When you, as an adult, experience a concussion it can be very upsetting. Your brain is injured and you are given very strict instructions to lie down and close your eyes. You are not allowed to do anything which makes your brain do any real work. You shouldn’t read, watch TV, or look at a phone, computer or tablet screen. You are advised to just lie down and listen to simple music or listen to reruns on TV or listen to a movie that you’ve seen before. You can listen, but not watch, because using your eyes makes your brain work harder than just listening to something you’ve heard before. Plus, having background noise can help keep you from going stir crazy as you lie there unable to get up and do any regular activities.
You’re not allowed to go to work or to do your usual exercise routine. You’re not supposed to do anything to raise your blood pressure or make your heart pound, because you will then make your headache worse. If you resume your normal activities too soon you will experience setbacks. Your headaches will worsen and it is possible that you will reinjure your brain and make your recovery time last even longer. Even though you may feel like it is impossible, you must follow doctor’s orders to prevent setbacks and to keep your healing on track. This includes resting often and keeping still.
That sounds like a huge hassle. How many people do you know who are able to simply put their lives completely on hold as they give themselves the time needed to heal? I don’t think there are too many adults willing and able to do this. Let’s change the focus, though. Imagine a concussion happens to a child in your life. Imagine the upheaval in their family life, as they are encouraged to follow doctor’s orders so that their brain may heal.
If you think it is hard enough to keep a stubborn adult in your family following guidelines to help their brain heal, imagine the struggle of a family of a child with a concussion. Imagine explaining to a child that they must lie down, but cannot have any electronic screen time. They must stay quiet, but they cannot read or color. They will be angry and confused because for many children, having no screen time feels like a punishment and in this case they didn’t do anything wrong. For young children learning to read, they will not understand why all of a sudden their parents will not allow them to read.
Children are active and want to play. They may not understand why they cannot run and play in the house or yard. If they are very young, they may not understand why these rules are being forced upon them, and the parents may feel frustrated. They may even want to raise their voices and say, “Just do what I say. It’s for your own good.” But they cannot shout because it will make their child’s head pound.
If a child you love has a concussion, it is important to seek help from a pediatric concussion doctor. They have training and can help to explain things in simpler terms for children to understand. Also, some children will listen to a doctor or outside authority more often than their parents, and will give less resistance to following instructions. Has your child had a concussion? Call today.