How to Boost Your Memory After a ConcussionPosted By: Bill Russell | July 15, 2020
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury and these often occur in both youth and adult sports. It’s believed that as many as 3.8 million concussions occur in the U.S. each year during sports, including both recreational and competitive events, but as much as 50% may go unreported.
Seventy percent of all sports and recreation-related concussions occur in children and teens, and these brain injuries are a leading reason young people visit emergency departments.
Even in children and in mild cases, a concussion can have some scary side effects.
For example, TBI usually affects short-term memory. This can mean that someone affected by a concussion may have trouble with remembering new information and learning, or remembering what’s happening on a daily basis.
Most mild TBI leads to short-term memory loss. For example, a study by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found high school athletes who suffered a concussion had memory loss for at least 36 hours after the event. There was a later review of concussions in college athletes that found ongoing memory impairment for more than a year among some athletes.
There are things you can do to help your memory following a mild brain injury, but you should only do after consulting a health care professional.
What you eat can help improve your concussion recovery because your brain needs proper nutrition, just like every other organ in your body.
Fruits and vegetables are important because they can deliver antioxidants. Nuts and seeds are packed with omega-3s, which are healthy fats that boost the brain, and eggs are also a healthy source of protein.
Some research shows a high-protein diet can help speedup recovery after a concussion.
Lean, unprocessed meats have high amounts of protein and also amino acids, and coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats available, and that can be good to include in a post-concussion diet.
There are foods you should exclude from your diet during your post-concussion recovery, including caffeine, alcohol, and processed sugar.
These can increase inflammation and make it harder to rebound.
If you can’t get all the nutrients you need from your diet, there are certain supplements and nutrients that are good for the brain.
Fish oil supplements can protect the brain against damage and aging, and they can help with memory, thinking skills, and reaction time.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant that’s found in berries, red wine, and chocolate. It can also help protect the hippocampus which is the area of the brain associated with memory.
Gingko Biloba is an herb that is believed to increase blood flow to the brain.
Before taking any supplement, make sure you clear it with your doctor.
Train Your Brain
Your brain is the same as a muscle in many ways because if you exercise it, it can develop new pathways and cells and you can strengthen it.
If your brain is “bored” then it may weaken, much like what happens if you don’t work out for a while.
Start by getting physical activity if your health care provider gives you the green light. When you move your body, it helps your body get the fuel it needs.
Listen to music, and if you can, try to coordinate your movements with the music.
Work on learning new things after a concussion. For example, maybe you take an online cooking or language course.
You can also simply take the time each day to write. You can write a journal, poetry, or anything that comes to your mind. When you write, your brain is building connections.
Crossword puzzles, Scrabble and word games, and computer games are all also ways you rebuild your brain connections as you recover from the effects of a concussion.
Resting and sleeping are not being “lazy,” especially as you recover from a brain injury. Rest and sleep are how your body and brain recover and restore themselves.
As you’re healing, try to get proper rest each night, and if you need to take naps, let yourself.
Neurofeedback is something that can be helpful as you recover from a brain injury.
Neurofeedback measures the waves of your brain in real-time and then gives a signal on brain activity, so you can learn how to self-regulate. Essentially, you are retraining the brain.
Usually, video or sound is used during neurofeedback, and then there’s a reward system.
There’s an analysis of what’s happening with your brain on a computer screen, and overtime as you reward your brain for the appropriate activity and responses, then your brain wants to be rewarded more frequently.