Gradually increasing activity

To recover from a mild head injury, it is important to gradually get back active.

For some people, the problem is not so much that they don’t do any activity, its that the activity they do is quite cyclical. So, one day you might be feeling a bit better, you rush round doing all the jobs you couldn’t do before because you were feeling so ill, but then you feel much worse again either later that day or the next day. The graph below shows what happens.

The principles of rehabilitation in this situation are to recognise that you probably are doing a bit too much on the good days and not enough on the bad days.

How to do it:

  • Make your own plan, starting with the sort of activity you can manage – gentle stretches, a short walk, swimming, or cycling.
  • Plan to repeat this activity every day, or twice a day, making small increases as you feel able. For example, you might start by walking to the corner once a day for a few days, then walk a bit further, to the shop, for a week or two, before adding in another short walk at a different time of day.

If you are used to being very fit and active, keep reminding yourself that the small amount of exercise that you are doing is a worthwhile and important step towards getting back to your previous level. Challenge ‘all or nothing’ thoughts like ‘There is no point if I can’t run five miles / work five days a week.’ Thoughts like this are unhelpful and can lead to prolonged rest and loss of fitness, so in fact stopping you from getting back to your previous level.

If you stick to the SAME level of activity every day, hopefully you’ll find that after a while, perhaps a few weeks, this SAME level of activity may make you just a little less tired than it did before.

You will still have days when you feel as if you’re “back to square one”. But if you’re improving slowly overall, thats the main thing (see graph below)