A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury ranging from quite mild to severe which is generally caused by a blow to the face, head or neck. A concussion can cause varied symptoms ranging from the unnoticeable to the very obvious. Here, our team of Manotick physiotherapists will explain the causes, symptoms and treatments for concussions.
What is a Concussion?
Concussions are a relatively common form of traumatic brain injury. Since they generally are the result of a blow to the head, they are most commonly seen in people who engage in activities where such things are liable to happen quite frequently like sports such as American football or hockey.
When a brain is jostled by a blow to the head, neck, or face, it can damage the brain and make it difficult for brain cells to function and communicate. 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
The symptoms of a concussion can appear at any time from the moment you hit your head to minutes or even hours afterward. The symptoms can also vary depending on the severity of the concussion. The symptoms can be generally divided into two categories: those that you can self-report and those that are observable. Here are some of the most common symptoms of a concussion:
- A loss of consciousness, even briefly
- Difficulty remembering the time around the injury
- Individual looks dazed or stunned or seems confused
- The individual shows changes in behavior, personality, or mood
- Person moves more clumsily than usual and answers slowly
- Nausea or vomiting
- Issues with concentration or memory
- Headache or a sense of pressure in the head
- Problems with dizziness, balance, and double or blurry vision
- Unsettled by noise and light
Treatment for a Concussion
It generally takes anywhere from 7-10 days for the symptoms of a concussion to subside, but it can take longer if the injury was more serious.
Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment for alleviating and managing the symptoms of a concussion. A sports medicine and physiotherapy clinic will be able to provide a number of different treatment plans tailored to your needs and the symptoms of your concussion.
During your initial appointment with a physiotherapist, they will ask you for as much information as you can provide about the context of your injury, your symptoms and your medical history. They will then conduct a comprehensive examination of your neck and back to make sure that they haven't been injured as well.
Depending at what stage of healing from your injury you are at, your physiotherapist will either recommend lots of rest until you have healed more, or will start on their treatment. Rest is an incredibly important part of healing from a concussion. Exerting yourself too soon can lead to worsening of your condition.
After you have rested enough, our physiotherapists will start their course of treatment. This may involve a number of different exercises depending on the specifics of your injury but can include exercises the strengthen your neck and back muscles, balance training to help restore your vestibular function and ocular reflex training to help alleviate any visual disturbances you may be experiencing. They will also create an exertion plan for easing you back in to your usual level of activity.
At Manotick PhysioWorks, 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.