Concussions

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)
  • Falls
  • 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

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