A concussion is a kind of mild traumatic injury which can be cause by a blow to the neck, face, or head. Concussions can cause a variety of symptoms, from the unnoticeable to the obvious. Here our team of physiotherapists at Motion Works Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre will walk you through some of the symptoms, causes and the physiotherapeutic treatments for concussion.
What is a Concussion?
Concussions are a pretty common form of traumatic brain injury. Since they can be caused by any blow to the head of sufficient force, they are the most common in people who engage in activities where blows to the head are more likely. This can include sports like hockey and American football among others.
When an impact to the neck, head, or face jostles the brain, it can be damaged. It can become difficult for brain cells to communicate and properly function. It is estimated by the Brain Injury Institute that between 1.8 and 3 million concussions occur each year in the United States as a result of sports and recreation activities.
Symptoms of a Concussion
Concussion symptoms can appear any time from the moment you have sustained a blow to your head to minutes or hours afterwards. Symptoms can vary based on the severity of the concussion. The symptoms of a concussion can be divided into two categories: those you can self-report and those others can observe in you. Here are some of the most common symptoms of a concussion:
- A loss of consciousness, even briefly
- Difficulty remembering the time around the injury
- The individual shows changes in behavior, personality, or mood
- Individual looks dazed or stunned or seems confused
- Person moves more clumsily than usual and answers slowly
- Nausea or vomiting
- Headache or a sense of pressure in the head
- Unsettled by noise and light
- Issues with concentration or memory
- Problems with dizziness, balance, and double or blurry vision
Treatment for a Concussion
It usually takes anywhere from 7-10 days for the symptoms of a concussion to subside. However, it can sometimes take much longer.
Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment for managing the symptoms of a concussion. A physiotherapy and sports medicine clinic will be able to offer you a wide range of treatment plans which are tailored to your needs and the specific symptoms and severity of your concussion.
During your initial appointment, your physiotherapist will ask you for as much information as possible about your injury, your symptoms and your medical history. They will then conduct a comprehensive physical exam of your neck and back to ensure they have not been injured as well.
Depending on the stage of healing from your concussion you find yourself in, your physical therapist will either recommend lots of rest until you have healed more, or will begin treatment. Rest is an incredibly important part of healing from your concussion. If you extrt yourself too soon, you can worsen your condition.
After your have rested enough, your physiotherapist will begin treatment. This can involve a number of different exercises depending on your specific injury, but can include exercises to strengthen neck and back muscles, balance training to help restore vestibular function, ocular reflex training to dispel visual disturbances you may be experiencing, and an exertion plan for easing you back in to your usual level of physical activity.
At Motion Works Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre, our concussion rehabilitation programs are designed not only to help you recover from your injury, but to help strengthen your body so that you are more resistant to such injuries in the future.