Stress Response

Getting a concussion and dealing with symptoms is stressful!  All kinds of stressors (physical, cognitive, psychological, situational) cause a physiological response in the body called the stress response (or fight-or-flight response).

Getting stuck in stress mode is common, but it can slow down recovery and cause symptoms to be worse.  


Common signs of stress*:

  • Rapid heart rate, heart palpitations, high blood pressure  and chest pain
  • Rapid and shallow breathing or trouble breathing, sweating
  • “Butterflies” in the stomach or feeling nauseous, digestion problems
  • Headache, fatigue, trouble concentrating and remembering
  • Trouble sleeping, anxiety, fear, depression and negative thinking
  • Irritability, frustration, moodiness, isolation/ withdrawing from others

*Notice how much overlap there is with concussion symptoms


Dealing with Stress

Reducing and managing stress will improve your recovery and help you feel better faster.  There are lots of ways to reduce stress including:

  • Exercise
  • Maximizing Sleep
  • Eating balanced meals and avoiding too much caffeine of alcohol
  • Planning ahead
  • Prioritizing the most
  • Keeping a consistent routine
  • Change your environment
  • Try distractions
  • Delegate and ask for help

Use stress reduction techniques like:

  • Breathing exercises

  • Meditation / Mindfulness

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  • Stretching & Massage