After being diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it can be difficult to know what to do next. We’ve compiled a list of easy-to-remember tips on what to do and not to do during the recovery phase.
What You Should Do
Get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activity. Instead, practice low energy output. The brain needs time to focus on healing itself, and it can only do that with plenty of relaxation and a calm environment.
Make sure to get a good night’s sleep and take naps throughout the day, if necessary. You should get at least eight hours of sleep each night. The darker and quieter the room, the better your sleep will be.
A proper diet and high-quality nutrition will play an important role in your TBI recovery. We’ve provided a guide on the amount and type of nutrients you need for a healthier lifestyle.
Make sure to drink lots of water. Approximately 60% of the human body consists of water. The brain and heart are 73% water. If these organs are dehydrated, it can cause many problems, including headaches, organ issues, joint pain, and much more. The better hydrated you are, the better your body can flush out the harmful toxins that have accumulated in the brain since the injury.
Resist the urge to look at your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer screen. Digital screens can cause strain on the eyes and the mind. If you need to look at your phone or want to play video games, take frequent breaks to rest your brain and turn off the devices if you start feeling any pain or symptoms.
Get help from family members or friends when you need it. They can help you remember what directions to follow, what appointments are coming up and assist with any tasks you struggle to complete on your own.
What You Shouldn’t Do
7. Avoid high-risk activities that might result in another traumatic brain injury!
Suffering a second TBI on top of one that has not fully healed can be extremely dangerous. Second impact syndrome (SIS) occurs when two traumatic brain injuries (concussions) happen in a relatively short period, and the second concussion is inflicted before the first one has fully healed.
SIS can cause rapid and severe swelling, and the brain may lose its ability to self-regulate pressure and blood volume. As the brain swells, it can press against the skull resulting in decreased blood flow. When the blood flow is disrupted it can cause severe disability or even death.
8. Do not play sports or exercise.
Unless an activity has been approved by your treating physician it is better to wait until you have made a full recovery.
9. Do not drive unless it has been approved by the treating physician.
This is especially important if you have been prescribed any medication. If possible, you should take some time off of work or study until you feel better.
10. Avoid alcohol.
11. Avoid caffeine.
Sometimes patients will want to use caffeine to eliminate the cognitive fatigue or “brain fog” that often comes with a TBI. Caffeine in small amounts may be safe after a TBI, but excessive caffeine consumption could slow down the recovery process. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it constricts the blood vessels in the brain, reducing blood flow. Without enough cerebral blood flow, the brain cannot get the vital nutrients it needs to repair itself.
12. Avoid stimulants or energy drinks.
13. Avoid junk food.
Instead, consume healthy, energy-rich foods. These include blueberries, bananas, broccoli, fatty fish, and nuts.
14. Avoid sugar, carbohydrates, and dairy products.
At a minimum, reduce their intake.
15. Avoid taking Ibuprofen or Tylenol.
Don't take other medications unless it is recommended by a doctor familiar with your condition.
16. Avoid stressful circumstances and over-stimulation of the mind.
Loud music, crowds, or lots of guests can overwhelm a TBI victim. Emotionally, you may have trouble processing events and conversations. Physically, you may not be able to process noises and sounds very well. Calm, quiet environments will allow your mind to relax and focus.
17. Avoid being on the computer or smartphone.
18. Avoid being on social media sites.
19. Avoid prolonged conversations on the phone.
20. Don’t let your caregivers do everything for you.
This is tough, especially when you are struggling to complete a small task. But sometimes this struggle may be the key to your recovery. You may need to do these difficult things to help retrain your brain to work on problem-solving. Even if you’re slow to answer a question, your helpers should resist the urge to jump in and answer. Remind them that their priority is to support you, not do everything for you.
21. But also don’t overdo it.
Some symptoms may come and go throughout your recovery. Expect to have some good days and some bad days. Most concussion victims take several weeks before they feel back to “normal.” However, their return to normal activities may cause their symptoms to return. Please don’t strain or force yourself if an activity becomes too much to handle. Make sure to notify your treating physician regarding your current condition and any recurring symptoms.
Atlanta Brain Injury Lawyer
Gary Martin Hays & Associates specializes in traumatic brain injuries and concussions cases caused by auto accidents, work accidents, and negligence. We understand the devastating consequences injured victims face and can quickly get them in touch with neurologists and concussion specialists.
If you have questions about your case, give our Georgia personal injury lawyers a call today for a free evaluation.
Don’t delay. Any type of injury to the brain can have serious, long-term consequences. You deserve experienced and professional legal help if your TBI was caused by events outside of your control.