A concussion can result from a slip and fall, motor vehicle accident or sports injury. Because a concussion is the mildest of all traumatic brain injuries, you may feel tempted to cut your recovery short and return to your regular activities right away.
Nevertheless, this can be a potentially tragic mistake. When treated appropriately, most people recover entirely from concussions with no long-lasting ill effects. However, if you do not give yourself time to recover following your concussion, you may experience second-impact syndrome or other complications, either acute or chronic. The Mayo Clinic explains what treatment of a concussion requires.
In the days, or even weeks, following a concussion, you may experience headaches. If your doctor gives you permission, you may take medication to relieve your headache pain. You should avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, e.g. aspirin or ibuprofen, due to the bleeding risk. Your doctor can tell you which medications, if any, are safe to take.
While you should not avoid all stimuli while recovering from a concussion, you should observe a period of relative rest. This involves refraining from any activities that exacerbate your symptoms or put you at risk for further injury. These include sports or any other form of physical exertion. However, they also include activities that require high mental concentration, such as reading, schoolwork, using a computer or even watching TV.
Relative rest should continue for two days following your concussion. After that, you can resume your usual activities gradually, using your symptoms as a guide and scaling back any activities that make them worse.
In the past, the recommendation was to stay awake after a concussion to avoid comas. With research, however, doctors have determined that this is only necessary in very rare cases. Your doctor can advise you if it is not safe to sleep.