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Exercise may be best medicine to treat Post-Concussion Syndrome

I suffered a moderate to severe concussion in a bike crash at mile 87 of the Solvang Spring Double Century:

Lloyd’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI / concussion) Experience and Log

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a term used to describe lingering effects of a concussion. From the 2017 concussion guidelines:

In most cases, patients who experience mTBI will recover fully, typically within days to months. The concern is that up to 15% of patients diagnosed with mTBI will continue to experience persistent disabling problems.

The consequences for these individuals may include reduced functional ability, heightened emotional distress, and delayed return to work or school. When symptoms persist beyond the typical recovery period of three months, the term post-concussion syndrome or disorder may be applied.

I have long felt that exercise was the key to good health, and I am more certain than ever of that regarding my concussion. In my concussion recovery log I gave great credit to excercise in speeding my recovery.

In Exercise may be best medicine to treat post-concussion syndrome, researchers at Canisius College report findings that dovetail with my concussion log and my own objective observations.

A treatment program for patients who suffer from post-concussion syndrome is being pioneered, showing that gradual exercise, rather than rest alone, actually helps to restore the balance of the brain’s auto-regulation mechanism, which controls the blood pressure and supply to the brain.

...While confident the new treatment can help reduce concussion symptoms, Kozlowski emphasizes that it's too soon to call the exercise treatment a cure, as some patients respond faster or better than others.

I built up from 60 to 90 minutes per day starting after the acute phase starting 17 days in, did that for several weeks, but I could not ride for more than 60-90 minutes most days without suffering what I termed “brain fade”, an inability to focus on either pedaling consistently or watching for road hazards effectively.

The brain fade finally seemed to pass, so I resumed double centuries starting with Central Coast Double. and that was a problem at The Terrible Two for sure (I did several things to compensate), but not at Alta Alpina or Eastern Sierra Double.

See also: Concussion Guidelines: Pure Rest is a Bad Idea and other concussion articles.

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