testing.
Post-Concussion: Stuck in the Trench? Key Points
- Get assessed for a concussion even if you not sure.
- Follow your reset program.
- Get baseline testing.
In conclusion it is important for you get the proper information about your situation and what you need to do for it.