How to Manage Concussion Symptoms during Online Learning, Teleworking

August 20, 2020

Unfortunately, managing a concussion does not stop during a nationwide COVID-19 pandemic.

How can you or your loved one manage concussion symptoms during online learning or teleworking when screens, light and eye strain can trigger those symptoms?

The physicians and therapists with Good Shepherd’s Comprehensive Concussion Program have some tips and modifications to help you manage a concussion in virtual situations.

Assess your location

To start, find a quiet spot in your home that is free from clutter and distractions. This area can be your home base for telework or online learning.

Avoid bright lights and window backlighting that can make your computer screen brighter and therefore harsher on the eyes.

If you’re able, pick a couple of locations in your home for online learning or teleworking. Using multiple spots allow you to change up your environment, which helps with taking breaks and posture. Make sure those multiple spots are as ergonomically friendly as possible (Read Ergonomic Advice for Temporary and Permanent Home Office Setups).

Set timers to ensure you’re taking breaks from your screen. Getting away from the work for a bit allows you to manage common concussion symptoms and adjust. Take a longer brain break by getting up and moving around. Get some water or grab a snack.

If you’re experiencing discomfort, move farther away from the screen when you return from break.

An alternative to getting up often is to take frequent eye breaks. It’s OK to move your gaze away from the screen every few minutes.

Watch out for poor posture during online learning or teleworking. Head and neck position is key while sitting for extended periods of time. If you can, consider standing up for a bit while working.

Technology modifications, supportive apps offer help

Avoid using smartphones for online work; they’re too small and can cause eye strain and poor posture. Instead, use a larger screen that can be modified. Adjust the computer display, including text size, screen brightness of screen.

Get rid of distracting screen clutter, including open windows, applications and images that you don’t need for the task at hand. They can cause you to lose focus.

Where you’re able, try using apps to help with virtual learning or work. Text-to-speech or speech-to-text apps can reduce eye strain and screen time. Audio books and word-prediction software also can help reduce discomfort.

Communication, planning play key roles

Set realistic daily goals for yourself. It’s OK to remember that you’re recovering from a concussion and it can take time. To help manage tasks, create daily and weekly to-do lists.

For a student recovering from a concussion, schedule virtual check-ins with teachers. Make sure your child’s teachers are aware of — and agree on — any specific academic adjustments, modifications or needs. As with most physical rehabilitation situations, communication is key.

If you or a loved one are struggling with concussion symptoms, Good Shepherd’s Comprehensive Concussion Program offers safe, in-person care as well as telehealth options. Request your virtual or in-person appointment online, call 1-888-44-REHAB or use our live chat.