After a concussion, the majority of people recover from the initial symptoms within 2 weeks to 1 month.
The symptoms and the amount of time it takes for them to go away may differ between people and between concussions. Each concussion is different, even for the same person, and the path to concussion recovery will vary for every individual.
Common symptoms of concussion include:
- problems with vision and balance
- difficulty thinking and concentrating
- mood changes
- changes in sleeping habits
- increased sensitivity to sound and light
Not all concussion symptoms will be noticeable right after the injury, with some not appearing until days or weeks later.
Right after a concussion, in what doctors call the acute phase, experts recommend 24–72 hours of rest. During this time, individuals need to cut back on all their activities, from work and school to sports and housework.
People should not take any medication without a doctor’s advice. In addition, someone who has suffered a head injury should not be left alone for the first 48 hours.
After this acute phase, people can begin to start returning to their normal lives. However, they need to do so slowly and gradually to make sure they do not overstress or reinjure themselves.
People should check with their doctor to see when they can:
- go back to work
- drive a car
- make important decisions
- travel in an airplane
- resume athletic activities
- drink alcohol
Concussion recovery can be more complicated for athletes. Some doctors may recommend as little as 7–10 days of healing before returning to play, although research from 2018 found that full recovery from concussion averaged 29.4 days.
If someone does not seem to be recovering fully from a concussion after several weeks, they should see a doctor again to check for post-concussion syndrome.
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