Are you having difficulty reading after a concussion? This is a very common problem! It means your brain is still not functioning the way it usually does due to the injury. If you are still within the first couple of days after your concussion, you should rest from cognitive activities including reading to allow your brain time to recover. See our recent post about this: https://equinoxphysicaltherapy.com/2021/05/rest-after-a-concussion/
If your symptoms are improving after this period of rest you can gradually begin reading again. You might only be able to read or use screens for a few minutes at first. A good rule of thumb is to try reading for a short time to see if you feel worse. If so, stop reading, and take a rest break to recover before continuing to read again. Each day you may find that you can read a little longer. In most cases, your doctor guides your recovery and lets you know when it is time to return to school and work.
Tips for Return to Reading at School and Work
Here are some tips for return to reading at school and work:
- Take rest breaks as needed
- Decrease time spent reading, writing, or on the computer
- Have someone else take notes for you or record classes and meetings
- Ask for more time to take tests or complete assignments
- Receive extra help with schoolwork and work projects
- Spend less time at school or work
The extra help and support will be removed gradually as your symptoms decrease. It is important to talk with your boss, teachers, school nurse, and coaches about your concussion symptoms. They will be able to help you with a return to school and work plan where you can gradually get back to your reading activities while allowing your brain to heal and recover. Check out this handout from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) about returning to school after a concussion. https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/pdfs/schools/tbi_returning_to_school-a.pdf
Vestibular Therapy to Improve Reading after a Concussion
If you are still having difficulty reading after a concussion, vestibular therapy can help! Here at Equinox Physical Therapy we treat patients who are having difficulty recovering their ability to read. We use exercises to teach the eyes, inner ears, and the rest of the body to communicate well with the brain again which is necessary for activities like reading. As a result of these exercises, your ability to read without headaches or dizziness will begin to improve. Ask your doctor if you should start vestibular therapy to help with this problem.
*The Pensive Reader, painting by Mary Cassatt, 1894