Concussion management and Physical therapy

Concussion is considered a mild traumatic brain injury induced by traumatic biomechanical forces that may cause physical, cognitive, vestibular and sleep dysfunction. Most common mechanism of injury for concussions arises from sports related injuries however, concussions can occur even secondary to motor vehicle accidents and falls. Post-concussion rehabilitation can be challenging and overwhelming and like any other rehabilitation process; recovery is not linear and full of highs and lows.

Early rehabilitation for concussion management consists mainly of rest until the symptoms subside or decrease for the first 7-10 days. However, if the symptoms still persist your physician will recommend you to start with physical therapy. The role of a physical therapist is important in concussion management as they help to assess and evaluate any cognitive, physical, and/or neurological deficits and design a treatment protocol to address the same.

Some of the symptoms seen post-concussion include the following –

  1. Affective/emotional function
    • Irritability
    • Changes in mood
  1. Cognitive function
    • Confusion/disorientation
    • Amnesia
    • Mental fogginess
    • Difficulty concentrating
  1. Physical/somatic symptoms
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Difficulties with balance
    • Visual changes
  1. Sleep
    • Drowsiness
    • Sleeping less/ more than usual
    • Difficulty falling asleep

 

 

Physical therapists can help design a personalized intervention plan for patients who have experienced a concussive event and have movement-related impairments that aligns interventions with the patient’s identified impairments, functional limitations, participation limitations, self-management capabilities, and levels of irritability depending on their signs and symptoms. Treatment also includes educating patients’ and caregivers about the signs and symptoms, self-management of symptoms, importance of relative rest, activity pacing, proper sleep routines and mindful and progressive re-engagement in pre-injury activities.

At Promet, our physical therapists are well equipped and experienced to treat individuals experiencing post-concussion symptoms. If you are a patient experiencing post – Concussive event or know of someone who is; come through for an initial evaluation at any of our locations and help us in your rehabilitation journey.

Pooja Patel, DPT

 

  1. Quatman-Yates, C., Hunter-Giordano, A., Shimamura, K., Landel, R., Alsalaheen, B., & Hanke, T. et al. (2020). Physical Therapy Evaluation and Treatment After Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal Of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 50(4), CPG1-CPG73. https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2020.0301

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