After a concussion, children and adolescents are often instructed to rest, but does it actually help improve recovery? In a Pediatrics study, researchers sought to determine if five days of strict rest improved concussion recovery or not.
The study’s authors followed 88 patients aged 11 to 22 years. About half of the patients were advised to follow strict rest at home, including no school, work or physical activity, followed by a gradual return to activity. The other patients followed usual care, which included resting for 1 or 2 days. They then returned to school and to physical activity after their symptoms had resolved. There was no clinically significant difference in neurocognitive or balance outcomes between the two groups.
However, the group advised to rest for five days reported more daily post-concussive symptoms and slower resolution of symptoms. Study authors conclude recommending strict rest after a concussion offered no added benefit compared to usual care, and that teens’ reporting of symptoms was influenced by recommending strict rest.