Authors: Stacey Trulock, PT and Megan Rand, DPT
A concussion is a brain injury that occurs when the brain is violently shaken. This can occur when the head is hit or a rapid change in movement occurs. Concussions may cause physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that can be short-term or long-term. 10% of the population takes more than 3 months to recover from post-concussion symptoms – which are persistent headaches and dizziness. Every concussion should be considered a serious injury by health care providers.
Concussions can occur at any age, from a wide range of causes which include (but not limited to):
- Car accident(whiplash)
- Sports injury
- Work accidents(head trauma)
- Any direct blow to the head, face, or neck
- Playground accidents
- Physical abuse
The Christie Clinic Concussion management program can provide reference on signs and symptoms of a concussion and assist the patient in being referred to the proper team members in order to allow for a quick and safe recovery.
The key members of the interdisciplinary team include: Primary care physician, Sports medicine Physician, Pediatricians, ATCs, Neurologist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Physical Therapist, Speech Therapist, and Emergency medicine.
Physical therapy is an important component for post-concussion patient recovery to guide a patient through a safe and individualized recovery program. Early physical therapy intervention can aid in:
- Patient education on what a concussion is, typical concussion symptoms, and natural course of concussion recovery.
- Activity modification to minimize symptom provocation
- Strategies for managing symptoms in order to return to work/school/ADLs/sports
- Treatment for oculomotor dysfunction
- Vestibular rehabilitation focusing on gaze stabilization and tracking exercises under multiple scenarios
- Hand-eye coordination training
- Postural control retraining with emphasis on balance, eye-head coordination with body movements/walking, balance and walking on different surfaces
- Exertional training in order to return to activities that involve elevated heartrate
- Reading, concentration, and memory exercises
- Manual techniques for cervical impairments