Physical activity level and symptom duration are not associated after concussion

Research Type: 
Concussion Literature

Physical activity after a concussion may not be universally detrimental to the recovery of concussion symptoms. The association between physical activity and recover was evaluated in 364 patients who were diagnosed with a concussion, were seen by a physician within 3 weeks of injury, and completed a questionnaire at the initial clinic visit. The questionnaire assessed the Post-Concussion symptom scale (PCSS) score, previous number of concussions, and presence of the loss of consciousness or amnesia at the time of injury, and prior treatment for headaches. During each follow-up clinic visit, physical activity level was self-reported. Study participants ranged in age from 8 to 27 years (mean age, 15.0 years) and had sustained a mean of 0.8 prior concussions; 222 patients (61%) were male. On initial examination, the mean PCSS score was 34.7. The mean symptom duration was 48.9 days after the injury. Among the variables included in the model, initial PCSS score and female sex were independently associated with symptom duration, while physical activity level after the injury was not. For participants aged between 13 and 18 years, however, higher levels of physical activity after the injury were associated with shorter symptom duration.

Citation:  Howell, D. R., et al. (2016). "Physical Activity Level and Symptom Duration Are Not Associated After Concussion." Am J Sports Med 44(4): 1040-1046.
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