Benefit of exercise post-concussion
Richard, Matt, Adrianne and I attended the Traumatic Brain Injury Conference a few weeks ago. One of the speakers was Dr. John Leddy, clinical professor or orthopaedics and medical director of the University of Buffalo Concussion Management Clinic. He presented on the growing body of evidence that long periods of rest may not help concussion patients recover. He is currently conducting a randomized, controlled clinical trial of individualized exercise for the treatment of concussions. "Our study hypothesis is that early, controlled exercise below the threshold where symptoms are exacerbated will speed recovery from concussion," Leddy says.
After concussion, we see effects in our ANS (heart rate, breathing), cerebral blood flow, sleep and our mood. Exercise effects all of these things too. As we have seen with our clients who are recovering from mild traumatic brain injuries, we can use exercise as a treatment. This study is looking at parameters suggesting what heart rate should be targeted and how often it should be progressed.
He described some pretty interesting research at the conference. They are giving a strong input (hand in a bucket of ice) and measuring heart rate and blood pressure response in people with and without concussion. They are also looking at carbon dioxide ventilation and control of cerebral blood flow. Again, because exercise effects all of these parameters, they can measure how someone responds with exercise with or without a concussion.
Here is an article from last year re: Leddy's research. The above quote is from this article.