Physical Therapy for Treatment of Concussions
Information retrieved from MoveForwardPT.com
Concussions in sports has been a hot topic of discussion for years now. Several sports are taking the increasing incidence of head injury very seriously and going as far as making rule changes. Most recently, the NFL implemented the “Use of Helmet Rule” to discourage players from initiating contact with their helmet.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain collides with the skull. Whether it’s a single severe impact, or several less forceful impacts, brain tissue becomes injured causing a chemical imbalance in the brain, cognitive and behavioral issues, and physical symptoms.
Symptoms can be immediate and short-term, or long-term.
Immediate/Short-term symptoms include:
- Difficulty with balance and coordination
- Nausea or vomiting
- Increased sleepiness or difficulty sleeping
- Double vision/Blurred vision/sensitivity to light & sound
- Slurred speech
- Glassy-eyed stare
- Cognitive symptoms: difficulty with short- or long-term memory, confusion, “fogginess,” difficulty concentrating or processing information, grade decline in school.
- Emotional symptoms: Irritable, restlessness, anxiety, depression, mood swings, aggression, poor stress management, change in personality/behavior
Many times, concussions go unreported. If you or someone you know may have experienced a concussion (recently or in the past), call a health care provider immediately to get help. After diagnosis, Physical Therapists help treat the symptoms and side effects of concussions which present differently for each individual case. After evaluation, possible treatments include:
- Rest and recovery to limit activity so the brain has time heal and symptoms can dissipate
- Restore strength & endurance in a safe, timely manner to build up any physical and cardiovascualar loss during the rest period. Supervision by your PT team at this point is crucial to make sure symptoms don’t return or worsen.
- Stop dizziness and improve balance with vestibular physical therapy. Your brain communicates with your inner ear which affects balance; specific treatment and exercise can work to correct and improve any miscommunication causing dizziness and balance issues.
- Reducing headaches using stretching, strengthening, eye-exercises, hands-on technique, or modalities like electrical stimulation or ultrasound.
- Safe return to sport or normal activity through gradual re-introduction. Again, PT supervision is important at this stage to prevent overloading the brain and nervous system causing re-injury to the brain and return of symptoms.
Physical Therapists at Camelback Sports Therapy are ready to help you return to your sport or activities in a safe manner. Call 602-808-8989 to schedule and evaluation to help you “stay in the game.”
Tags: brain injury, concussion, concussion treatment, Physical Therapy