One of the most common symptoms of concussion, present in almost 90 % of cases, are headaches. Pain relief in the early stages post injury is known to assist a normal recovery process by making the athlete feel better.
The only analgesic medication recommended by health care professionals for the safe and effective treatment of early concussion headaches is paracetamol.
The Do’s and Don’t s of Concussion Medication
- Only use paracetamol to treat concussion headaches in the early stages of the injury.
- Avoid ibuprofen, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs, especially within the first 24 to 72 hours, as they are associated with rebound headaches and can thin the blood, leading to bleeding of the brain.
- Athletes should be vigilant when using anti-inflammatories to treat prevent muscle pain and stiffness before playing sport. The use of NSAIDs prior to head injury increases the risk of brain bleeding.
- Do not use sleeping tablets or any other recreational, prescription or over the counter drug that can affect cognitive function and neurological recovery.
- An initial period of rest (24-72 hours) combined with safe, effective pain relief is the best first aid for the symptoms of concussion.
- If headache becomes the predominant symptom after many days and the doctor diagnosis is cervicogenic (neck) – related headache, an anti-inflammatory (Ibuprofen) can be considered.
Always consult a qualified medical practitioner before using medication to treat concussion.
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